This week’s reveal of the 4th generation iPad really took me by surprise. That’s saying quite a bit considering Apple seems to have utterly failed at keeping a secret for the past year. Unfortunately, it was the worst possible surprise.
Launching a mere six months following the debut of the “New” iPad 3, this ‘New New’ iPad 4 sports a brand new CPU, the A6x, that combines the processor from the latest model of the iPhone with a snazzy new graphics processor. Apple promises twice the number crunching and graphics performance of the still fresh off the assembly line iPad 3. In fact, the iPad 4 is everything the iPad 3 should have been. Considering the lead time on designing and producing these machines, Apple knew EXACTLY what was coming before releasing that half-step of a device to the public and happily taking their $500+.
While not an iPad 3 owner myself, I really felt outrage on behalf of my fellow iOS junkies. Righteous indignation in hand, I took to the tubes of the ‘Net to share a gripe session with my fellow tablet troubadours. I mean, a new model with double the power a mere six months later… Surely the Web is overflowing with nerd rage, right?
Wrong. My journey took me to this post at Ars Technica. It’s a horrible article published for the express purpose of fishing for comments. Sites do this a lot because people who comment tend to revisit to see if anyone commented on their comment. This increases page views and ad monies. But that’s a rant for another time In this instance, it was just the kind of troll bait I was looking for to judge exactly how outraged iPad 3 owners were at having just ponied up a wad of cash for a system that should never have been released. Ars’ fishhook was “Are you frustrated with Apple's decision to release an entirely new generation of iPads so soon after the last?” Imagine my surprise to discover people were cool with it.
“As a "the new iPad" owner for several months, I really don't care. My iPad isn't any less capable now that a new generation is out. It still works the same way it did 2 days ago.”
“Does 2013 Toyota Camry irk you if you bought a 2012 model? Does your car suddenly stop functioning?”
“We live in an age where tech gets updated at least every year, if I got upset every time my device became outdated my blood pressure would be through the roof.”
“Nope not one bit. Progress is good. My iPad works just as well today as it did yesterday. I've got absolutely nothing to complain about”
And on and on. Sure, there were a couple of upset folks, but it seemed to be a small minority. An updated product with double to performance at the same price point six months after being told their device was the latest and greatest and no one felt scammed? How could this be?
A light bulb finally went on over my head when I reached the following comment:
“I'd only be irked if the resolution increased or if the aspect ratio changed.”
People don’t understand how their technology works. I was under the illusion that the widespread adoption of computers and nearly ubiquitous Internet connectivity options had made the understanding of such fundamentals as CPU power common knowledge. I remember being baffled in a similar way when the iPhone 4S was released. Here was a major upgrade (in my eyes) from the iPhone 4, yet no one was impressed. Why? It was ‘just’ a CPU bump. Here we are again. No new case, no new screen, no new hi-contrast icons. In short, no new tangible gimick. Just a system that works TWICE AS FAST as the old one. The truth of the matter is that people don’t find raw power sexy. Instead sexy is getting a wholly unnecessary display on a 10” screen with double the resolution of 65” televisions. The cellphone and tablet market sure is a strange, strange place to an old system builder like myself.
So, are you frustrated with Apple's decision to release an entirely new generation of iPads so soon after the last?
Sorry, I couldn’t help myself