Readers of this publication will know that the Catalyst reviewed the new iPad, released by Apple on Mar. 16, in somewhat less than glowing terms after viewing Apple’s keynote presentation on the device. After our write-up, which admittedly was done without the ability of getting first-hand experience with the device (since it had not been released yet), the Catalyst was given the opportunity to give the device a test drive alongside models of the original iPad and the iPad 2, courtesy of Educational Technology Services Coordinator Allen Goldberg.
On first look, the new iPad’s screen is quite impressive — colors are much brighter and the display looks very crisp, especially when held up next to an original iPad or an iPad 2. By itself, though, the new iPad’s screen looks almost like any other computer screen one would expect to find. The more robust screen requires a faster processor that theoretically would eat away at the tablet’s battery life, but the new iPad features a battery Goldberg said is 70 percent larger than that of the previous iPads, ensuring the same amount of battery life for a far more powerful device, something he described as an impressive feat of engineering.
Goldberg’s iPad also featured cellular connectivity via AT&T’s long-term evolution (LTE) network, which was recently introduced to Sarasota and boasts faster mobile Internet browsing speeds than previous iPads. The Catalyst noted how quickly its website loaded on the new iPad versus over AT&T’s 3G network on the iPad 2 and over wifi on the original iPad — while the new iPad loaded the site in under 10 seconds, the original iPad took about twice as long over wifi and iPad 2’s connection timed out. These tests were being performed in the Jane Bancroft Cook Library, which has limited cellular service, may have played a role in the differences in load time.
Goldberg, who has done consulting work for Apple, argued that the company “didn’t need to do a lot” with the new iPad, theorizing that because Apple already has cornered the market for so-called post-PC devices, the updates to the new iPad did not have to very revolutionary. He also suggested that owners of the original iPad — as well as anyone new to the tablet market — would be best served purchasing the new iPad, as the better screen and increased processor speed more than makes up for the additional $100 cost over an iPad 2.