Gadgets Extra - iPad and Apple TV review special
Last month, Apple announced new versions of the iPad and Apple TV. Is it worth the upgrade?
Apple practically invented the tablet market'as we know it with its iPad release in 2010. Since then, the company has released a new version each year in an effort to ascertain exactly what it is they have created and to contain and enhance the experiences demanded by its users. Internet forums were, true to form, buzzing with speculation as to what would be new in the 2012 iteration.
The main predictions were correct that the display would be far sharper and that there would be a faster processor. However, no one predicted that Apple would drop the numeric sequence and that this version would simply the christened 'iPad'.
The new crisp 'retina' display is not the physical print standard of 300 pixels per inch, but at the reading distance that most people would look at the iPad any pixels would not be noticeable. This certainly makes the display far crisper than virtually any of the competition.
Photo apps and videogames apps will benefit from this sharper resolution, as will magazine and textbook apps. However, expect the storage space required for many apps to increase significantly as utilising the new resolution will mean higher resolution images and video.
Apple has also announced that the device will feature a new processor called the'A5X chip manufactured by rival Samsung and based on a reference design by ARM. This chip is quad core and certainly will make visually complex apps really fly.
Apple trumpeted the 4G capability of the new iPad. However, what was not made explicit in the presentation or the initial press release is that the version of 4G will only work in the United States and Canada. Europe and virtually the rest of the world uses different frequencies to run 4th generation services.
Certainly the new Qualcomm Trip inside the iPad 4G edition will be able to utilise faster iterations of 3G that are currently being trialled by a number of UK carriers.
Do these advancements merit an upgrade if you have the iPad 2? The jury is still out on that one.
Apple has announced a refresh of its Apple TV - a diminutive set-top box designed to work with iTunes and as a companion device to work with the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch if they run iOS 5 with mirroring function turned on.
Just like the previous Apple TV, the device is a stylish and unobtrusive charcoal black appliance that does not clutter the living room like many other devices. It now features 1080p display and a new user interface - which is much more reminiscent of the Frontview platform that was previously bundled with new Macs before Snow Leopard removed this UI.
Since Mirroring was created, with the launch of iOS 5, Apple TV functionality has increased by the magnitude. It doesn’t matter that many apps, such as BBC iPlayer, are not available on Apple TV. As long as you have the app on your iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad you can throw the content on the big screen.
The device is also Airplay compatible, which means you can access content through iTunes running on another computer or an Apple server. Of course, you’ll have to have this computer running all the time. On a Mac Mini or a Mac Mini server, it probably won’t matter, but would you really want your large screen iMac or desktop Windows PC on all the time?
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