March 30, 2012

Third generation iPad reviews hit the Internet

March 16 is the day the iPad will go on sale and if you are like us here at TUAW, you can’t wait for Friday to arrive. To help pass the time, you can check out all the new reviews from our fellow journalists who got an early look at Apple’s tablet device.

Follow the links below and see what these reviewers have to say about the new iPad:

Jason Snell of Macworld: “It’s the iPad that millions of people have embraced, only one year better.”

Jim Dalrymple of The Loop: “So, what did I like about the iPad? Simple – the experience. Nobody in the market today can touch the Apple experience.”

MG Siegler of TechCrunch: “Let me be clear: the new iPad is a huge technological leap forward. It has by far the best screen I’ve ever seen anywhere and it’s something I can hold in my hand and touch and use for 10 hours at a time.”

David Pogue of The New York Times: “There’s no Steve Jobs “one more thing” moment here; Apple just took its white-hot iPad and added the latest screen, battery and cellular technologies.”

Edward C. Baig of USA Today: “But then you have a look at what Apple calls the “retina display” on the new iPad, technology first applied to recent iPhones, and you’re blown away.”

Joshua Topolsky for the Washington Post: “In all, the new iPad is in a class by itself. As the latest product in a lineage of devices that defined this category, the iPad continues to stand head and shoulders above the competition.”

Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal: “There is another dimension to speed: the overall responsiveness of the device. The new iPad is just as buttery smooth to use as the iPad 2.”

Joshua Topolsky of The Verge: “It’s everything the previous generation was, and then some. Stable, reliable, speedy, and long-lived. What more can you ask for?”

David Phelan of PocketLint: “This year, it’s all about the screen. Sure, the third-generation iPad has lots of other improvements but it’s the brilliance of the display which leaps out at you as soon as you wake the screen.”

Vincent Nguyen of SlashGear: “Apple doesn’t need another revolution, it has already started one, and the new iPad brings a fresh degree of refinement to a segment in which it is undoubtedly the king.”

When you are done reading, head on back to TUAW and let us know what you think.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Review roundup: Apple’s new iPad has ‘spectacular’ display, LTE ‘screams’

By Josh Ong

Published: 10:00 PM EST (07:00 PM PST)
The first reviews of Apple’s third-generation iPad are beginning to appear, with most reviewers reporting that they are strongly impressed by the Retina Display and the fast 4G LTE speeds.

All Things D

Walt Mossberg of All Things D called the iPad’s new display and move to LTE “massive” upgrades.

“Using the new display is like getting a new eyeglasses prescription—you suddenly realize what you thought looked sharp before wasn’t nearly as sharp as it could be,” he wrote, later adding that it was the “most spectacular display” he had ever seen in a mobile device.

Mossberg was impressed by Apple’s ability to maintain the iPad’s long battery life even with the increased power demands from the screen and LTE. He did note that trade-offs came in the form of 8 percent more weight and 7 percent more thickness.

However, in spite of those trade-offs, the reviewer believes the upgrades to the iPad “strengthen its position as the best tablet on the market.” Except for people who prefer one-handed use tablets, he recommends the device to consumers as their “best choice” in a general-purpose tablet.

Mossberg had trouble illustrating on a website or in print just how much better the new iPad’s screen is than the iPad 2, but he did say it is a “big leap forward.” When he put Apple’s third-generation tablet next to its second-generation, he noticed that text that had seemed sharp on the older model now seemed fuzzier. He did note, though, that the new display, like all glossy LCD, color displays, still performs poorly in direct sunlight.

On Verizon, average LTE download speeds for the reviewer were over 17 megabits per second, compared to an iPad 2 average just over 1 mbps on 3G. AT&T’s LTE network averaged over 12 mbps.

Performing his standard battery test, Mossberg got 9 hours and 58 minutes of battery life on the new iPad, compared to 10 hours and 9 minutes on the iPad 2. He was able to get more than a full day’s worth of normal use out of the device, but not as long as the second-generation iPad.

Mossberg said the new rear camera has “greatly improved” from the “awful” performance of the iPad 2′s shooter. “I loved the photos and videos it took, indoors and out,” he said.

“Since it launched in 2010, the iPad has been the best tablet on the planet. With the new, third-generation model, it still holds that crown,” he concluded.

The New York Times

David Pogue of The New York Times said that content looks “jaw-droppingly good” when optimized for the new iPad’s display. Apple’s own apps, for instance, are “just incredibly sharp and clear,” while Amazon’s Kindle app has “relatively crude type” because it hasn’t received a Retina-ready update.

