New iPad2

Posted on March 27, 2011


Well here I am after caving in to the draw of the iPad 2. Anyone who knows me will know that I am a long serving Mac evangelist – did you notice that? I said “Mac” evangelist – not Apple.

That’s what dates my loyalty to the genre of computer hardware/OS choice that there appears to be nowadays. So all the new touchy stuff never really drew me in until after the second iterations. And the crowd has become a lot bigger and I would say less sophisticated than it used to be.

You can distinguish us by the two terms – Mac evangelist (moi) and Apple fan boys (Kevin Rose a-la Diggnation). This is by no ways a digg at those fan boys – it is just that the evangelistae tend to make more of an informed choice about what they back.

So the point of this post is really to give a first impression of the iPad. Not a v1 versus a v2 – as I didn’t have that luxury, but I can tell you on that matter there are probably only 2 things that differ. Weight and speed. All the rest may be superficial.

I am going to be less forgiving than most reviews as I have had an iPhone 4 since the new year and I am seeing flaws in the iPad better than I think a newbie to the iOS and touch devices would see.

1. Camera

It was the first thing I looked at and it IS disappointing. I have yet to do a test against the iPhone 4 but on initial looks I think that the lenses could be inferior. BUT also It could be the fact that the preview is on such a larger screen. More to follow on this in the picture test.

Picture test

OK – on my Mac now to add the pictures i download. Needless to say Apple were clever in their wording describing the cameras.I am comparing the iPad to my iPhone 4 and for still images the iPhone 4 wins hands down – but the video needs more testing.

Below are images and stats.

iPad Still Image

Photo taken using iPad 2

Photoshop image details

More Photoshop image details

iPhone Still Image

Photo taken using iPhone 4

Photoshop image details for iPhone 4

More Photoshop image details for iPhone 4

As you can see from the images and details above it would appear that the still images produces are smaller and much more inferior to the iPhone 4.

What’s more worrying is that no one thought to check to see how someone would take a photo using the iPad. The shoot button is in the wrong place completely. You can’t effectively hold the iPad in one hand and use the other to hit the shoot button. They should have utilised the on/off button or allowed the user to choose the position of the shoot button.

I can only see the camera coming use for augmented reality apps and visual chatting.

2. Where are all the iPad apps?

This is a double edged sword for me. It presents frustration and opportunity. if you want to make money then now is the time to be developing high quality iPad Apps. That may be why Apple showcased GarageBand. More on that later.

Here is a list of apps that I expected to have native iPad versions but don’t:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Spotify

It’s as if they have said “surely the half sized iPhone version should be OK” or “isn’t the browser version ok?”. Well frankly NO! These are big companies with no excuse in my book for nor not getting a slick iPad app out there.

And you have got to blame the iPad community form not getting on their case. Like any software that is not associated with the old days of Microsoft – feedback is a must and you must feed back your disappointments.

I was at least happy that there was a WordPress iPad app albeit limited (no wysiwyg editor). and this has now shown me how I will be using my iPad at least. I constantly have ideas and it has been hard to get these down the last year since my MacBook pro failed. But now I can jot these down and also start sharing ideas.

Yeah – I won’t be able to do everything. Buut you know if I am at home with the iPad I don’t want to be doing lots of work. I was to be in a relaxed state where ideas come. And I can then work on them wham I am back in the office.

3. Getting past the hype

There is a lot of hype around Apple products nowadays. That is a bit sad from a Mac evangelists view as I don’t think we ever wanted the Apple products to get this commercial.

Basically these are all tools and one thing I will say is that Steve could be right when he says that the iPad and other slates are the post PC products. I can’t go into all the machinations of how I think this is true but needless to say the PC comprising Towers with screens and keyboards may be numbered. As work patterns change and technology as does.

I am typing this all up on an IPad without a keyboard attached and from the comfort of my bed on a Sunday morning whilst the wife gently sleeps and I have Kate Bushe’s Aerial album running on Spotify in the background. Consuming only the battery power and probably less than the TV and DVDs that are on standby around the house.

