Sony 24.3 Megapixels Alpha SLT-A77 Camera Review by KirkTuck

Photography Quote of the Day - David Burnett - March 15

Apple New iPad (Third Generation) Review Roundup - A Great Photography Tool

2012-03-15 06:49
The new iPad is one of the most anticipated and awaited devices to hit the market this year from Apple. Question emerges and what people have been wondering about is simple - is the new Apple iPad any better and will it exceed the sales record? Apple sold 15 million of the original iPad model in the first 9 months of the product launch. With last year's introduction of the iPad 2, selling have gone very well. In a little less than two years, Apple has sold roughly 60 million iPads, dominating the market it singlehandedly created. 

Like the iPad 2, this new iPad (Third Generation) is not a re-thinking of the original concept. Instead, Apple has chosen to focus on a few areas of improvement while keeping the overall package the same. Just 2 days after Apple began accepting pre-orders for its new iPad on March 7 2012, stock began drying up, and shipping times skyrocketed. According to Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, it is estimated that Apple will sell approximately 65.6 million iPads in the year of 2012, which is 10 million units above his original prediction. At the same time, Walkley also raised his price target for Apple stock, to $710 from $665.

So what's new in this new iPad? 

First of all, the new iPad boasts a gorgeous 9.7-inch "Retina Display" screen with 2048-by-1536 resolution and 3.1 million pixels, i.e. a million more pixels than an HDTV. Color saturation on the device was increased 44% relative to the iPad 2. It comes with 1GB of RAM - double the 512MB found in the iPad 2, and a quad-core GPU and dual-core CPU processor (the new A5X processor). Last year Apple brought cameras to the iPad 2, primarily for video chat. This year, the new iPad offers a greatly improved camera on its back - a 5 Megapixels autofocus iSight camera with technology similar to the one featured on the iPhone 4S. It has a f/2.4 aperture and a hybrid infrared filter. There is also a rear camera which is now capable of shooting full HD video. There is a new 4G LTE options for both Verizon and AT&T. In terms of built & materials, it's essentially the same as the iPad 2 in terms of general design and packaging, though a little bit thicker (0.37 versus 0.34 inch) and a little heavier (1.44 versus 1.33 pounds) than the iPad 2. If you are interested in the teardown of the new iPad, feel free to check out the iFixit site. You can purchase the new iPad with storage capacities of 16GB ($499), 32GB ($599) or 64GB ($699), or get it equipped with 4G LTE for an additional $129. Fundamentally, there are only three hardware options you need to consider:

  • New iPad Color - Black or White: Same as iPad 2, you have the choice between white or black models. The back and sides of the new iPad are metallic and most of the front is the display. That leaves a thin border around the display that is either white or black. It's mostly a question of style, but I would probably recommend the black model for better framing. Personally, I would prefer viewing photos with a dark background/frame, rather than a bright white frame on the side. It is probably good to check it out at the store before your purchase. 

  • New iPad Storage Capacity - 16GB, 32GB or 64GB: The $499 (WiFi Only) model come with 16GB of storage capacity. That's certainly not enough if you have a massive photo library. You'll want to avoid the 16GB model if you don't like having to sync your iPad with your laptop. Depending on the size of your photo library, the 32GB tends to be the 'just right' model for most people, while the 64GB model would be good for some heavy iPad users. Keep in mind that the storage on iPad is not upgradeable, I would probably suggest to get the 64GB model as photos or movies do take up lots of space over time.

  • New iPad 2 Wireless Options - Wi-Fi-only or (Wi-Fi + 4G): The Wi-Fi-only model will come with the 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 technology, while the model which comes with the 4G connectivity also features 4G LTE (700, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) for the AT&T 4G model or 4G LTE (700 MHz); CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) for the Verizon 4G model. If you're looking for the most seamless mobile experience, nothing beats built-in 4G connectivity in the device. However, people are carrying phones that act as wireless hotspots and it is real easy to connect your WiFi-only iPad to the Internet via your phones. For me, the WiFi only model works just fine, and I would use the money to purchase a higher storage capacity model. 

