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Apple iPad Reviewed 443

Posted by samzenpus
from the under-the-hood dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Since the iPad's initial introduction back in January, many of us still wonder why we should drop hundreds of dollars for what is termed as a large iPod. Missing features like support for multitasking, a built-in camera for video chats, and Flash support in Safari only add to the dilemma. However, a recently published review of the iPad starts to clear up these doubts. To begin with, the iPad is packing some real quality gear under the hood. Even though the in-house-designed 1GHz A4 chip got little official comment from Apple, the touch screen's instantaneous responses prove that it is outstandingly fast. Furthermore, the iPad runs iPhone OS 3.2, and is currently the only device that runs this version of the operating system. iPad's graphics capabilities come from a PowerVR SGX GPU, similar to the one found in the iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch. It can render about 28 million polygons/second, which is more powerful than the Qualcomm Snapdragon found in devices like the HTC HD2. Also, iPad's extraordinary battery life is not just a myth. According to the lab tests, the battery netted a respectable 9 hours and 25 minutes, very close to Apple's claims of 10 hours."
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Apple iPad Reviewed

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2010 @03:36AM (#31698140)

    No, it's for real. Walt Mossberg, David Pogue, and Andy Ihnatko were able to push or exceed 11 hours of usage. (reviews from before April 1)

    http://ptech.allthingsd.com/20100331/apple-ipad-review/

  • Better reviews here (Score:5, Informative)

    by Renderer of Evil (604742) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @03:39AM (#31698152) Homepage

    Andy Ihnatko's Sun Times review [suntimes.com] + Unboxing [youtube.com]

    Xeni Jardin's Boing Boing review [boingboing.net]

    Goatberg's WSJ review [allthingsd.com]

    Baig's USA Today review [usatoday.com]

    and Pogue's awkward review for NYT [nytimes.com]

  • by HateBreeder (656491) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @03:52AM (#31698214)

    Actually for tablets it is a big indicator given that they don't really run multiple applications that we can test them out on.

    I would argue this is only a limitation on apple device.

    Furthermore, you say:

    What the good responsiveness shows is that the chip is capable to running the OS very smoothly.

    But not more than that. You can't possibly begin to compare processors through UI responsiveness when they're running different operating systems.

  • Re:Ok, so... (Score:4, Informative)

    by julesh (229690) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:01AM (#31698240)

    Ok, so this is what I got from reading that short: well, this doesn't really address any of the concerns people have mentioned, but it's super duper powerful.

    Except, you know, the average netbook has a processor that's 50% faster, 150% more storage capacity, a screen about 10% larger, plus the option of using a keyboard if you'd rather not play with handwriting recognition. Oh, and most have cameras, and quite a few have longer battery life.

  • Re:AAAH!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:09AM (#31698276)

    But does it run Linux ?

    No, but it runs a full Posix compliant Unix implementation.

  • Re:Ok, so... (Score:5, Informative)

    by nneonneo (911150) <spam_hole@s h a w . ca> on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:35AM (#31698408) Homepage

    Hmm, I think this comparison of netbooks [wikipedia.org] wants to disagree with your claims.

    As listed in the table, most netbooks have substantially less than 10 hours of battery life, (indeed, only three entries out of 35 with published battery life estimates have an operational life of more than 10 hours), have a screen resolution of 1024x600 (which is *less* than the iPad's 1024x768), and, excluding the less-than-5" netbooks, weigh substantially more than the iPad's 1.5lb. Most are running 1.0 to 1.6GHz Intel Atoms, which aren't directly comparable with a 1 GHz ARM chip, so I can't comment on the "50% faster".

    The iPad also doesn't use handwriting recognition for English (it's a standard QWERTY touchscreen keyboard), and you have the option of using a wireless Bluetooth (full) keyboard as well (this option doesn't even require any additional hardware beyond the keyboard).

    So, I'd have to say that on several fronts, your argument about netbooks fails. Care to demonstrate what your "average" netbook looks like? Perhaps you'd also like to tell me how much it weighs, and what its actual battery life is like?

  • by jo_ham (604554) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (999mahoj)> on Thursday April 01, 2010 @05:46AM (#31698698)

    Indeed, while the GPU may be similar, the screen is bigger.

    Bigger LCD screens cost more than smaller ones.

  • by fan of lem (1092395) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @06:31AM (#31698854) Journal

    You don't understand - the iPad will act as a controller (I would say MIDI controller but a lot of those apps actually use the OSC protocol) and is not meant to run a DAW like Ableton. People will still run their DAWs the usual way - on laptop/desktop machines.

    So it's the iPad not as a host, but a remote device for controlling software running in the host.

  • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @06:55AM (#31698930) Journal

    What are you using your MBP?

    I've found I am able to get eight hours only when being very careful with usage: half screen brightness or less, no keyboard backlight, no flash in websites, and few background programs. I get a usable web browsing and note taking computer for 7+ hours. I charge my iPhone every night but have gone two days with minimal use, mostly texting and very short phone calls. As a music player my iPhone can easily do the advertised 20 hours.