That is where there could be real impact. But people need to streamline their use of the technology around them and start thinking about making buying decisions now more than ever.. here are more people and less resources. We are heading into a period that will be difficult unless we all seriously change our ways. And that includes disposable technology.

Apple, Motorola, Nokia, and all the big volume manufacturers need to be forced to answer questions like – why can’t you make the batteries, storage and processors upgradeable if that is where Moore’s law is having the greatest effect. Surely the physical size doesn’t get bigger -just the capacity. You just need to allow for a slightly more open architecture to accommodate the changes needed in bus speeds etc…

We have allowed ourselves to become complicit in the demise of our environment to the detriment of our children and grand children’s future well being. We need to try and find a way to share a common value of holding back on our buying up of new things whilst needlessly throwing away old stuff. I am pretty proud to say our main TV is an old Matsui 32″ behemoth of a CRT. But it works perfectly and is more forgiving of the digital Tv signal you get nowadays than a digital TV which shows up all those compression artefacts during fast movement. We bought that TV back in 2000. That’s an 11 year old TV. How many of you are still using a TV that old?

My daughter is using an old G5 iMac bought in 2004. The wife is using an old Titanium G4 PowerBook from 2002. My daughter has my original G3 iPhone. I get all the new stuff :o) The main point is that a lot of this stuff is great for email and surfing. Sadly YouTube and flash have made watching video on old machines mare difficult as they have expected us to have the latest graphic card capabilities in our machines. in fact it would be easy to accuse Adobe at this point of driving this disposable culture as a user will say when using an old machine “I can’t even watch YouTube clips on this old machine now”. Nothing changed. Just the video transport model.

Adobe Flash video responsible for unnecessary computer upgrades?

In the days before YouTube, many websites used Apple’s QuickTime server. this would take one high quality video and create a coupe of compressed versions for less capable machines or Internet connections. It would detect how capable a machine was requesting to view a video and send them the appropriate version. So you hardly ever had stuttering video albeit slightly less quality due to being more compressed.

Even fairly recent machines can have problems running new versions of Flash content. This is one reason I don’t like everyone’s casual approach to Flash’s dominance. Surely the recent security flaws have highlighted what many Mac evangelists already knew about flash. It is not a safe product and can strangle the computer resources.

In terms of delivering online video content – we may have 5MB lines into the house, but once you start sharing that with a few devices it soon falls off with wireless devices slowing the network down further. Then I think a delivery system like the QuickTime server is best.

If I am surfing from the airport lounge with restricted wireless access I still would like to see the video so long as it even if it means a slightly lower quality with smooth movement, rather than a high quality single frame every 2 or 3 secs whilst the audio plays underneath.

But I think I have gone on enough about that now.

4. GarageBand

OK. You don’t get this for free. But is is only £2.99. And for what you get it is a bargain.

BUT – as a someone who uses the desktop version a lot I can tell you it is very limited. I just hope they release a pro version with more features from the desktop version.

My main issues are :

  • The interments that come with it are pretty limited by what you can change. The desktop versions have a lot more control over the sounds.
  • There does not seem to be a way to add your own instruments from the desktop version.
  • Switching between the keyboard mode and the editor mode when you want to do a retake is a pain. I would liked to have had a message asking whether to save a take.
  • Other than drums and keys, the range of guitars are zvery limited and the sampler is also limited in how you can process the sounds.

But hey, for £2.99 I am not complaining. I just want a Pro version more fully featured. I would gladly pay extra especially if I could use the audio units from the desktop version.


It’s my first day with it and I have to say I really like it a lot. It is my new laptop. No I can’t do as much as I could with a laptop, but that was nearly three times the cost. This way I can get cracking on ideas, reading my iBooks and PDFs comfortably while listening to music or watching a film. Yup. Pretty happy about this. Just waiting to get the Smart cover and camera connection doc so I can use the music apps like GarageBand with my USB midi keyboard.

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