In additions to the hardware revision, Apple also introduced some software which plays nicely with the new iPad. Apple introduces theiPhoto for iOS which incorporates multi-touch features so you can use simple gestures to sort through hundreds of photos and find your best shots, enhance and retouch your images using fingertip brushes. There is also a Journals feature in iPhoto that lets you easily create a collage of your photos, and you can move them around with a touch of your finger while the app automatically makes all the other images fit. You can have location data from where the shot was taken added automatically, and you can add date and time for shots, making for a great package to send as a URL to your friends and family of vacation pics. From there, your family member can click a link and see the same collage, and click on a photo to see it full screen. iPhoto for iOS is available now for $4.99 through the iTunes App Store. BTW, there's also a new ability to delete photos from Photo Stream with iOS 5.1, and the camera shutter button has been relocated to roughly halfway up the screen in both horizontal and vertical orientations, a much better position.

Below is the review roundup of the new iPad (Third Generation), you can also check out the article - Top 10 Best Photography Photo Editing Apps for Apple iPad:

"In a week of using the new model, I found battery life to be quite comparable to the iPad 2. That doesn't sound like big news -- but it is. That's because the new edition introduces support for the power-hungry 4G data networks known as LTE that are being rolled out in the U.S. by Verizon (VZ) Wireless and AT&T. Especially in these early days, when the networks aren't crowded, LTE can deliver thunderous performance. On my test model, which runs on the AT&T network, I've clocked speeds over 40 megabits per second, which is faster than most home cable- modem connections. Apple says the iPad provides up to 10 hours of use over Wi- Fi, and nine hours on a cellular network. Based on my tests, that may actually be a little conservative. After near-constant LTE use, including Web surfing and an hour or two of streamed video, I still had power to spare at the end of the day. With battery life no longer a concern, the principal issues around LTE involve price and coverage. An LTE-equipped iPad costs $130 more than the Wi-Fi-only one, and data plans, which vary by carrier, range from $15 to $50 a month. (No long-term contract is needed.) Moreover, LTE is so fast you may find yourself consuming more data than you're used to.

Verizon or AT&T (T)? You'll also have to choose whether you want a Verizon or AT&T model, since their LTE networks aren't compatible. Verizon has broader coverage and lets you share the connection with other devices. But AT&T's $30-a-month plan allows you more data than Verizon's, and its fallback network when LTE is unavailable is faster. The new iPad's 2012 enhancements -- not to mention its wide lead over all rivals in terms of the number and quality of available apps -- keep Apple easily ahead of all other tablet- makers. In fact, by keeping the iPad 2 alive and cutting its starting price by $100, to $399, Apple has instantly made it the second-best tablet you can buy. When the company launched the iPad 2 a year ago, it was remarkable how few changes were needed to keep it the No. 1 tablet. Since then, devices running Google (GOOG)'s Android operating system have flooded the market, while Microsoft (MSFT) is poised to introduce a new generation of competitors running the next version of Windows. Yet once again, Apple has -- with a minimum of effort -- lapped the field."... [Source]

TheVerge, gave a rating of 9.3/10
"I believe 10-inch tablets with rear cameras are a ridiculous idea. An idea, perhaps, best reserved for moments of desperation or raw circumstance -- like it's the only camera you have around when your cat begins doing something hilarious. But the idea of taking this device out into the real world and attempting to snap photos with it is utterly laughable -- something I discovered when I took the new iPad out into the world to snap photos with it. I don't care who you are, what you do for a living, or where you come from: it's impossible not to look like a total nerd when you're in public snapping pictures with something that is literally the surface size of four point and shoot cameras. That said, if you absolutely must use the camera on the back of the new iPad, it will actually produce pretty favorable results. The auto-focus and face detection work excellently here (though tapping to focus is sometimes impossible due to the size of the thing). Thanks to that improved sensor, pictures you take on the iPad now look relatively respectable, with a depth of field shallow enough to pull off rather artistic looking images. Colors looked good to my eyes, if a little washed out, and shadows and highlights both popped appropriately. There's no flash present here, so don't expect explosive results in low light, though that larger aperture definitely allows better photos in darker places, and I saw relatively good results in my testing. On the video front, the image stabilization is definitely needed and clearly in play when you're bouncing around, and the HD content the new iPad captured looked crisp and stutter-free. Again, I can't see a situation where you're really going to be shooting any kind of long-form video with this device, but if you absolutely must, it does a surprisingly respectable job. Around front, you can expect the same basic quality of the last generation iPad -- which means it's nothing to write home about. It would have been nice to see at least a 720p shooter on the flip side of the tablet considering how hard Apple's been trying to push FaceTime, but you're stuck with VGA here.Let's be clear: the new iPad is in a class by itself, just as its predecessor was. As the latest product in a lineage of devices that defined this category, the iPad continues to stand head and shoulders above the competition. With the addition of the Retina display, LTE, more memory, and a more powerfu

