Earlier today, Apple introduced the much anticipated new version of their iPad. While most were anticipating that it would be called either the iPad 3, the iPad HD, or the iPad 2S, we now know that it is officially called “The new iPad”. I haven’t really taken a liking to the name of it yet, but maybe it will grow on me – I mean, how long can we really call it the new iPad? They can’t exactly change it’s name next year when the next version of the iPad is released, so what will they call the next iPad, ‘The new iPad 2’?

Now on to my inaugural Pluss/Minus Report. Today’s launch of the new iPad brought many anticipated (and predicted) upgrades to one of Apple’s most popular devices. I’m going to outline the positives and the negatives of today’s launch in an easy to follow format of either a plus or a minus.

Items that were a PLUS

Retina Display: This is my favourite new feature announced today. I think back to when I upgraded to the iPhone 4 from the iPhone 3GS, and how absolutely amazed I was at the quality of the iPhone 4’s retina display. I had never seen a screen so razor sharp before – in fact, I still find myself admiring the quality of the display from time-to-time. So the introduction of the retina display on the iPad is surely something to look forward to.

A5X Processor: The retina display no doubt demands some serious horsepower in terms of processing power, and this is where the new A5X processor comes into play. It has quad-core graphics capabilities and should feel a bit snappier in terms of performance when using the new iPad. While you’ll read quad-core in a lot of literature, the actual processor is still dual-core like the A5. There have been reports of the new iPad having 1GB of RAM, but we won’t know for certain until the device gets into the hands of the benchmarkers.

5MP Camera: I think this is a much needed upgrade for the iPad. The camera on the iPad 2 was noticeably grainy and not very good in low-light situations. According to today’s keynote, the upgraded camera has advanced optics, and IR filter, improved white balance & autofocus, and face detection. This will definitely improve the quality of images we get from our iPads. Maybe soon, you’ll start seeing the new iPad making a mark in the most popular cameras list on Flickr. With the new camera (and the new A5X processor) comes full 1080p video recording with video stabilization and temporal noise reduction. I did a quick bit of research and found that temporal noise reduction means that we will see much better low-light video quality out of the iPad – an area where the iPad 2 struggled. If you want to learn more about temporal noise reduction, there is a very good write up on it over at Gizmodo – click here to read the article.

4G LTE: The new iPad is Apple’s first LTE device. This is a big step forward for Apple, and will make many people anxious to get their hands on the new iPad. For those of you who are not quite sure what 4G LTE is, it is a drastically improved cellular radio technology that can reach speeds of up to 73Mbps – that is faster than most home high-speed broadband internet connections. This technology really has the ability to change the mobile tech space in the coming years, and Apple has made that even more of a reality by bringing a 4G LTE device to the masses. However, as a Canadian this is not the most exciting news (yet), as LTE networks are only available in a few select cities at the moment. Hopefully by the end of 2012, Canadian cellular carriers will roll LTE out to more places.

Items that were a MINUS

No Siri: There was no mention of the new iPad having Siri. It does however have voice dictation. I’m not sure if Apple didn’t think Siri would fit with the iPad, or if they are not ready to bring it out of beta status yet, or what. I would have bet a lot of money on the fact that Siri would be brought to the new iPad today, and I would have lost. After the release of Siri in November, I figured it would start making it into all of Apple’s devices – from iPod Nano’s to MacBook Air’s. However, I can also think of a few good reasons why Siri wouldn’t work in those environments too. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

No NFC (RFID): This is something that I have been wanting for a long time now. I suppose there would be no real purpose to have NFC in the iPad just yet, but if Apple did include it with the new iPad, it would be very interesting to see how developers would begin to take advantage of this technology.

No Wireless Charging: I think this would have really put the new iPad at the top of the hitlist for many current iPad owners. Today’s update was evolutionary, but not revolutionary. I think that adding in wireless (induction) charging would have bumped this release up to the revolutionary realm. Companies like PowerMat have been selling wireless charging accessories for a couple of years now, and I would love to see this kind of technology be rolled into the next iOS devices so that we can charge without plugging them in via the decade old 30-pin dock connector.

No Water-Repellant Coating: This is definitely a stretch, since I first became aware of water-repellant coating for electronics this January, but I thought maybe Apple was working behind the scenes in their secretive manner and was going to start coating their electronics in this fascinating process. I hope we see this technology make it to mainstream electronics very soon. For those of you who don’t know what I am referring to, visit Liquipel’s homepage by clicking here to see this stuff in action.

So that does it for my inaugural Pluss/Minus Report. I hope you enjoyed my breakdown of the release of the new iPad. Feel free to leave your comments on anything that you think I missed, or mis-categorized.

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