Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kindle-related news: A couple of quick articles on the new Apple iPad, w/ Update 2

And that's the name of it too, not iPad 3 or iPad HD -- the new iPad (at least for now.

Twitter is alive with the news, and there are many news articles on what the changes are.

  Am posting this because it will be of interest to those watching both the iPad and the Kindle Fire.  One representative piece is by here's the thing.

  What stood out for me is that with the new very-high-resolution 'Retina' feature, it's still ~$500 -- no increase in price -- to begin (with no 3G or 4G), which means almost every iPad owner will probably get one, as will those who were hesitating to get iPad 2.

  Edward Boyhan reminded me that I probably should include the display numbers.
  The older iPads both have a resolution of 1024 x 768 on a 9.7" display, with a pixel density of 132 pixels per inch (PPI).
  The new iPad has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 on the same sized-device, with a pixel density of 264 PPI.

  Apps would usually need to be rewritten to take advantage of this, as many are written for lower resolution displays.   This doubling of pixel density over older iPads will definitely make a difference, which will probably be even more noticeable for text on screen.  See the 'other articles referenced' at the bottom for Gizmodo's article on what this means to data plans insofar as limits are concerned.

    For Kindle Fire users -- the Kindle Fire's tablet, half the size of an iPad (but longer, which works well for today's 16:9 movie width) has a resolution of 1024 x 600, which is one reason video has looked so good on it - similar number of pixels to the older iPads (though with a longer length screen) on a considerably smaller surface.

    My Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1" tablet has a 1280 x 800 AMOLED display.
  On the smaller Kindle Fire screen, the 1024 x 600 looks really good, especially on wide-screen movies, and you can see why.   [End of update]

  It has its own, fast, dual-core A5X processor with a quad-core graphics processing unit (GPU) and a better 5 MB camera with 1080p video recording and image stablization.   While the main application processor has just two cores (as do most tablets right now, including the Kindle Fire), the quad-core GPU is what will help optimize the Retina display

  It's slightly thicker and a tad heavier than the iPad 2, at 1.4 pounds vs 1.3 pounds

  Battery life will the same, about 9 hours on a charge while using 4G (the usual time would be 10 hours w/o 4G) but of course that'll depend on what you're using it for.  Video-watching will consume more battery power than reading an e-book or even a web news article.

  The new 4G connection via AT&T is of course fast.  I have that (under AT&T) with my Samsung Galaxy 2S and there's no lag with movies

  The iPad 2 is now selling for $100 less, with the non-3G/4G version that has 16 GB going for $399, or twice the cost of the Kindle Fire.  Maybe Amazon will update the new TV ad to include this information :-)   Amazon has been selling iPad 2 but they're now mostly sold by 3rd parties and they are charging more, so I won't link to them until they go down.

  32 GB "new" iPad will be $599 and the 64 GB one $699.

  As before, getting a 3G/4G module will cost an additional $130 for the capability (or $629 for the minimum 16 GB model, but I haven't seen anything re the monthly data charges and whether there's a change or not.

  I don't pay more for the 4G connectivity on my AT&T data plan for the Samsung Galaxy S2 phone (which just received the "Best Smartphone award" at the Mobile World Conference, presented by GSMA (Global System for Mobile Association), so there's a chance that won't change.
  But now I see one reason Apple has been suing Samsung all over the planet, and Samsung has countersued.  Even in Germany, where Apple rules even more than usual, Samsung S2 sales were larger than the iPhone 4S, which surprised many.

  But I digress -- the 4G connection at AT&T now available with the new iPad will be a real plus.  I have phone tethering capabiity on mine and that means your 3G/4G tablet can run a few other devices by providing its own 'WiFi' umbrella for them.

  In my tests, each of 3 devices for which my Samsung S2 phone and AT&T provide WiFi, as needed (battery drainer), are at the rate of 5-6 mbps for each device (a Kindle Fire, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, and one of my Kindle e-Ink readers.

  At any rate, that's one of the new features -- the tethering or the ability of the 3G/4G New iPad to double as a mobile WiFi hotspot.  The link explains how this works.

  (Would Steve Jobs have released the new iPad without a more solid name?)