l CPU, Apple has absolutely held onto the iPad's market position as the dominant player and product to beat. But should you buy it?  I would imagine that the vast majority of people considering the new iPad fall into one of two categories: upgraders (people who already own a previous model or Android tablet), and new buyers. For owners of the iPad 2, this isn't necessarily a slam dunk. While the updated features are a boon to the new iPad, it doesn't offer an experience that is significantly different from the previous version. If your screen never bothered you, and you never wanted a faster cellular connection or a better camera, there's not a great argument to upgrade (especially considering many of you just shelled out for a new tablet less than a year ago). However, if you're in the market for your first tablet, or upgrading from the original iPad or an Android device, do not hesitate. The new iPad is the most functional, usable, and beautiful tablet that any company has ever produced."... [Source]

The Wall Street Journal
"If you already own an iPad 2, and like it, you shouldn't feel like you have to rush out to buy the new one. However, for those who use their iPads as their main e-readers, and those who use it frequently while away from Wi-Fi coverage, this new model could make a big difference. The optional, extra-cost, 4G LTE cellular-data capability made it feel like I was always on a fast Wi-Fi connection. I loved the photos and videos I took with the greatly improved rear camera. And the battery life degraded by just 11 minutes, a figure that is still much better than on any tablet I've tested. Along with the unmatched collection of 200,000 third-party programs designed for its large screen, and the large catalogs of music, books, periodicals and video content available for it, I can recommend the new iPad to consumers as their best choice in a general-purpose tablet. The exceptions would be people who prefer a smaller size for one-handed use, or those who find the weight a burden. While the weight gain was noticeable, I didn't find it a problem even for long reading or video-watching sessions. The extra thickness was barely discernible. For the weight conscious, and for those who can't swing the $499 entry cost, there is an out. Apple for the first time is making and selling the prior iPad model at a reduced price. The iPad 2 will now be available starting at $399, with just one choice of storage capacity--16 gigabytes. The new iPad can be bought in 16, 32 or 64 GB capacities, at prices up to $829. The optional cellular capability costs the same as the slower 3G capability, both up front and in monthly fees from Verizon and AT&T T -0.57% .

Like the iPad 2, the third-generation iPad has front and rear cameras. The front camera, meant mainly for video chats, hasn't changed. But the rear camera, which was awful for photos on the iPad 2, and was estimated at less than a single megapixel of resolution, has greatly improved. It's now a 5-megapixel shooter with improved optics. I loved the photos and videos it took, indoors and out. The new iPad is the first that can be used, like many smartphones, as a personal hot spot--a base station to connect laptops and other devices to the Internet. In my tests, this worked fine. It also allows you to dictate, rather than type, emails and other text. I found this surprisingly accurate. And Apple now has a brilliant new version of its iPhoto software that has been rewritten for the iPad. Since it launched in 2010, the iPad has been the best tablet on the planet. With the new, third-generation model, it still holds that crown."... [Source]