As the “world’s first tablet that can actually show you hi-def movies in full 1080p high definition,” HD videos looked “dazzling.”

Pogue called 4G LTE service “really, really nice” on the iPad. HE found that he didn’t have to wait for videos to load before they started playing. Testing performed in San Francisco, Boston and New York produced speeds ranging from 6 to 29 mbps.

He was also pleasantly surprised by Apple’s ability to preserve the iPad’s battery life even with 4G, a “notorious battery hog.” His all-day nonstop-usage test got nine hours out of the new iPad’s battery.

“If you’re in the market for a tablet, here’s the bright side: For the same price as before, you can now get an updated iPad that’s still better-looking, better integrated and more consistently designed than any of its rivals,” Pogue concluded, adding that iPad 2 owners don’t have to feel “quite as obsolete as usual.”

USA Today

Edward C. Baig believes that “nearly everyone” who gets their hands on a new iPad will be “delighted.” The new device “snatches the crown” from the iPad 2 as the “finest tablet” customers can buy, he said.

Baig called the iPad’s Retina Display “a screen to die for” and “the thing that will have you salivating.” According to him, the first and second-generation iPad displays were “pretty sweet,” but he was “blown away” by the new iPad.

As for other features, still images and video taken with the new iPad were “generally pleasing,” even without flash, and 4G LTE speeds were “zippy” for him during a week of testing in San Francisco and Austin.

The reviewer said the the iPad lasted through an “entire day of being worked hard” without any battery problem.

Baig encouraged first-generation iPad owners with money to spare to go for the upgrade, but he was said it was “harder to justify” for iPad 2 owners, unless they have a family member who can inherit their current model.

“If you’re a tablet newbie, there’s no better choice on the market than an iPad, provided — and this is a pretty big if — price isn’t an issue and you don’t want a tablet that would fit in your pocket,” he wrote.


It’s Fabulous: Here’s What Early Reviewers Are Saying About The New iPad

It’s Fabulous: Here’s What Early Reviewers Are Saying About The New iPad

Can Apple’s early iPad reviewers charm you into buying the new iPad?

Apple always gives a few select media outlets a sneak preview of their newest products so they can post their reviews before the rest of us peons get to own their magical device. The embargo on reviews for the new iPad just lifted this evening. Here’s what everyone’s saying:

Big surprise here, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal thinks the new iPad is spectactular:

Those who use their iPads as their main e-readers, and those who use it frequently while away from Wi-Fi coverage, this new model could make a big difference. The optional, extra-cost, 4G LTE cellular-data capability made it feel like I was always on a fast Wi-Fi connection. I loved the photos and videos I took with the greatly improved rear camera. And the battery life degraded by just 11 minutes, a figure that is still much better than on any tablet I’ve tested.
As I tested the new model over five days, I found I was able to use smaller font sizes to read books and email. The same photos I had enjoyed on the older model looked much better on the new one, not only because of the increased resolution, but because Apple claims it increased color saturation by 44%.

Joshua Topolsky of The Verge has the best review we’ve seen so far. The amount of detail, pictures, and love put into his review are well worth reading:

In all, the new iPad lived up to my expectations on the performance and battery fronts — and I’m not sure how it might have surpassed them. It’s everything the previous generation was, and then some. Stable, reliable, speedy, and long-lived. What more can you ask for?

The Verge compares iPad 2 icons to the new iPad's retina icons

USA Today really enjoyed the speed of the new iPad’s 4G powers:

he new iPads are the first iPads that access the 4G or 4th generation data networks being deployed nationally (but not everywhere) by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, each with variations on how wireless is delivered.
The test machine, a Verizon model that taps into the company’s 4G LTE network, was really zippy in a week of testing in San Francisco and Austin. Downloading apps was quick, including previously purchased apps that had to be accessed through Apple’s iCloud service. Web pages loaded much faster than on an older iPad running 3G.

Writing for TechCrunch, MG Siegler says the new camera combined with iPhone is a killer feature:

iPhoto is the clear star, as it’s the brand-new app that Apple unveiled last week. Combined with the better camera, it works great for most photo-editing needs. There are slight bits of lag here and there when doing things like adjusting brightness by dragging your finger over a large image, but overall it’s very solid.
And if you want to take images with the still-better 8 megapixel camera on the iPhone 4S, you can easily move them over to edit on the iPad via the Beam functionality.