  It'll come with AppleCare+ -- two years coverage of accidental damage if you order no extras.

  New iPad seekers can pre-order today from Apple's store and the new model will be in stores March 16 in the U.S., Canada, UK, France, and Germany

Information Week's Eric Zeman looks at what "What Apple Left Out" [Not much]
  .  Siri - the popular feature is on iPhone 4S's but Apple has used a simpler one, which will translate and place that 'translation' in the text field.  Siri can handle various other tasks.

  .  No main quad-core application processor, though it has a quad-core graphics processing unit, for smooth functioning of Retina display.

  . No new iOS although Apple will begin distributing iOS 5.1 update today.  It "adds support for iTunes Match (movies), Siri in Japanese [if the device has Siri] and the latest version of iTunes."

Zeman says that according to, "the new iPad" is the new name.

 I saw a headline from WebProNews's John Vinson asking,
  "Will the next one be called 'New New' ?"
and nicely punning that the new iPad is "Resolutionary" and with some other whimsical thoughts on it.

Other articles referenced
Gizmodo, by Andrew Tarantola, on how the iPad's higher resolution will affect how soon you might reach the data cap for a month and why. [Updated later in the afternoon]

Wall Street Journal, by Ian Sherr
Their video mentions that you'll get a 5% discount buying at Target (when using the RedCard option, good for all goods, as Edward Boyhan points out).

Washington Post, by Hayley Tsukayama and Cecilia Kang.

You can stream the event now.

Kindle Touch 3G, US-only   Kindle Touch WiFi (US)   Kindle Touch WiFi-Only, outside US    Kindle Basic   (UK: KBasic)   Kindle Fire
Kindle Keybd 3G   (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G)   K3 Special Offers   K3-3G Special Offers   DX

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. I think the 5% discount at Target is if you purchase it with a Target RedCard (debit or credit) that discount is for any purchase at Target using their redcards. Target has bundled kindles and iPads at different times with gift cards (the manufacturers prohibit discounting these items: the gift card dodge is a way of getting around this).

    1. Edward, right.
      I was keeping it simple (as my blog posts can be confusing), and I felt Target buyers would know it was via the general RedCard.

      But non-Target users wouldn't, so they'll know it through your good reminder (which I might add later in the body too).


  2. On the name thing: someone over at Gigaom:
    Pointed out that most of Apple's mainstream products (iPod, Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, etc) don't have version or other distinguishing monikers attached -- even though these products go through constant revisions and upgrades. The "new" naming in their view is just an indication that the the iPad has "arrived".

    Of course begs the question then why are they still attaching version #'s to the iPhone which sells far more than the iPad?

    1. I just inadvertently erased my first reply when I clicked on 'Add comment" instead of 'Publish' ! (Bad design there to erase a current edit w/o warning).

      Anyway, yes, I saw that gigaom article earlier and disagree, as a blogger who spends a lot of time trying to explain what all the different Kindle models do.

      It's already a headache to remember what does what but if there are no Numbers or sub-name, then it is horrific.

      Imagine trying to explain that the "Kindle" is not *The Kindle*-- and that it has no Touchscreen and no physical keyboard.

      It's foolish, and especially foolish when it comes to customer support costs and pure confusion and frustration on the part of prospective buyers and for current customsers.

      When I saw the columnist's idea that it shows the iPad has "arrived" - I thought that if THAT's his guidepost, then the "Kindle" arrived much earlier. I've always disliked that non-naming convention Amazon uses. Makes it tough on all of us, in the name of purest "branding' --

      Thanks for your inadvertent reminder on the display resolution.numbers.

    2. By the way, Edward, I fully agree with you on the iPhone 4s numbering and hope they don't go to just "new iPhone" on the next one.

      With Kindle, even the idea of purest 'branding' is not necessary. The word is already treated (as the first very popular mainstream e-reader when Amazon decided to give free 3G) in the way that "Kleenex" or "Xerox" is.