USA Today
"Last time around, Apple added those two cameras to the iPad 2; this time Apple souped-up the optics. There's an autofocus, 5-megapixel iSight camera, which unlike the camera on the iPad 2 can capture high-definition video up to the 1080p standard. (Movies also play back in full high-def.) The camera has face detection, a sensor that performs well in low light, a fixed f/4 aperture and other optical enhancements. Taking a lot of pictures or videos with the iPad is a matter of preference. It's not exactly a point-and-shoot replacement and is a little awkward for shooting. Held a certain way, you can sometimes inadvertently cover the lens when pressing the onscreen shutter button. The alternative is to take pictures by pressing a volume button on the side. But the still images and video shot are generally pleasing, despite the absence of a flash. You can do minor edits inside the built-in Photo app and easily tweet images you've shot from within the app. Apple is also pushing a custom $4.99 iPad version of the iPhoto software that is familiar to Mac owners
If you shoot video and are prone to shake, you'll appreciate the built-in video-stabilization feature that helps steady your footage. And even if you don't plan on shooting much, many apps take advantage of the cameras on the iPad.

If you purchased the original iPad all of two years ago and have money to spare, I'd say go for it. Though a tad bigger than the iPad 2, the new iPad is smaller and lighter than the original iPad. You'll appreciate the increased speed, the lovely screen and the presence of cameras. If you have an iPad 2, it's a little harder to justify springing for the latest model now, much as you might want to. Yes, the new screen is spectacular, and 4G and the improved cameras are welcome upgrades. But you would have purchased that iPad 2 much more recently and it may be difficult to plunk down extra cash this soon, unless you have a family member who can inherit your current model. If you're a tablet newbie, there's no better choice on the market than an iPad, provided -- and this is a pretty big if -- price isn't an issue and you don't want a tablet that would fit in your pocket, such as the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire."... [Source]

MacWorld, with a rating of 4.5/5
"When it's time to ponder a new Apple product, it's easy to get caught up in the details of the specs, in what's changed from previous versions. With a product like the iPad, that's a dangerous game. Apple's decision to avoid calling the new iPad an iPad 3 or iPad HD or iPad 2S speaks volumes. The iPad is bigger than any single model. Clearly, Apple's vision is that we're in a period where many tasks we previously performed with computers will be transferred to new, different, less computery devices. The iPad, like its brother the iPhone, is ushering in a new world. Microsoft spent a decade trying to define the "tablet computer." Apple dropped the computer, from both its company name and the tablet category, and has seen massive success. Even now, the "tablet market" is really the iPad market, and the onslaught of iPad competitors we all expected two years ago has largely failed to materialize. Yes, one of the reasons for the iPad's success has been that Apple started with a huge lead on its competition. But the biggest reason the iPad is so strong was one quite rightly pointed out by Apple CEO Tim Cook when he unveiled the new iPad: Apple's advantage in apps. More specifically, iOS developers have worked hard to create versions of their apps that are designed for the iPad's larger screen. Google, meanwhile, seems to view the larger canvas of a tablet screen as indistinguishable from a smartphone's screen.

When the first iPad came out, I bought one. My wife seemed interested in it, and I was curious what she'd make of it, so I handed it to her and told her to try it out. She never gave it back. Recently, as we discussed buying her a new iPad (we ordered the $499 16GB black Wi-Fi model), she told me that she only turns on the iMac we keep at home for managing photos, typing out long documents, and visiting the ever-decreasing number of websites that don't play well with Safari. That iMac, which was in heavy use two years ago, is now a device we turn on to perform specific tasks. The rest of the time we're on our iPads or our iPhones, and it seems natural. This, I think, explains Apple's confidence in where we're headed in this post-PC universe. In the old days, we used to talk about "computing," as if it were an activity. Using a computer was computing. Computing didn't go away. It just seeped into every aspect of our lives. Computing doesn't happen on a desk anymore. It's in our laps, in our pockets, perched on the kitchen counter or smack in the middle of the coffee table. The iPad didn't make computing obsolete. It just brought it out of its shell.

