On Wednesday, March 7th, Apple held their iPad launch event, and announced their new iPad, as well as their new Apple TV. The pundits have had a chance to have their voices heard, and I've had a chance to watch the Keynote by new CEO Tim Cook, so now I think I'll offer my view of the new device.
What I Like
Apple came through with the new Retina display, which was my biggest hope, and last hold-out I needed to get an upgrade for my first generation iPad. I wanted something that would make it easier on the eyes for reading, and the new resolution is exactly what I was looking for.
4G LTE was a big draw for me as well, not to mention the hot-spot support that would be made available. I'm still not sure which network I would like to use, but I've got some time to think about it before I get one. The speed was clearly a plus for what we wanted while traveling, and we seem to travel a lot lately as a family. And add in the hot-spot capability, and it will make it useful for everyone in the family while traveling. Now, granted, I could probably get a MiFi hotspot from AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile, but I like having as few devices as possible to keep track of when I travel, and I like the "temporary" feel of the 4G account, just pay by the month (unlike my iPhone).
The new processor and RAM upgrade is killer, particularly since the battery life has been preserved. That's always been a killer feature of the iPad, and one that I continue to tout as the best feature of all. To keep that kind of battery life while increasing the processing power makes it OK that a quad-core processor (or at least a quad-core graphics processor) was added when I honestly didn't see an immediate need.
iPhoto was unexpected, and is a great start: except it doesn't do everything I wanted. I was hoping Apple would allow the creation of their printed Calendars with iPhoto and their printed photo albums. Right now it's only available through iPhoto on OS X, which still requires a desktop or laptop to publish and have printed. They released Cards with iOS 5, so perhaps I just need to wait until iOS 6 for them to release the other two apps.
Garageband upgrade was killer with Jam Session, and something that I am thrilled to see! I've loved playing with it (as have the kids, I might add), and the idea that we could play together and record a song (or an attempt at a song at any rate) is just killer. Other than what was available, I would have to pull out my old mixing hardware that, quite frankly, seemed to be a little antequated in this digital age. And, I might add, Jam Session is really easy to set up and use in my experience. Great job!
iMovie was cool, and I like the way they set up the storyboard for iPad. It looks just awesome enough that I'm now thinking of purchasing it (with the new iPad, it makes more sense to have it).
Dictate is awesome, and something that has been long needed on iOS. I've used Dragon Dictate, but it's limited in the amount of audio that it can convert at a time. I'm not sure how long your dictate duration will be accepted, but I'm hoping it takes more than Dragon Dictate. We shall see on that.
It wasn't announced but I like the Apple Configurator app that was made available for mass-configuring up to 30 iOS devices for Education and Enterprise users. It's a great complement to OS X Lion Server and it's Mobile Device Management services.
Apple TV upgrade! The hardware isn't that critical to me, though I'm thrilled it supports 1080p now! It's almost enough for me to purchase a new one, though we just got our current one a little less than a year ago. I do like the new interface on the software upgrade, though my wife is a little dubious about it. I think it bodes well for future third-party apps that may eventually come to the Apple TV, and make it easier to find them. Perhaps, even, it will include a gaming section in future? Time will tell!
Finally, I liked the fact that the rumored price increase was false. I didn't think it would be increased, and it's nice to be relieved at the same price for the new iPad. And for those that don't quite want to make the jump, the iPad 2 is now $100 less!
What I Wanted To See
I've already mentioned it, but the lack of a print calendar project and a photo album project in iPhoto was something that disappointed me. I'm hoping they pull that in later, or create independent apps for those features found in the desktop version of iPhoto.
There is still a lack of a coding platform for Objective-C on the iPad, and that's something I would like. The iPad is powerful enough to develop on, though I'm not sure it would be a good platform to test those apps in a simulator. Not sure how that would work out, but it would be nice.
I'm still waiting for Apple's Server management software to come to iOS. Granted, Server is perhaps a small contingent of the Apple revenue stream, but for some of us it's a great package that we use quite often. I'd like to see management happen easily from an iOS device, and creating server software for iOS would be a huge benefit for system administrators.
I would like to see Apple Remote Desktop for iOS come out here soon. I don't expect advanced services like the Task Server, but I would like to see ARD being used as a VNC/Command Line client for quick access to troubled computers and easy management. A full ARD client would still be useful for the Task Server and reports, so I don't see it taking a lot of revenue, just making it easier for the administration team to help someone on the fly.
Well, that's about it! I'm looking forward to the purchase of my new iPad here in the coming months, and I'm thrilled to enjoy the benefits of the new Apple TV software now. What were your impressions of the Apple Keynote on Wednesday? What did you want to see, and didn't? What did you see that took you by surprise?