iPad 3rd Generation

There’s a misnomer out there that the new iPad has no “support name”. Per Apple Store’s shopping cart it’s “3rd Generation”. The product name is:

iPad with [Connectivity] [Capacity]GB - [Black|White] (3rd generation)

For example:

MD366LL/A - iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G LTE for AT&T 16GB - Black (3rd generation)

For marketing purposes however it’s just “iPad”. This makes sense and follows the scheme used for other Apple products. For example with MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, iPod lines we don’t refer to them as “MacBook Pro 6”. It’s just “MacBook Pro” but for support purposes it’s “MacBook Pro Spring 2010”, or just “MacBook Pro 2010”. Some nomenclature will include processor and CPU. For example “MacBook Pro 15″ i7 Spring 2010”. Apple just made the iPad fit the standard model of seamless product naming. I expect they may do the same with iPhones.

It pretty much met my expectations. Retina means “individual pixels not distinguishable at average distance from eyes”. Obviously the iPad that’s slightly further given the way you hold the device. Apple had to give on girth slightly to up the battery and keep battery life the same. They managed to keep that mostly under control.

A5X CPU sounds about what I’d expect. I doubt the performance is really 4X however. Just having 4 cores doesn’t mean you get 4X the performance. That only works if you have enough things going in parallel to use all 4 cores efficiently. If that were the case SLI or CrossFire would double the performance of any PC game. It’s very complicated to do this from a programming perspective. X-Plane developer Ben Supnik wrote about SLI and CrossFire a few months ago. Most of that applies. It’s not out of the box performance. Unless iOS 5.1 has some magic (unlikely).

Apple Store has been hobbling along all afternoon. Clearly someone is buying it. Tech press will always be disappointed. Even if the iPad cured cancer and produced kittens playing with puppies.


Israel Lifts iPad Ban

Israel announced that they have lifted the iPad ban.

“The scrutiny conducted by the Ministry technical team vis-à-vis Apple’s team, International laboratory and European counterparts confirmed that the device which could be operated in various standards will be operated in Israel in accordance to the local standards.”

Lets be honest. This had nothing to do with Israeli limitations on wireless communications. This had to do with importing a device that could be resold for significant profit without paying any sort of tax. Israel has more high-tech start-ups per capita than anywhere on earth. Needless to say the number of folks willing to pay a large premium to get their hands on one makes this a profitable market. It also makes the startups extra vulnerable to being extorted.

The truth is the iPad uses a pretty vanilla Broadcom BCM4329 (BCM4329XKUBG to be exact) chip. This is yet another chip in a very popular series of Broadcom chips for wireless communications. It handles Bluetooth and WiFi on one package making it very efficient and battery friendly. The iPhone 3GS uses the BCM4325. Millions of cell phones and laptops have very similar chips in them for the past several years. The radio is nothing new.

Almost every traveler bringing a laptop or smart phone into Israel has a wireless card of equal strength. If they had any real reason to believe that foreign wireless chipsets could be a danger to their infrastructure all laptops would need to be whitelisted before being brought to Israel. Clearly that’s not the case. Yes you can tweak via software to limit the power of a wireless card, but does anyone adjust their laptop when entering another country? Has anyone been checked when entering the country for wireless strength? I’m guessing not.

Now that a few weeks have passed, and the hype is starting to die down, there is no longer a need for the ban. Units will start shipping overseas soon anyway.

This isn’t a bad thing I might add. People who smuggle these devices in and resell them are just opportunistic and taking advantage of the situation.

Apple Mozilla

Mark Pilgrim On iPad Freedoms

Mark Pilgrim has a brilliant blog post on the iPad and the freedoms it’s taking away from tomorrow’s programmers. My favorite part:

Now, I am aware that you will be able to develop your own programs for the iPad, the same way you can develop for the iPhone today. Anyone can develop! All you need is a Mac, XCode, an iPhone “simulator,” and $99 for an auto-expiring developer certificate. The “developer certificate” is really a cryptographic key that (temporarily) allows you (slightly) elevated access to… your own computer. And that’s fine — or at least workable — for the developers of today, because they already know that they’re developers. But the developers of tomorrow don’t know it yet. And without the freedom to tinker, some of them never will.

I’m not sure how we got here, but it does now cost $99 to tinker with your iPhone and soon iPad. While your computer is still pretty open, it’s only a matter of time before the iPad can be used for development via Xcode and a new UI builder. Want to share your creation with someone? You need Apple’s permission (App Store) or you can’t easily do so. Back in my day you took a copy of Stuffit (you can use the 30 day demo) and put it on a server with a web page explaining it to the rest of the world.

However the web is still open. This is exactly why HTML5 and the open web is so important. The web is playing catchup to desktop computing and is accelerating. Browsers like Gecko and WebKit are making it more compelling than ever. The iPad like the iPhone is an awesome way to browse the web. Making the web powerful enough to take advantage of the hardware is the near future of personal computing.


Apple iPad Thoughts

So the iPad is now official (like it was yesterday).

The most interesting thing is they bumped the OS version to 3.2. I suspect this summer we’ll see a 4.0 for a much more radically changed iPhone than we’ve seen in the past 2 revisions. Otherwise I think they would have called this 4.0.

Some semi-random thoughts:

  • It’s an oversized iPhone/iPod touch. It’s software really isn’t revolutionary, at least so far.
  • It will be hard to compete with the Kindle. The Kindle’s screen isn’t back-lit hence it’s easier on the eyes. Don’t underestimate this.
  • Typing on a solid surface can’t be that comfortable, especially if you touch type. It works on the iPhone since you use your more padded thumbs. It’s not a laptop replacement.
  • It may be thin and light, but it’s not as mobile as phone. It’s not a mobile replacement.
  • It has the potential to be a GREAT gaming device.
  • It has the potential to hurt netbook sales by serving as a handy “around the house” internet device.
  • It’s wireless pricing and iTunes are combined to make it feel cheap to own/operate but will still get expensive quickly.
  • It’s sold unlocked. They are catching up with Google in that regard. I wouldn’t be shocked if the iPhone is soon sold on similar terms this summer. UMTS/HSDPA.
  • That black bezel will likely disappear once they can shrink the internals in future revisions. It will eventually become closer to the iPhone.
  • Still a mostly closed platform. The justification on the iPhone was security since it’s a safety device as well. Why the iPad?