Satire in the Age of Letters and Technology- more than just a pinch of it.
By: Gurman Bhatia
It’s been kind of a ritual with Apple keynotes. They make you curious. They make you yearn for innovation.
This piece is going to be in two parts: The first half is going to report all that happened on March 7th 2012 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and the second half would talk about what we thought of the proceedings.
The Keynote, held on March 7th 2012, in the words of CEO Tim Cook, focused on the Post PC Revolution. He says, “The Post PC revolution is happening all around us and at an amazing pace. Apple is at the forefront leading this revolution. PC is no longer the setter of your digital world. New devices, devices you use the most, need to be portable, more personal and dramatically easier to use.”
Apple is known to create three Post PC devices: The iPod, iPhone and iPad. And out of all these, the iPad is known to reinvent portable computing in several ways.
The agenda for this keynote was simple- To get started with the Apple TV and move on to the iPad.
The new Apple TV – Now supports 1080p. New interface. Syncs automatically with the iTunes library – Music, Playlists. Uses iCloud to transfer your entire library including Pictures on iPhoto. $99. Available from March 16th. Not available in India. Most features like Netflix not compatible in India. Enough said.
Now, the iPad – what Tim Cook refers to the Poster child of the Post PC World. In Schiller’s words, it’s not just a new product, it’s a new category.
In a world where there are millions of tablets in the market, what makes it so great? According to Apple it is the App Store that makes it special. The way Apple has been successful in creating a Store with applications exclusively for a tablet is the winning point for the iPad. Other Tablets would come up with blown up versions of their mobile phone applications. Applications for the iPad on the other hand make use of the entire 9.7” screen. The amount of ‘empty space’ is extremely less in comparison.
The third generation of the iPad takes fundamental hardware to greater heights. Starting with the display, Apple has upgraded the iPad to Retina Display. Previously in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, it is known to be the sharpest display on any mobile device. The graphics and text are now sharper. With a resolution of 2048X1536, the iPad has around 3.1 Million pixels. That turns out to be some 264 pixels per inch. In words of Apple, the new iPad gives you a greater resolution than your normal HD TV. All this, with 44% greater colour saturation.
When you have a display that can do so much to visuals, you need a mechanism to support it as well. With the upgradation of the A5 chip to the A5X, the iPad now has Quad Core Graphics in comparison to the previous Dual Core. Result – Double the performance. Its a Graphics powerhouse.
A widely criticized feature of iPad 2 was the low resolution camera. Using the technology from iPhone 4S, the ‘new iPad’ has a 5MP iSight Camera. There thus is an upgradation of the photo, but then, what happens to the video? Well, to answer that it also has HD Recording (1080p resolution and upto 30 frames per second)
We wanted Siri to be a part of the new iPad. Sadly it is not. You do not have the voice assistant helping you out with all your needs and deeds. What you have however, is a small feature from Siri- Voice Dictation. It is available in US English, UK English, Australian English, French, German. And since Siri has got an upgrade with the new iOS 5.1, it now supports Japanese as well.
Speed: Not just any speed, Internet speed. We CANNOT wait for a video to buffer. Buffering is a pain. We cannot wait for heavy files to download either. We need things to download fast. And the new iPad surely takes care of that with 4G LTE (Long term evolution) technology. But in case you reside in India and plan to use it here, well this technology won’t be of much use. Since, we do not have signals with that much speed. So no matter what the device can pick up it is certainly not what the Networks here have to offer.
What does all this speed and hardware changes do to the size? It is now 9.4mm wide and weighs 1.4 pounds. Slightly more than its predecessor.
Colours available – Black and White. Same as before.
Prices – Same prices as iPad 2. 16GB Wifi – $499 | 32GB Wifi – $599 | 64GB Wifi – $699 16GB Wifi + 4G – $629 | 32GB Wifi + 4G – $729 | 64GB Wifi + 4G – $829. iPad 2 now available only in the 16GB Model – Cost: $399
Availability– March 16 in US, UK, Australia and other major markets.
March 23. And it is shipped to more countries. Wondering whether India is on the list? Well it is not.
What more from the Keynote?
That’s the Apple story of 7th March 2012.
Now, the way we look at it:
Sitting in India, and waiting the CNET website for a live blog to start. What’s the reason? Apple is having a launch event and the keynote video isn’t available ‘LIVE’. You wait for the actual name of the new product to emerge in the feed. The event ends and it is still called the ‘new iPad’. With all the rumours of whether it is iPad 3, iPad Mini or iPadHD, Apple does not give it a new name. Utterly unexpected.
What disappoints is the fact that there were no major changes in the way the product looks. The screen size remains the same and so does the styling. Flash support remains to be a sad story.
The intelligent thing happens to be the pricing. The factor that has discouraged people to buy an iPad, has been only the pricing. And with every new product launch the prices of the new entry being elevated is a fear amongst fans. The decision of keeping the prices same as the previous version and slashing the prices of iPad 2 takes care of these fears.
The new applications in the AppStore do not disappoint. It’s a step ahead for Apple. The Retina display is something you definitely desire to see.
The Wow Factor? Maybe missing. The Apple innovation? Might just not be there. We have seen Retina Display on the iPhone. We have seen a better, in fact an amazing camera on the iPhone as well. Then what makes ‘this new iPad’ special? Maybe, it’s the fact that it’s an iPad. But yes, the glam and hype around the keynote definitely makes it the (in the words of Tim Cook) ‘ The favourite poster child of the Post-PC world’.