The new iPad is just that: The iPad, updated for a new year and millions of new iPad users. It's not smaller or lighter, but it's got a remarkable screen, a much better rear camera, and support for cellular networking that can run at Wi-Fi speeds. It's the iPad that millions of people have embraced, only one year better. Users of the iPad 2 shouldn't fret: Their iPad investment is certainly good for another year. But they might not want to look too closely at the new iPad's screen. Once you get a load of that Retina display, it's hard to go back to anything else."... [Source]

"Another big upgrade in this new iPad: the camera. Previously, the iPad camera was more or less a joke for still photography. Apple's line on this is that it was really only meant to shoot 720p video, but plenty of people would use it to take pictures -- and the resulting 0.7 megapixel images were well, not good. Seeing that use case, Apple included a much, much, much better 5 megapixel five-element lens. It has a f/2.4 aperture and a hybrid infrared filter. I honestly don't know what half of that stuff means, all I care about is the fact that the images from the new iPad look very good now. There is no flash on the new iPad, but the flash on the iPhone tends to be fairly poor anyway. This new lens can also shoot 1080p video (again, up from 720p) at 30 frames-per-second. And it features video stabilization. The front camera, meanwhile, remains the ho-hum VGA-quality variety. But Apple bills that as being primarily for FaceTime (and presumably, higher-quality images would lead to lag). One sad aside here: despite the fact that the LTE networks are so much faster (faster than my WiFi even), Apple says that FaceTime will still be WiFi-only for now. In terms of speed, the new iPad feels very fast. But the iPad 2 felt very fast. There's probably a good reason for this: reports have the A5 chip being similar to the new A5X chip. One key difference is in the graphics capabilities. It takes a lot of GPU horsepower to run the Retina display. The A5X's quad-core graphics are the key there.

Remember a few years ago when everyone was using CRT monitors with resolutions of 800-by-600? They needed to be plugged in and to sit on a desk with plenty of room behind it. And they weighed upwards of 30 pounds. Think about that when you hold this new iPad. And think about the days -- again, just a few years ago -- when most people connected to the Internet via dial-up connections. Speeds were 14.4 kbps or 56 kbps and required a phone landline. This new iPad will connect to the Internet all over the United States at speeds faster than my current broadband connection. And it can do that for about 9 hours without being recharged. Technology is amazing, and this new iPad is amazing. Also amazing: the only company competing with Apple right now in this particular space is Apple. So the only real question is: do you upgrade if you have a previous iPad model? If you have the original iPad, I say this is a no-brainer. If you have an iPad 2, it's a tougher call since it still seems nearly as fast as the new iPad. But if you choose not to upgrade (or to spend $399 for the 16 GB iPad 2 now), again, treat the new iPad as if it were Medusa when you're in an Apple Store. Do. Not. Look. At. It. If you're at all interested in LTE in an Apple product, obviously, get a new iPad. If you read a lot on your iPad, get the new iPad. If you take a lot of photos and videos (yeah you, the joker in the front row of the concert with your iPad in the air), get the new iPad. If you play a lot of games on the iPad, get the new iPad. If you don't yet have an iPad, get the new iPad."... [Source]

"It's hard to overstate the significance of the new screen. Apple has packed four times as many pixels into the same space and the improvement has to be seen to be believed. The display is extraordinarily sharp. Text and photos look beautiful. Put the new iPad side-by-side with the iPad 2 and the differences are amazing. The iPad 2 suddenly looks so blurry. How have I never noticed that before? It's possible to see details on the new iPad that were just indistinct smears on the iPad 2. App icons are sharper and you can even read some of the tiny magazine covers on the Newsstand icon. You don't have to pore over the little details to notice the difference, however. It is unmissable. Of all the changes Apple has made to the iPad since last year's release of the iPad 2, this is the one that will make you want to buy a new iPad immediately. There are other changes too, of course, particularly in performance. The upgrade is apparent already in some of Apple's apps but it will become clearer still once new apps are released that take advantage of the graphics capabilities of the new A5X processor. Games will benefit but photo and video related tasks will get a boost, which is handy because Apple's new iPhoto and iMovie apps are remarkably powerful editing tools.