  • Re:Multi-tasking (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nursie (632944) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @07:09AM (#31698964)

    Come to Maemo-land!

    The N900 is the (phone format) device you want. Run what you like, switch between the gps software, games, webapps, whatever you like. Hell, it even has a built in skype client that puts through skype calls just like mobile calls and integrates messenger services and SMS into a coherent single interface.

    Is it perfect? no. Does it have the app selection of iPhone or Android? no.

    But it is open and does multitasking properly. and tethering...

  • by pcolaman (1208838) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @07:16AM (#31699002)

    You are referring to one specific Android device (and a poorly designed one at that) while my phone (the Droid) is both extremely speedy (more so than my iPod Touch) and does multitasking with ease. And no where in that article that you linked to was there a mention that the Android Tablet could not multitask, only that it was sluggish. Try reading articles before you throw them up as links of evidence to FUD claims.

  • by Nursie (632944) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @07:28AM (#31699034)

    *cough* the N900 is awesome *cough*

    yeah, I had an openmoko and it sucked arse. The N900 is an altogether different beast though, and is a joy to use.

    Also far more open and easy to hack around with the 'droid.

    Never have used an iPhone, but don't feel the need now I have this.

  • Re:Multi-tasking (Score:2, Informative)

    by kainewynd2 (821530) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:03AM (#31699204)

    And no, I don't give much of a crap why it's not suitable for you or your grandma, it's a superbly geek-friendly phone that (unlike openmoko...) performs very very well.

    Relax, I was just playing around.

    Since you asked though, at the end of the day I really enjoy my iPhone. The touchscreen keyboard works well for me, the interface is intuitive, I have a free app that gives me SSH access and other apps that let me monitor my servers and various other things.

    All that said, I don't know what I want in a phone until I want it and with my iPhone I can generally get it right then. It's pretty much the only platform where I let myself be a typical consumer. On an actual computer I would rather script or code my own solution--especially on my Mac--rather than use a shortcut app. But on my iPhone I just want to tap buttons...

    So hopefully that helps clarify what *I* want in a phone. It isn't going to help with others much, but coming from a fellow geek, maybe it will offer some insight into the mindset.

    Incidentally... I'd KILL for tethering sometime soon. This paying-for-hotspots-while-I-have-full-3G-signal shit is killing me...

  • Re:Multi-tasking (Score:3, Informative)

    by Wingsy (761354) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:06AM (#31699234)
    If you can hold off until June-July when iPhone OS 4.0 is released, then you'll be in.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:12AM (#31699268)

    Several Apple sites broke the news yesterday that all devices running the iPhone OS will get support for multitasking third-party apps via an Expose-type interface when the 4.0 upgrade comes out. I guess since the story broke on 3/31 and not 4/1, it's not an April Fool's joke; and the idea of using an Expose-type system makes sense, given that these are Apple products.

    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/03/31/apples_iphone_4_0_to_support_multitasking_via_expose_like_interface.html

    One less thing for the Apple haters to whine about.

  • by Sandbags (964742) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:23AM (#31699342) Journal

    My wife's MBP 15" 2.66 gets very close to 7 hours with the second GPU off, watching video over WiFI with screen brightness at about half, and gets just about 6 hours playing games with the second GPU on (and about 5.5 hours under Windows 7). This also includes the use of Bluetooth concurrent with the other features, backlit keyboard on, etc.

    My iPhone 3GS gets almost exactly the advertised runtime playing either video with screen on or music with it off. Left in complete standby, it's shy a few hours of expected standby time, but I have ActiveSync enabled and that means it's not really in standby completely.

    My iPod Nano ran more than 14 hours playing music, still had some battery left when i woke up in the morning and found it still going.

    Apple's run times are withing 10% of advertized runtime, under NORMAL USE (default unless otherwise documented) settings. However, i have found Dell, HP, and most other systems I've used (including most other phones) are only capable of the same "withing 10% of advertised" battery performance when settings are tweaked, and all optional features are disabled. Typically, battery life in a non-apple notebook I fund to run about 60-70% of advertised life. Apple may not hit the mark dead on, but at least they hit the target's surface. Others completely miss and you're off in the woods looking for the arrow...

    Apple reports "general use" battery life, others report "under lab conditions" battery life, which is completely irrelevant.

    With reviewers claiming the iPad is getting consistantly over 9 hours run time, screen on, streaming data with connections to the web for e-mail and alerts running, that's pretty friggin good. Reading an ebook with wifi turned off should even more.

  • Re:Semicolon splice (Score:3, Informative)

    by Keeper Of Keys (928206) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:37AM (#31699436) Homepage

    Actually we're all wrong, this is not a semicolon splice, because

    Even though the in-house-designed 1GHz A4 chip got little official comments from Apple.

    is not a sentence.

    He could have written:

    The in-house-designed 1GHz A4 chip got little official comments from Apple; touch screen's instantaneous responses prove that it is outstandingly fast.