The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple thinks the Retina display is too good to put into words.

I struggled after the event to put the right words together to describe the display and a week later I’m still lost for the proper analogy. The only thing I can think of that comes close is comparing it to the first time you ever saw an HDTV. Remember how startling it was to go from one of those giant standard definition projector TVs to an HDTV? That’s what this is like.
The Retina display will make you do a double-take the first time you see it. Even on the home screen, it’s crisp and clear — you can notice a huge difference, even from the iPad 2.

MacWorld’s Jason Snell thinks the new iPad is great, but it’s not much more powerful than the iPad 2 says:

the changes Apple has wrought with this iPad aren’t about making it thinner or lighter or faster, but about making it better. And on nearly every front, the third-generation iPad is markedly better than its predecessor.
The iPad 2 was much faster than the original iPad, thanks to its dual-core A5 processor. But the A5X processor that powers the third-generation iPad doesn’t really offer more processing power than its predecessor. In all our processor-based tests, the new iPad ran about as fast as the iPad 2. (Which is not to say it’s slow—they’re the two fastest iOS devices ever.)

The New York Times wishes the update was more significant:

Really, the new iPad should have been called the iPad 2S. In the past, Apple added the letter S to iPhone models that weren’t exactly new but had been tastefully enhanced (iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4S). That’s exactly what’s going on with the new iPad. Its technical improvements keep it at the forefront of desirability — just ahead of the snapping jaws of its Android competition — but don’t take it in any new directions

SlashGear claims the new iPad is better for video than photos:

Apple says it has borrowed the camera technology and optics from the iPhone 4S for the new iPad, though still the 5-megapixel images the tablet is capable of do lag behind the 8-megapixel examples from the smartphone. There’s more visible noise and chromatic aberrations at full zoom, though the quality is far, far better than any stills the iPad 2 can achieve. You also get face recognition for up to ten people per frame, automatically adjusting focus and exposure, but the camera app UI itself is no more complex than before.
The new tablet feels more targeted at video, however, and the Full HD clips it’s capable of producing hold up well to what we’ve seen on the best smartphones. Digital video stabilization is included, and it manages to find that tricky middle ground between shake and over-processing.

In their short review, The Telegraph summarizes that:

Regardless of those features, the new iPad is all about the screen. It is very slightly heavier and thicker but not enough that you would notice. Apple’s magnetic Smart Covers still fit and the battery life remains a robust 10 hours. If you have been holding off getting a tablet then this is the one to go for. In my view, it’s the best that money can buy. Existing iPad owners who are thinking of upgrading should take a look at this new device. You’ll see the difference very, very clearly indeed.

So what do you think? Have the early reviews steered you toward or away from getting the new iPad? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments.

Apple Employee Promises iPad 3 Will Have “Truly Amazing” Display

Cult of Mac

Is Apple Configurator The Right Tool For Your Business?

Is Apple Configurator The Right Tool For Your Business?

Apple Configurator – Is it right for your school or business?

One of the first things most IT folks will think about Apple Configurator is that it’s pretty limited compared to some of the mobile device management suites on the market (including Apple’s Profile Manager in Lion Server). MDM suites are designed to make device management as easy, automatic, and wireless as possible. Most include robust monitoring and reporting features – virtually all can use Apple’s push notification system to update a managed device at any time.

Configurator, on the other hand, requires connecting each iOS device to a Mac using a USB cable to perform any administrative tasks like configuring device settings, assigning a device to a user, installing apps, or updating iOS. That means that Configurator isn’t appropriate for a lot of businesses or workplace situations. Yet, for some organizations, Configurator is a more ideal tool than most MDM suites because of its hands-on approach.

So, what kinds of environments is Apple Configurator suited to?

Any situation where there’s a need a deploy identical devices to a large number of users. This could be the roll out of corporate-owned devices to various staff, in which case the roll out process will include provisioning each iPad or iPhone with a base configuration, VPP licensed apps, and automatic enrollment in an MDM suite. This includes the majority of business and education settings.

In these cases, Configurator is only used to create a baseline experience on iPads and other iOS devices, but it won’t be used to manage them beyond that initial configuration. This is the equivalent of mass deployment tools used by enterprises where a Mac or PC is configured and copied to a disk image that is then deployed to a large number of workstations. As in those cases, and iPad (or other iOS device) is configured as the baseline for general settings and backed up using the Prepare feature of Configurator. Additionally, apps can be configured for installation along with configuration profiles and device names. The backup is then applied to new devices using the same Prepare feature (see our hands-on guide to Apple Configurator for details).