Perhaps more useful is the new dictation feature. Tap the new microphone button on the virtual keyboard and you will be able to dictate emails, messages and other documents. It's hard not to feel self-conscious at first while talking to your iPad but it is a time saver. Regardless of those features, the new iPad is all about the screen. It is very slightly heavier and thicker but not enough that you would notice. Apple's magnetic Smart Covers still fit and the battery life remains a robust 10 hours. If you have been holding off getting a tablet then this is the one to go for. In my view, it's the best that money can buy. Existing iPad owners who are thinking of upgrading should take a look at this new device. You'll see the difference very, very clearly indeed."... [Source]

The Loop
"I love having the ability to capture quality content on the iPad. Having a camera to take pictures and video is one thing, but having a quality camera is quite another. Knowing that the media you take home will be so good that you can make an HD movie or produce a slideshow is a huge plus. It's the person with the iPad that won't be saying, "excuse the quality, I didn't have my good camera with me." I also really like AirPlay. This gives you the ability to play content from the iPad on your HDTV through the Apple TV. I played music, videos, trailers and all kinds of things on my TV directly from the iPad. When you do this with iTunes Store movies, the screen goes blank on the iPad, so it's not possible to watch it on both, but I don't care about that, I want it on my TV anyway. When you play media on your TV from the iPad, you can control the volume and playhead from the iPad. It's like the iPad becomes your remote control. It really was cool to use.

One of my favorite features of the iPad isn't really a feature of the device itself -- iCloud. Setting up an Apple device is so easy these days with iCloud. Apple walks you through all of the main settings when you start the iPad and then you just enter in your iCloud ID. Like magic, all of your contacts, iCloud email and calendars are there waiting for you. What's more, they will automatically sync if you make a change on your Mac, iPhone or other iOS device. iCloud goes even deeper than that. It's my login for the iTunes Store and the App Store accounts. After logging in, you can browse through all of the apps that you bought and download the ones you want all at once. You can do the same for music, but I use iTunes Match, so it's even better. With iTunes Match, I don't sync music to my iPad, I have access to all of my music. Thousands of songs and videos, instantly. Anytime, anywhere. That's the way a service should be. So, what did I like about the iPad? Simple -- the experience. Nobody in the market today can touch the Apple experience."... [Source]

The New York Times
"A 5-megapixel back camera that takes far better photos than the iPad 2 did. (Which isn't saying much.) You can capture 1080p hi-def videos now, and a stabilization feature lends a hand when yours is shaky or moving. A tiny microphone now appears on the on-screen keyboard. Tapping it lets you speak to type, exactly as on the iPhone 4S. For most people, that's a huge blessing; typing on glass has never been a joyous activity. The recognition is fast and accurate, at least when you have a strong Internet connection (the transcription is actually performed by faraway servers). Weirdly, though, speech-to-text is the only piece of Siri, Apple's smart voice-control software, that the new iPad inherits from the iPhone 4S. You don't get the rest of Siri's features: the ability to set alarms, send text messages, look up calendar appointments and snag facts from the Web just by asking out loud. That the full Siri isn't available smacks more of a marketing department holdback than technical limitations. 

The world has changed since the iPad 2 came out. Stripped-down, smaller and far less magical rivals like the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet cost only $200. (That, probably, is why Apple still sells the iPad 2 at $100 less than the new models.) Dozens of would-be iPads have come -- and, in many cases, gone. (Shall we have a moment of silence for the Hewlett-Packard TouchPad and the flailing BlackBerry PlayBook? Nah.) But the surviving rivals still sell in minuscule numbers compared with the iPad, and that's not likely to change now. The new iPad doesn't introduce anything that we haven't seen before, either in the iPhone or in rival tablets. There's no Steve Jobs "one more thing" moment here; Apple just took its white-hot iPad and added the latest screen, battery and cellular technologies. If you're in the market for a tablet, here's the bright side: For the same price as before, you can now get an updated iPad that's still better-looking, better integrated and more consistently designed than any of its rivals. And if you already have the iPad 2, here's an even brighter side: At least this time around, you don't have to feel quite as obsolete as usual."... [Source]

