Most people don’t care how much a developer loves/hates a device so I’m hesitant to write reviews of hardware but the iPad 3 changes that. No, I’m not going to rave how it’s better than sliced bread. No, I’m not going to whine about being a modest upgrade.
The iPad 3 feels like the iPad 2 Intended Version. Let me explain.
While we were all reading rumors of iPad 2, a few points stuck out. The iPhone 4 was released after the iPad 1 so should the iPad 2 receive the same pixel doubling? Why didn’t we in the end?
The answer is probably production related. Either the standard A5 couldn’t drive it with reasonable performance or LG/Samsung/etc couldn’t make them in high enough yields. I’m going to blame the display manufacturers. Apple could’ve made the thing iPad 1 sized if the battery and processor combination were a problem.
Whatever the story, Apple couldn’t ship iPads with retina displays so they put the standard display on it. Upon doing this, they probably discovered all their efficient new components had something like a 20 hour battery, so they shrank the battery and case down to match the existing 10 hours.
Eventually the display manufacturers produced a high yield retina display and Apple revisited the idea with their new quad core A6 processor. With the iPad 2 sized battery battery life was probably very poor so they made it as big as their conscience would allow (the current battery size). Still not getting the performance they wanted they had to ditch the immature A6 and add its GPU to the A5.
I had speculated earlier that some devices might see a die shrink A5 rather than a new processor and when I heard about the A5X I thought that was the case, but it turned out it’s the same size (architecture) as the A5. I maintain my skepticism that we’ll see quad core iDevices from Apple anytime soon unless they can nap/powerboost efficiently and instead we’ll continue to see screaming dual core CPUs with screaming GPUs.