      BEFORE they simplified their naming recently, I saw people on general web forum areas referring to "The Barnes and Noble Kindle"


  3. I would just point out that Apple has done its usual PSYOPs in retaining the same price points as iPad2. But the reality is that if 16GB was good enough for you before, you'll need 32GB now. If you needed 32GB before, now you'll need 64GB. So they have effectively raised the price (albeit while also including improved performance, camera and display, offset by reduced costs for memory and economies of scale). The more honest thing to do would have been to have 32/64/128 models at higher price points, but that would have had a dampening effect on their marketing message.

    That is because apps that support iPadNew's retina screen will be significantly larger, as all bitmap resources grow by 4x, as will much of the content designed for it (1080p video, 5MP stills, for example). Some of the iBookstore textbooks are 1-2GB each, and may get larger yet if targeting iPadNew. Apple is rumored to be working on a higher def audio format, which will again be larger. And so forth. So if people want to replace their 16GB iPad 1 or 2 with an iPadNew, or are getting one for the first time, they had better think about getting one of the higher capacity models, since there is no way to expand storage (apart from wireless storage). (For reference, at last check, my 32GB iPod Touch is using about 1GB short of 16GB: 4GB for system, 8GB for apps, 3GB for content. 16GB is 'enough', but barely. Shooting a 20 minute HD video would eat it up.)

    The price drop of iPad2 may make it attractive for some, but I would find it difficult to justify because I would rather spend a little more for a better screen. Having been hearing the retina rumors since before iPad2 shipped, and having enjoyed sharper screens on the mobile devices I've acquired in the mean time, I think I'd be disappointed with one at any price. Plus there will be some Android options soon for retina-like screen experience (Asus Transformer Prime for example, probably also something from Samsung/Motorola and perhaps Amazon), which I would want to include in the consideration.

    There are the iPad Mini rumors, but it's not clear how such a thing could do anything except needlessly and disruptively expand Apple's product line, something they should be institutionally averse to, if Steve Jobs had any impact. It would either have to represent a 3rd form factor in the iOS line (needing specific SDK/app support), or a shrunken iPad2 (so it could run existing iPad apps, which might not work well since some UI elements could thereby become too small to be manipulated). I don't think they will ship one this year. iPad2 fills this gap adequately, and should remain profitable for awhile even at the lower price.

    (note: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, like my Xoom, is nominally 1280x800, not 1280x720, though usually you lose some screen for the status bar)

    1. Tom,
      Great points and I'll make a link to your comment.
      I did mention that apps will have to be rewritten for the larger resolution, and at the end, in 'Other articles' I linked to Gizmodo's points about how this will affect the amount of data you're using for your data plan, how much sooner you'll reach the max, etc.

      But your details and the added mention of very large textbooks and enhanced e-books now taking as much as 1-2 gigs should be read.

      The overall point that a 16-gig tablet would be a waste of money (with no expandable storage) is excellent. But Marketing considerations are pretty important.

      Like you, I'd pay an extra $100 for the retina display, even if I'm pretty careful with my money (getting a refurbished Samsung 10.1" Galaxy Tab at Woot!.

      After seeing the Kindle fire's little 7" screen with 1024 x 600 resolution and resulting PPI, I've not really been drawn to the iPad 2.

      However, as a photography-minded person, that will change with "the new iPad," except that I'm not going to invest in a 32 to 64 GB tablet right now that doesn't do Flash or have a USB port or an SD card at those prices -- and I would want 3G on it although I can tether other devices for WiFi access with the Samsung phone -- wearing down both batteries :-) at one time.

      With a 7" tablet, Apple would probably price it at $300 and do very well with it but the time spent on optimizing app versions for the 7" and testing them, with Apple being so strict about requirements probably wouldn't pay off.

      They should remain the one with the Rolls Royce tablet (with this improved screen although still with 4:3 movie display or letterboxing needed).

      They probably did order some 7" screens to test out the idea though. If people are saying late-2012 on that, then I'm sure your guess for 'not this year' is accurate even if they wind up doing one.

      Thanks for this.

    2. Tom, I forgot to reply to the 1280x800 for the screen display. Thanks for the reminder - I'll change it. I've been doing some videoclips which are taken at 1280x720 and what's nice is that this makes it all visible even with the status bar and sometimes the top bar they put on there before allowing full screen for most image things.


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