    Source: according to: http://lilt.ilstu.edu/golson/punctuation/semicolon.htmlhttp://lilt.ilstu.edu/golson/punctuation/semicolon.html [ilstu.edu]

  • by mcpublic (694983) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:45AM (#31699500) Homepage
    I'm not surprised Apple doesn't support Flash on the iPhone and iPad. I can personally testify that Flash is a serious battery-life waster on laptops too. One morning I was using a web site that had an animated banner ad at the top of each and every page, and I got only 2.5 hours out of my unibody 13" MacBook Pro's "9 hour battery." Without Flash running I can get at least six hours. Then I found the BashFlash app, and realized how often Flash takes 30+% of the CPU. Now I regularly use it to kill the Flash plug-in. Too bad Adobe doesn't give you tools to manage irresponsible Flash adds. A second or two of animation would be fine, after that Flash should "dial it down," but no... continuous attention-grabbing is what the advertisers seem to want, at the expense of my hard-earned battery life!
  • by sammyF70 (1154563) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:57AM (#31699572) Homepage Journal

    Hmmm I checked those, and the original article. Even though the articles all claim the iPad is a complete success in their title, the rundown is mostly "it looks great, it feels great, it really runs 9-12 hours but it's an iTouch XL and it's NOT a kindle killer (too heavy). You can't really do much with it, apart from playing games ( "great colours by the way"), browsing, due to lack of Flash is very often frustrating, and the virtual keyboard look fine but plan on buying the extra keyboard dock and carry it around with you if you plan on mostly anything except search queries. The screen's most notable feature, apart from the case and the ~great colours~ is its ambition to be a major plot element in CSI when they recover fingerprints off it. The lack of USB ports might hurt it, so does the lack of camera."

    Something tells me Apple only got theman iPad to review if they certified with blood that they would at least praise it in their title.

  • Re:Multi-tasking (Score:2, Informative)

    by ReverendJ1 (1703482) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @09:15AM (#31699710)
    Hey, I agree with your point. The no multitasking is pretty idiotic. However, if you're still living in a world where SSH sessions don't resume, you need to check out GNU Screen or Byobu. Screen allows you to have multiple terminal sessions and switch between them. Also if you use SSH to connect to machine with screen enabled you can resume your session from anywhere. Byobu is Screen on steroids and adds pretty options to it.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @10:04AM (#31700036)

    If you haven't been paying attention, Apple bought PA Semi [wikipedia.org] two years ago. Steve Jobs himself announced that PA Semi would design chips for Apple.

    ARM (the company) designs and implements their own cpu's, including the Verilog/VHDL source for the actual layout, along with some hand optimization at the synthesis stage. They then sell this to Apple/Philips/Qualcomm, who add the peripherals and then fab the actual silicon itself. Apple isn't going to reinvent the wheel by reimplementing an entire cpu. They're going to buy the core from ARM at a cheaper price than what they could do themselves.

    Normally that's not how the process works. While ARM Holdings does some design work, they do not make any CPUs or full chips designs even. Most often companies will go to a ARM licensee like Samsung, TI, etc for design because ARM only licenses the core of the CPU. The ARM architecture does not include things like audio/video. These design companies may or may not have their own fab. Apple and Qualcomm do not have any fabs. Fabless semiconductor firms then contract to a chip foundry like TSM to actually make the chips based on their designs.

    They're going to buy the core from ARM at a cheaper price than what they could do themselves. Apple is not the only one that wants a fast and low power arm core: everyone does. ARM already employs the best people to do this, they know the most about their own cores, they've had the most experience, and they are the ones most interested in doing it, so they can sell it to pretty much everyone. (How many arm cpu's are around you? More than you think. WAY more than you think.)

    ARM does some design work but most often they sell the core design. Their expertise is mostly around their core. Their licensees like Samsung and TI take their ARM core and design a whole chip based on it which is their expertise. Normally they design generic chips that can be used in a variety of applications.

    Anyways, don't give credit to Apple for the fast ARM cpu, they most likely just bought the core from ARM, who did most of the engineering, and Apple added some other on chip stuff and had the chip manufactured.

    What you've described is every ARM chip manufacturer in the world. Where the trick lies is in designing everything around the core as the core isn't the only thing on the chip that is important. From what I've read, Apple engineers optimized the design of the chip by making it both faster and power efficient. The rumor is that they did this by not including things that a normal ARM chip from Samsung, TI might have in their generic chips. Remember generic chips might have functions that are not used on a specific device. But the cost of customizing a chip is far greater than using a generic one. For example a generic mobile phone chip might have camera functionality but not all cell phones have a camera. Rumors are this is one thing that Apple excluded from the design to make the chip more powerful and efficient. This explains why there is no camera on the iPad.

  • I'm stunned. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @12:21PM (#31700992) Homepage Journal
    You installed VMWare, obviously don't know much about what the problem was, admit you didn't investigate it, and get enough up mods that I actually see your sorry excuse for contributing to the public discourse. For shame. VMWare is a complicated thing. Your license is hereby revoked, until you go to school on it.
  • Re:Multi-tasking (Score:3, Informative)

    by vijayiyer (728590) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @04:08PM (#31702528)

    The first 3 of those are handled by a the notification system.
    Before calling people names, it might help to get your facts straight.
    Oh wait, this is Slashdot.

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