Slash Grear
"The new tablet feels more targeted at video, however, and the Full HD clips it's capable of producing hold up well to what we've seen on the best smartphones. Digital video stabilization is included, and it manages to find that tricky middle ground between shake and over-processing. There are also rudimentary editing tools included, for trimming clips down before sending or uploading them. However, throw the $4.99 iMovie into the mixture, and the new iPad becomes a comprehensive mobile video studio. The app has been reworked since its first release for iPad last year, gaining storyboarding tools, more professional transitions and effects, and of course graphics suited to the Retina Display. With the exception of video watermarking, it would be easily possible for us to shoot, edit, process and upload footage from a press event, all on the new iPad, and cutting together home movies or promotional clips for work are easily within the tablet's abilities. We shot a selection of videos using the new iPad and the iPad 2, and processed them in iMovie to see how the old and new graphics chips compared. For a five minute 720p HD clip, the iPad 2 took 5 minutes 11 seconds, whereas the new iPad took 3 minutes 39 seconds. A five minute 1080p HD clip on the new iPad took 4 minutes 20 seconds to export, still comfortably under the iPad 2 despite the higher resolution. Finally, for an eight minute 720p HD clip, the iPad 2 took 8 minutes 10 seconds to export, while the new iPad took 5 minutes 45 seconds. Exporting an eight minute 1080p HD video took just a minute longer. It's worth noting that, while processing the longest clip on the new iPad, we noticed it got slightly warmer toward the bottom left of the tablet, whereas the iPad 2 did not. Nothing anywhere near uncomfortable to hold, however.

At the start, we mentioned those voices calling out for revolutionary change to the iPad. It's hard to see where it would actually be necessary. A good metaphor is, perhaps oddly, buying new tires: you don't want them to reinvent the wheel, but you do look at the materials to see how they hold up to the competition. Apple has perfected its tablet form, and with the A5X it has tacitly acknowledged that throwing faster processors or extra cores at a device doesn't necessarily improve it. Specs are done. The question now is, if I have my iPad, can I go for two days with ample use and without recharging? The answer, with the new iPad, is yes. Rivals running Android have chased Apple on specifications, but the overall user experience lacks the refinement and polish of the iPad. That will take more to address than a beefier processor or a higher resolution screen. Steve Jobs would have approved of the new iPad. With its focus on the holistic experience rather than individual boasts around its constituent parts, it's the epitome of the Post-PC world the Apple founder envisaged. No lag or delay; no frustrating cloud settings or arcane minimum software requirements. Simply pick up, swipe, and you're immersed in a joined-up ecosystem. Apple doesn't need another revolution, it has already started one, and the new iPad brings a fresh degree of refinement to a segment in which it is undoubtedly the king."... [Source]

The Washington Post
"By now you've heard about the revolutionary screen on the new iPad. But does it live up to the hype? In a word: yes. This display is outrageous. It's stunning. It's incredible. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that you can hold these beautiful images in your hands, or maybe it's the technology that Apple is utilizing, or maybe it's the responsiveness of the operating system. But there's something almost otherwordly about how good this screen is. For rendered text or high-resolution images, it just looks like a glowing piece of paper. As far as performance goes, while there isn't an obvious speed boost in comparison to the previous generation iPad, there's certainly no stutter, stagger or delay when using the tablet. With many modern mobile devices, there's this constant, nagging sensation that it's going to jam up, freeze or otherwise not respond to your commands. That sensation is nowhere to be found on the new iPad -- and it's a relief. On the data side of things, at least on Verizon's LTE network, this thing screams. If you own a Verizon 4G phone, or know what they're capable of, then you'll get the gist of what the new iPad can do. I saw higher speeds in midtown Manhattan than what I get on my home network. Another nice perk is that if you buy the Verizon version, you also can use the device as a wireless hotspot at no extra charge (AT&T says they're working on it, but they don't offer the same luxury). As far as the battery life of the new iPad is concerned, the iPad lives up to Apple's ambitious claims that you can do 10 hours straight of browsing the web, listening to music or watching video on this device (9 hours using LTE).

