iPad without a name.

Apple’s special event held yesterday in San Francisco saw the release of a new Apple TV, iOS 5.1, and a new iPad. 1

While the iPad understandably stole the show, the former two big points shouldn’t be forgotten. Along with the Apple TV update, the iTunes Store was also announced to begin supporting 1080p videos and that videos are also going to be permitted to use the iTunes in the Cloud—no more downloading movies, it’s all about the streaming now. 2

Not to mention the whole AT&T iPhone 4S handsets are really on 4G-level technology with the 4G logo changed in the upper-left hand corner of the device thing that came with iOS 5.1—it just looks kinda funny. 3

If you want a recommendation from me about the new iPad, there’s a few situations that have stuck out in my mind since the event:

  • If you already have an iPad 2, don’t worry about it. The second-generation product is thinner and lighter than the just-unveiled successor and many developers who were thinking about going universal for the iPad 2’s graphics capability have already done so. You’ve probably found, as have I, an acceptable ecosystem of applications that allows you to get things done on the device. There was also no indication of how the new iPad will run iPad apps scaled for the older models; you might not be able to notice the pixels on a Retina-quality display, but I wonder if older applications will appear pixel-y as they’re being scaled up to fit in the new double-resolution display.
  • If you’re interested in the 1080p recording, approach with caution. I can’t deny that the new iPad is virtually a simplified video editing studio and publishing tool in and of itself, but i’m not sure how practical Apple’s camera software is for recording video in a serious way. There are no manual controls for keeping exposure and white-balance set at a custom value; the user can only set the auto-focus and the white-balance with a tap or lock it into place based on what picture is available for the camera at that point. Unless you’re carrying a box you can point the camera in that simulates the lighting situation you want to define as standard, there’s no real reason to use the new iPad as a serious video tool… but I doubt that any more than a few will.
  • If you don’t have an iPad at this point, it’s time to put your cr/debit card down. This model represents the definitive tablet of the first multi-core tablet generation and it’s going to be the shining standard that the Android and upcoming Windows 8 tablets will be emulating as far as hardware quality and capability (granted Nvidia called Apple out on its graphics comparison 4). Windows 8 might be the difference that sets its species of tablets apart, but Android tablet systems will be fighting toe-to-toe with this new iPad for the next year. Android tablets will need a major feature shift and software upgrade to compete.

I’ll have one of these models eventually, but I don’t think I’m going to break down and sell my second-generation iPad for it anytime soon. Perhaps after the Mayan calendar ends. Or something like that.

Typical Apple event blues?

I picked up an iPad 2 over the holidays this past winter and I feel like it’s been one of the best tech purchases that I’ve made in a while. It’s not the gaming machine that I just picked up and it’s nothing I can do some killer video editing on, but for most things—including producing this post—it does just fine and with a minimal amount of effort, I can do things that I might have relied on a computer to do in the past.

So, unless the iPad 3/iPad HD is going to have some mythical quad-core processor along with the Retina-level quality display, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to find myself dumping my iPad 2 for the new model anytime soon. I haven’t used the model that I have to its full potential yet, and developers haven’t hit the limit of what the device can do either.

The main concern I have with using an Apple device from a previous generation is that developers seem to flock to the newest features that the new model has and they stop paying attention to what the old model had to offer. The Retina display upgrade with this model will accelerate the legacy status of the older models.

While this effect wasn’t as pronounced with the iPhone 4 transition due to Apple’s commitment to providing a low cost iPhone in the 3GS, many developers couldn’t develop apps for only the Retina display at first. Developers would eventually find the argument to make the iPhone 4 their primary target for app development as they could take advantage of an extreme improvement in graphics capability over the iPhone 3GS and prior models. This argument was also the basis for some graphical limitations between the iPad and iPad 2.

Similar reasoning and decisions will be made in the next quarter as far as future app development for the iPad ecosystem, but for today, it’s just time to sit back and enjoy the Apple show in San Francisco. 1 Oh, and there’s that television thing that might be happening today, as well.