Wednesday, October 23, 2013

[Rant] The iPad Mini got better and the regular iPad got lighter

Yesterday Apple unveiled their nee products for the holiday season. The new MacBook  Pros, Mac Pro, iPads and some software that very few people tune into watch at the keynote. I'm not interested in their MacBooks or Mac Pros because none of them matter to me. I'm all into DIY PCs. But I wanted to see what they will bring to the new iPads. 

The big one now has a new name: iPad Air

It must be because it is about 30% lighter than the old iPad with Retina display. We all knew that the new iPad was getting a new chassis. There was so much wasted space in side the old chassis. But other than that, there isn't a huge improvement in features.

It lacks the fingerprint reader that the iPhone 5S has. We expected at least the big guy to come with it. Sadness!

It has the same A7 chip the iPhone 5S has. Not an A7X chip which has pumped up graphics compared to the A7 though. iPad 3 and 4 had A5X and A6X SoCs to give it a speed boost in terms of graphics performance. And the CPU in those models were running at a slightly higher clock speed. But there weren't any talk about the new one having faster clocks than the iPhone 5S though it probably could. Anand will be able to confirm it in his review. 

It has the same 10hr battery life too. No improvement there.

Finally iPad Air comes with Wireless 802.11ac. That's a nice speed bump. If only you had a Wireless 802.11ac supported router that is. But because the CPU is faster, you will feel the speed boost even when browsing the internet.

Basically, the only thing they brought to the table was the weightlessness. (Sure, there is the speed boost too, but that's a given.) You readaholics will find it is less tiresome to keep holding the new tablet for an extended period of time. But it is still quite large which means that you cannot carry it everywhere and pull it out at everyplace.

The price is hasn't changed as well. It's still $499 for the base model with no LTE.

iPad Mini on the other hand has some noticeable changes

It's got Retina! The same resolution as the big guy, which means higher pixel density as well because of the smaller display size. We didn't expect the small guy to have higher pixel density than the big guy. But apple didn't have a choice. If they brought yet another resolution to be supported by apps, it could ruin the app ecosystem as the developers will have to support yet another resoltuion. But they could always do some scaling as they do in the MacBook Pro with Retina displays. I feel bad for the people who bought the old iPad Mini thinking that the new one won't have Retina display as well.

With Retina display comes greater responsibility....oops....greater processing requirements. Thus, they had to upgrade the aging A5 chip found in the iPad Mini. But they again did something unexpected. Instead of going with the A6X SoC found in the iPad with Retina display, they added the top of the line A7 chip in there as well. They could have easily got away with A6X SoC.

iPad Mini too comes with Wireless 802.11ac support.

iPad Mini too doesn't have the Touch is technology nor better battery life than its predecessor. But it has one thing, again, completely unexpected. Higher price tag. The new iPad Mini with Retina display comes with a starting price tag of $399. Sucks!

So what to get?

In this new generation of iPads, the difference between the iPad Mini and the regular iPad is very subtle. Only the screen size and the inherent weight and price difference. It is much easier to choose one between the two now. Previously you had to give up performance and display quality for portability. Not you don't have to give up anything. Smaller screen size if not necessarily a negative. Performance is identical. Screen quality is identical (in fact, marginally better on the Mini beside of the higher pixel density). If I'm to get an iPad today, I would go with the Mini with no second thoughts.

But for me, I still don't have a use for an iPad. If only I could connect to my PC, without some fancy server in the middle, then I see a use. If I cannot freely (not talking about money here!) consume the content on my PC, then there is no real use for me. That's where the Surface Pro 2 comes in.

Even though Apple held the event on 22nd of October, the actual iPads are coming out in November. iPad Air is coming out on 1st of November while iPad Mini with Retina is coming out within November. Basically, you might have to wait a whole month get hold of the small guy. No cool, Apple, NOT COOL!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...