Featured: New, new iPad: more magical than the last?

March 8, 2012 - Written By Randy Arrowood

I didn’t have the opportunity to watch the Apple event live yesterday, I was a little more concerned with the fact that my beloved Indianapolis Colts cut bait with one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. My hurt feelings aside, Apple DID have a press event for the new, new iPad yesterday, and I take issue with a couple of the things that were said.

My first issue was when Apple CEO Tim Cook demoed an Android tablet running a phone app, noting how horrible it looked. News flash Mr Cook: iPhone apps look perfectly shitty on your iPad. I should know, I have one. For all the talk about how many apps that have been created for the iPad, there are still a number that have never seen an iPad specific version released. Still more apps don’t take advantage of the increased screen real estate at all, rather they’re simply redrawn for the increased screen size, leaving a painful amount of dead space.

Mr Cook called out the official Twitter app and Yelp in his examples of piss poor app experiences on Android tablets, and he’s right. There are some apps that are written for Android phones and the developers haven’t seen the value in developing a tablet version for roughly 12 million potential users. That will change as 2012 ushers in wide spread ICS availability with its Fragments API, but that’s another story for another day.

I’m not sure if Mr Cook is aware of this or not, but Apple itself is guilty of stretching an iPhone app for use on the iPad. Case in point: the official Apple Remote for Apple TV. Look at this screenshot of the Apple Remote app running on my iPad:

Now, have a look at what an independent developer was able to create for the iPad version of their Roku Remote app, again, running on my iPad:

While that’s perhaps not the best use of the iPad’s huge screen, it’s certainly a much better use of the available space than what Apple chose to do with their own Apple TV remote app. I guess, though, when you a buy a product like the Apple TV that is viewed as nothing more than a hobby by its creator, you get hobbyist level development work on the apps that are made to work with it.

Tim then called out Phil Schiller to show off the new iPad, and talk immediately turned to specs. Not that Apple hasn’t always talked about speed and screen resolution, but Phil seemed to go to great lengths explaining the new display. No problem. The display seems like it’s going to be amazing, and if you believe the press that got hands on time with the iPad, it is.

The problems really started for me when talk turned to the graphics processor in the new, new iPad. Without any revelation of methods used, Schiller claimed that the new Apple A5x GPU performed 4x faster then the latest, greatest Tegra 3 chip. No proof, no benchmarks, no nothing. Just a baseless, insulting claim.

Nvidia immediately called bullshit, but my first thought when I watched the words fall out of Phil’s face was of the PPC vs Intel lie that Apple used to sell. Back in the day, Apple used PowerPC processors for its computers and they always, always far lagged behind the speeds of Intel chips. That never stopped Steve Jobs from trotting out on stage at the big reveal for a new Mac refresh and claim that his PowerPC computer running at half the clock speed of an Intel powered computer was up to 6x’s faster.

Of course the claim was total bullshit. Every objective test showed that the Apple claims were nothing more than magical hippie fiction, but Steve continued to sell the lie. Right up to the point when he came out and told the world that PPC chips sucked and Apple was moving to Intel.

That’s what is going to happen here. Real life, side-by-side comparisons will be made and Apple’s claims will be proven to be a lie. Apple will still march out next year and claim that the A6x is multiples faster than the Tegra 4.