Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak may have set up camp in front of the Apple Store in Century City, California, last night to wait for this morning’s release of the new iPad, but for me, comfort and sleep won out. I, instead, set up camp on my couch and waited for FedEx to arrive with our pre-ordered 64GB Wi-Fi model. We’re still using an original iPad in this house, and the leap to an iPad with a camera and Retina-display is huge.
This thing looks good. Really good. I loved Retina when it debuted on the iPhone 4, but iPad’s larger screen and increased resolution (more than 3.1 million pixels in all) is on another level. The Retina display surpasses its hype and is really the only thing about the new iPad you should care about. Sure, its HD camera is a step up from iPad 2’s (the front remains the same) and it’s faster overall, but you’re going to judge the new iPad by its looks, and rightfully so.
If the 5-megapixel camera does mean the world to you, you’ll be happy to know that its photos look amazing, thanks in part to the Retina display. Even the lesser-quality front facing camera’s sharp images look better. I tested Retina-upgraded Incredibooth ($0.99) with some silly shots and was floored at how well they turned out, especially without the presence of pixels on the screen. Try to find one in an upgraded app—you can’t. The newly released iPhoto ($4.99), with its built-in photo editing and cropping, is a must download for new iPad owners. In case you haven’t noticed a trend, Retina makes everything better.
Speaking of apps, it will likely be a few weeks before all of your favorite iPad apps offer Retina-support, but there are already upgraded offerings available in the App Store including Kindle, Readability, SoundCloud and Evernote, to name just a few.
I spent the most of my short time with the new iPad with apps I already use on a daily basis. Echofon (free) (and Twitter, as well) looks crisp and clean in high-resolution. The same can be said for web browsing in Safari and, frankly, makes typing this review on my MacBook Pro a bit depressing already. It does not compare to anything you’ve seen before.
Flipboard (free) is a standout, especially because I’m a huge fan of the app. Its already stunning design gets a Retina-boost and the crispness of its images and text make the entire reading process more immersive. The same can be said for anything text-based. Books and magazines with Retina support are the sharpest they’ll ever be thanks to the high-resolution display, (seriously, it’s sharper than print). Any publishers who haven’t embraced digital as a medium yet need to climb on board, ASAP. This is a game-changer for the publishing industry, and I don’t see users heading backward into technology once they’ve seen iPad’s Retina in action.
App lovers will flip over how upgraded content looks and performs on the new iPad. Retina also opens the door for use of better looking iPhone-only apps. Although they aren’t optimized for iPad’s screen size, most of these apps are Retina-compatible with iPhone 4 and 4S. This means you’ll see Retina quality in a smaller package.
Should you get it?
Definitely give serious consideration to investing in an upgrade if you’re still on first-generation hardware because the new iPad blows the original iPad out of the water. I know I’m going to be sad to hand the new iPad back to my fiancé so he can use it to read comic books (the artwork looks gorgeous, by the way), while I’m stuck using the original one. This is hands-down the iPad to get, even when considering iPad 2’s price reduction and I’m already plotting how to get my hands on an extra for myself.
New iPad won’t render the iPad 2 obsolete, but if you haven’t laid your eyes on its Retina display yet, don’t put yourself through potential pain if an upgrade isn’t in your future. You’ll see it and you’ll want it, with good reason.