For those who already own the iPad 2, this isn't necessarily a slam dunk. While the updated features are boon to the new iPad, it doesn't offer an experience that is significantly different from the previous version. If your screen never bothered you, and you never wanted a faster cellular connection or a better camera, there's not a great argument to upgrade -- especially considering many just shelled out for a new tablet less than a year ago. However, if you're in the market for your first tablet, or upgrading from the original iPad or an Android device, do not hesitate. The new iPad is the most functional, easy-to-use and beautiful tablet that any company has ever produced."... [Source]

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Apple Completes iLife for iOS With Introduction of iPhoto & Major Updates to iMovie & GarageBand

SAN FRANCISCO -- March 7, 2012 -- Apple today introduced iPhoto for iPad and iPhone and major updates to iMovie and GarageBand, completing its suite of iLife apps for iOS. iPhoto includes breakthrough Multi-Touch features so you can use simple gestures to sort through hundreds of photos and find your best shots, enhance and retouch your images using fingertip brushes and share stunning photo journals with iCloud. iMovie now gives you the ability to create amazing Hollywood-style trailers as you record HD video on your iPad and iPhone. GarageBand introduces Jam Session, an innovative and fun feature that allows a group of friends to wirelessly connect their iOS devices to play instruments and record live music together. Each app takes full advantage of the stunning Retina display on the new iPad for incredibly sharp and realistic images and video. The new iPad also features a 5 megapixel iSight camera so you can record, edit and watch 1080p HD video all on the device.

"With the introduction of iPhoto, we've brought the entire suite of iLife apps to iOS and users are going to love it," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "Whether brushing an effect onto a photo, shooting a movie trailer or jamming with friends to record a song, iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand let you make amazing creations on iPad and iPhone."

iPhoto, Apple's popular photography app, has been completely reimagined for iOS to take full advantage of the Retina display and intuitive Multi-Touch gestures on iPad and iPhone. Simple gestures can be used to select and compare photos side by side and flag your best shots. iPhoto gives you full control over colour, exposure and contrast, and you simply touch the parts of the image you want to change. You can enhance pictures by adding beautiful Apple-designed effects with just a tap, or apply adjustments exactly where you want them with fingertip brushes. In addition to posting photos to Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, you can beam photos between your iPhone and iPad; stream photos and slideshows to your Apple TV with AirPlay; and use iCloud to publish photo journals to the web and share your stories with friends and family in a whole new way.

iMovie now allows you to turn the HD video on your iPad and iPhone into beautiful Hollywood-style trailers, even as you're recording. The new Theater view lets you preview and choose from nine templates in a range of genres including Fairy Tale, Superhero and Romance. Trailers feature gorgeous, customisable graphics with soundtracks written by legendary composers such as Academy Award-winner Hans Zimmer and performed by world class musicians like the London Symphony Orchestra. You can also share your movie trailers to YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook, and use AirPlay to stream them to Apple TV in high definition resolutions up to 1080p.

With the new Jam Session feature in GarageBand, you can invite up to three of your friends to get together and wirelessly connect your iOS devices to play and record as a group. Jam Session automatically synchronises the tempo, key and chords of your Touch Instruments so everyone sounds great. After jamming, everyone's tracks are automatically collected on your iOS device for you to edit and mix. GarageBand also introduces Smart Strings, a new Touch Instrument that allows you to play an entire string orchestra with just one finger, and the new Note Editor allows you to fine tune a Touch Instrument recording instead of replaying it from scratch. Integration with iCloud keeps your GarageBand songs up to date across your iOS devices, and you can share your finished songs directly to Facebook, YouTube and SoundCloud.

Apple today also updated its iWork for iOS apps to take advantage of the stunning Retina display of iPad and to offer 3D charts so you can create and view impressive 3D bar, line, area and pie charts. Pages now includes support for landscape orientation on iPhone and iPod touch, and Keynote gains new builds and transitions including Iris, Shimmer, Wipe, Flame, Swing and Fade Through Color.

Pricing & Availability
iPhoto, iMovie 1.3 and GarageBand 1.2 are available today for £2.99 each from the App Store ( Keynote 1.6, Pages 1.6 and Numbers 1.6 are available today for £6.99 each from the App Store. Updates are available for free to existing customers.

iPhoto is a universal app that runs on iPad 2 or later and iPhone 4 or later. iMovie is a universal app that runs on iPad 2 or later, iPhone 4 or later and iPod touch (4th generation). GarageBand, Pages, Keynote and Numbers are universal apps that run on iPad (all models), iPhone 3GS or later, and iPod touch (3rd generation) or later. Some features require an iCloud account. Some features may not be available on all products. For more information please visit

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