These preconfigured devices are then handed out to users. Additional management may be handled by MDM, but the role of Configurator is completed. This process works well for any one-to-one iOS device deployment of company-owned devices. When a device is returned and is expected to be given to other users, Configurator can again be used to restore that device to a pre-configured state.

The same approach works well for devices that are provided to users for short term use. This could include retail kiosks, iPads deployed as part of a hospitality program, and even some manufacturing or other shift-oriented work. Think executive hotel suites, first class air travel, car dealerships, hospitals, conferences, factory floors – anyplace where there is short term use of a device and the need to ensure it’s returned to a pristine preconfiugred state at the end of a guest/user’s needs or the end of a work shift.

Configurator’s supervise (management) features are oriented towards shared device implementations. In fact, Configurator works quite well in situations where iPads and other iOS devices may be distributed to users in the short term but where they may create documents and store information on the devices for later use. In this model, devices are assigned to users temporarily, returned, and then lent out again. Configurator’s supervise and assignment capabilities ensure that each individual user has access to their settings and data regardless of which device they use.

This methodology works very well in classrooms and for business situations where iOS devices are needed for specific events like sales presentations, client meetings, training sessions, and other times when employees work outside of the office on an occasional basis.

Where the configurator methodology really tends to break down, however, is when it comes to personally-owned devices. Given that Apple chooses to wipe a device when it is first setup using Configurator to preserve user privacy and given Configurator’s hands-on requirements, it doesn’t work as well as other MDM solutions for personally owned devices in a BYOD program. In those situations, a self-servicing portal for device enrollment tends to work better and solutions that provide secure on-device storage (Good, Bitzer, and the new Quickoffice ProSelect HD) can offer better options than even MDM services alone provide.

In the end, Configurator is a great tool for certain types of businesses and certain environments. It is particularly good for customer-facing solutions. However, it isn’t the perfect option for every business – it is simply one option among a range of choices.

Configurator Was Designed To Keep IT Managers From Spying On Employees

Cult of Mac

Apple Will Now Give You $320 For Your Used iPad 2

Apple Will Now Give You $  320 For Your Used iPad 2

The arrival of the new iPad will be upon us in less than two days. Selling your old iPad to supplement the cost of the new iPad can be a quick and easy way to save money. Last week we published a guide on how to get the most money for your iPad, but it looks like another option has just emerged. Apple has updated their Reuse and Recycling program to include trade in values for the iPad 2 which will give consumers up to a $ 320 gift card to trade in their used iPads.

We checked out some of the other sites and the scale seems to be fairly representative of trade-in values on other sites like eBay InstantSale and more than the comparable models go for on Gazelle.

Apple iPad 2 16GB WiFi $ 205
Apple iPad 2 16GB WiFi + 3G $ 250
Apple iPad 2 32 GB WiFi $ 245
Apple iPad 2 32GB WiFi + 3G $ 280
Apple iPad 2 64GB WiFi $ 275
Apple iPad 2 64GB WiFi + 3G $ 320
These values are based on ‘perfect condition’ iPads with no scuffing, engraving and functional batteries that are shipped along with a power cord and wiped of data. Water damage, cracks and wear all affect the value that Apple will give.

Of course you can try to sell your iPad on Craigslist to  get the most money for it, but many people hate dealing with that sort of hassle and opt to trade-in instead. Apple’s Reuse and Recycling program is actually very competitive with similar programs offered by other companies. The only company offering more trade in value right now is Amazon which is giving customers $ 300 for a 16GB Wifi iPad 2 and $ 460 for a 64GB Wifi + 3G iPad 2.

Apple’s Reuse and Recycle program is fairly similar to Gazelle and Amazon programs. Prospective traders can go to Apple’s website, answer questions regarding the current condition of their iPad 2, and then receive an estimated trade-in value. After the iPad is received and verified by Apple the customer then receives the trade-in value. Keep in mind that Apple does not issue cash, but instead gives customers an Apple Store giftcard that can be used to purchase anything in the Apple Store. When you’re already planning to purchase a new iPad the giftcard isn’t a terrible option.

If you’re still looking to sell your iPad 2 before grabbing the new iPad, take a gander at Apple’s Reuse and Recycle page to find out how much your iPad 2 is worth in Cupertino’s eyes.

