03-16-2012, 07:27 PM
I got mine today at BestBuy. Surprisingly, they had plenty of stock in all models. Every model was well stocked. The floor reps said there was no mad rush today and there wasn't even a line when they opened. The last iteration, there were people waiting outside 4 hours before opening. It appears most people who wanted one in advance, pre-ordered from the Apple Store. .
I am impressed with some features and not so impressed with others.
The new display is nice and is gorgeous. However, unless you are going to be viewing HD content, it really isn't much of an upgrade from the Ipad2 in terms of what you are going to actually see on the screen. Netflix does not stream HD to the Ipad so you are pretty much stuck with the 780P resolution that you had on the Ipad2. HD streaming is a bandwidth hog so unless your WifFi is up to the task, it's a moot point anyways. Also, streaming HD video content from the 3G or 4G connections will cost you a lot of money in bandwidth charges. HD streaming is probably not a practical affair so I can see why it is left off many apps.
Photos and vidoes are obviously much prettier to look at, even low-res images zoomed to fit the screen. IMO, the new ipad does a better job of upscaling images. The contrast and color profile also seems to be more natural.
I really have not noticed a difference in speed. Thew new processor seems to account for the higher res display but web browsing and connectivity appears to be the same.
I played a couple games I have paid for and downloaded to the new ipad. A game like HD Pinball deluxe pretty much looks the same as on the Ipad2 because a new HD version is not yet available for the increased resolution. The same for the other game I tested,
A couple negatives noticed right away:
The new model does feel heavier and a bit bulkier in the hand. You will notice the difference. It is not enough to be a deal breaker, but it is enough that you will feel it in the hand. I wouldn't classify it as minor, however, It is signifigantly heavier feeling in the hand, regardless of what the specs say. I have a feeling some reviews are going to ding it for this. This is in no way a thinner and lighther upgrade. In terms of analogy, I would say Macbook vs Macbook Air in terms of relative weight. Although its only a couple mm difference on the spec sheets, it does indeed feel bulkier when held. How much is due to the sensation of increased weight is hard to tell but the back portion does seem to bulge more even though from the edge to bottom, it is only mm thicker than the Ipad2. The center does seem thicker. It won't fit inside the hardshell, clear plastic case I had for the Ipad2, although the magnetic cover does seem to work without issues.
Also, this thing gets hot -- rapidly. Obviously, with the new retina display, power consumption has signifigantly increased. The ipad got hot enough after 2 hours of heavy use that it became a distraction while holding it. Not burning-hot like a laptop that has been running for an hour, but enough that it is going to be noticeable. How hot it can get I don't know. Another thing it will probably get dinged for in reviews. This is expected, however. Double the resolution and you have twice as many pizels to feed power. The battery is going to put out more wattage and associated heat.
Battery life. Haven't used it long enough to tell but I only used up 20% in about 2 hours of heavy multimedia and streaming use. This is about typical for my Ipad2.
IMO, if you will just use the Ipad for web browsing and social networking etc and make little use of multimedia, you will probably be happier with the Ipad2 and save $100. It is noticeably lighter and in my subjective opinion, it feels better in the hand. If you use it mainly for multimedia and video streaming, however, it will be worth the upgrade. But just dont expect a lot of HD content right now as this is new.