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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

March 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Peek inside Apple’s new iPad, plus early reviews

If you’ve been dying to see what’s on the inside of Apple’s new iPad, gadget repair firm iFixit has the goods.

Taking advantage of the time difference in Australia, iFixit flew an executive from San Luis Obispo, Calif., to Melbourne, where he was first in line at a Telstra store to buy the new iPad. Then he cracked it open, using a heat gun, guitar picks and other tools.

Here’s the big reveal of the iPad’s A5X processor, manufactured by Apple’s frenemy Samsung:

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Here’s the higher resolution screen, also apparently made by Samsung. During this procedure iFixit could “hear the cries of 3,145,728 pixels being removed from their homes inside the iPad 3.”

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Here’s the bigger battery:

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For external perspective, Apple’s preferred reviewers posted their first takes on the new iPad last night.

Walt Mossberg noted that it’s thicker and heavier than the last iPad and is no longer the thinnest and lightest tablet. But “despite these trade-offs, its key improvements strengthen its position as the best tablet on the market,” he wrote. “Apple hasn’t totally revamped the iPad or added loads of new features. But it has improved it significantly, at the same price.”

Mossberg loved the “spectacular” display but said iPad 2 owners “shouldn’t feel like you have to rush out to buy the new one. However, for 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.”

David Pogue at the New York Times said the new screen is “very, very sharp” but it doesn’t make much difference for apps that haven’t been rewritten for the higher resolution display:

In most apps, text is automatically sharpened, but not in all of them. After enjoying the freakishly sharp text in Mail and Safari, you’ll be disappointed in the relatively crude type in, for example, the non-updated Amazon Kindle app. (Amazon says that a Retina-ready update is in the works.)

Similarly, high-definition videos look dazzling. This is the world’s first tablet that can actually show you hi-def movies in full 1080p high definition. But Netflix’s streaming movies don’t come to the iPad in high definition (yet, says Netflix), so they don’t look any better.

The iPad’s 4G LTE connection is “really, really nice” Pogue said, but he’s not encouraging iPad 2 owners to rush out and upgrade, either:

The new iPad doesn’t introduce anything that we haven’t seen before, either in the iPhone or in rival tablets. 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.

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.

And if you already have the iPad 2, here’s an even brighter side: At least this time around, you don’t have to feel quite as obsolete as usual.

Comments | Topics: Apple, apple, Gadgets & products

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