[via TNW]

The Easiest Way to Trade-In Old iPad for Cash to Upgrade to iPad 2

Cult of Mac

Daily Update for March 14, 2012

It’s the TUAW Daily Update, your source for Apple news in a convenient audio format. You’ll get all the top Apple stories of the day in three to five minutes for a quick review of what’s happening in the Apple world.

You can listen to today’s Apple stories by clicking the inline player (requires Flash) or the non-Flash link below. To subscribe to the podcast for daily listening through iTunes, click here.

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TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Introducing comments by LiveFyre on TUAW

We’ve gone through a few permutations in our commenting systems over the years, but I’m rather pleased to announce our latest partnership with LiveFyre, what I consider to be one of the best commenting platforms out there. LiveFyre features include the ability to sign in using a variety of social logins, and to easily comment on others comments and share them across social networks. The idea is to enhance and promote our discussions on articles and allow you to share those discussions wherever you like.

There are also enhanced moderation tools for the TUAW staff, which means better, more relevant conversations. And yes, we will be moderating comments, but not by default. In fact, LiveFyre has a spiffy realtime commenting platform that is really quite nice to interact with on hot news items. As usual, be nice, stay relevant and don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to someone in person.

One note: If you see an authorization window mention Engadget, don’t fret that our systems have comingled and your comment is lost. That’s just what it reads until we change it.

A big thanks to Rick, Brett, Paul and Joe at AOL Tech, and everyone at LiveFyre for making this happen. If you’re having issues, let us know in the comments or via our feedback form.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Congress requests privacy briefing in letter to CEO Tim Cook

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 06:37 PM EST (03:37 PM PST)
In a letter to Tim Cook on Wednesday, members of a U.S. Congress subcommittee requested that Apple send a representative to Washington to brief government officials on what the company is doing to protect the personal information stored on iOS devices.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce claims that Cook’s initial response to a letter sent in February regarding iOS privacy practices was insufficient, and is asking that Apple give more detailed information as to what the company is doing to protect its customers, reports VentureBeat.

Representative Henry A. Waxman, ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, write that Apple’s March 2nd response did “not answer a number of the questions we raised about the company’s efforts to protect the privacy and security of its mobile device users.”

The officials go on to voice concern over certain iOS apps having access to photos as well as unnamed “tools” provided by Apple that can lead to unwanted “online tracking.” It is unclear whether the statement is in regard to a recent call for an FTC investigation over a loophole that allows an app to upload photos if it authorized to access location data. Because the photos were geo-tagged, it is conceivable that a user’s could be tracked as long as they kept taking pictures with location data turned on.

The security of iOS was first questioned when it was discovered that social networking app “Path” was uploading information from users’ address books to its servers without first asking permission. The so-called “feature” was meant to allow for a more streamlined experience when adding friends, and in doing so illustrated a vulnerability that could be exploited by malicious apps to retrieve a user’s personal information.

Shortly after the discovery, Path issued an apology and changed the way it handled sensitive information. Apple followed suit and updated iOS, requiring that apps first ask for user permission before accessing a device’s address book.


Apple stock soars, market value close to entire retail sector

If you haven’t noticed, Apple’s stock was soaring today. It closed at US$ 589.58, another all-time high, and is up +21.48 for the day. As financial analysts pour over these numbers, they are discovering some amazing trivia about this off-the-charts growth.

With the new iPad launch only two days away, I have a feeling this is only the beginning of a momentous climb for Apple.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

President Obama invites Apple design chief Jonathan Ive to state dinner

By AppleInsider Staff

Published: 06:30 PM EST (03:30 PM PST)
The recently knighted Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, will join other notable brits at President Barack Obama’s state dinner honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron’s first visit to the U.S.

As part of his first U.S. tour, Cameron will take part in a White House dinner where a number of British elites and other guests are planned to take part in a meet and greet with President Obama, reports The Guardian.

Gathering at the nation’s capitol with Ive will be other big names familiar to the U.S. public including Sir Richard Branson, golfer Rory McIlroy, musical group Mumford & Sons, and actors Damian Lewis and Hugh Bonneville.

Ive, who has worked for Apple for over 19 years, was a close confidant to the company’s late co-founder Steve Jobs. In an interview for his biography, Jobs said that “there’s no one who can tell [Ive} what to do. That’s the way I set it up.’”

In December 2011, Ive’s status was upgraded from Commander of the British Empire to Knight Commander of the British Empire.

The White House dinner is scheduled to take place on Wednesday night.