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In my Dad's generation, middle-aged men of means would buy new cars at the end of every July because that's when new licence plates came out. Their old cars would be traded in as part-exchange, sold to third parties through classified ads, or passed magnanimously to relatives. This was regarded as civilised and financially …

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JDX
Gold badge

new retina screen makes my existing content look worse

We discussed this the other day - I want to see direct photographic comparison please.

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Re: new retina screen makes my existing content look worse

I don't quite get how but it does look worse. Look at a non retina app on the iPhone retina display it also looks worse.

It doesn't seem logical to me as 4 pixels should look the same as 1 pixel but it doesn't work out that way.

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JDX
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Re: new retina screen makes my existing content look worse

The only way I can think it would is that images are not simply resized so each pixel is displayed as a 2x2 rectangle of the same colour, but upscaled/upsampled to try and improve the resolution, and this leads to blurring or other artifacts.

If this is the case Apple could easily release an iOS update which disables this or makes it a config option or an API option or something.

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Happy

Re: new retina screen makes my existing content look worse

Welcome to the wonderful world of fragmentation. Yes, you all laughed an Androids efforts at solving the same-content-multiple-form-factor problem, but they pretty much have done a good job with a clear future roadmap which does include TVs - and even glasses as we heard this week. Android has had fragmentation solutions from the start, so save for kit a few years old which would have underpowered processing/memory anyway it's ok, and is just getting better. Apple on the other hand are just discovering it - they have to retrofit everything they can now since it's all an afterthought, and, err, sorry but this is only the start - it gets much worse from now on as they too get into different hardware. So who's laughing now?

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FAIL

Now, to be fair...

...distributing magazine content on digital devices in the form of a bunch of raster images is a stupid, misguided, and profoundly sucky thing to do.

What good is a bunch of effin' PICTURES of magazine pages, fercrissake? The text isn't text, which means it isn't searchable, it can't be indexed, it can't be annotated, you can't copy-paste it into another app. Seriously, when it comes to ways to distribute information in the Information Age, this is imbecilic.

There are all sorts of file formats which are designed to preserve the look of a printed page in a digital file while keeping the text as text instead of pixels, so that, you know, it can be SEARCHED since it's on a bloody COMPUTER and that's one of the things we use computers FOR.

If it were possible to attach two icons to a post here at El Reg, I'd make them both "fail" for this.

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Silver badge

Re: new retina screen makes my existing content look worse

I have both devices in front of me right now. Prerendered content looks identical, as do apps that have yet to be adapted for the retina display.

If there's a complaint at all, you quickly mentally adjust to the decent text rendering offered by [almost] all apps that render their text live, making the prerendered stuff look worse by comparison. It then looks equally bad on both devices.

Games that haven't been updated, like Angry Birds, look the same on both devices but even then my brain doesn't really notice anything particularly odd. It's really just the text where most people will be conscious of the difference.

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Anonymous Coward

What fragmentation?

If this is your example that iOS is going to be ruined by fragmentation, then fine. A small subset of apps (some e-magazines) reportedly look slightly worse on the new screen vs. the old one.

And since nobody seems to be able to describe or explain or demonstrate how they look worse, it's unclear if they REALLY look worse, or they look the same as before which is worse in comparison to content designed for the new screen. I'm fine with that.

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WTF?

Re: Now, to be fair...

Pretty much precisely what I was thinking as I reached the point of the article.

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Re: Now, to be fair...

Franklin's got it 100% right. The only thing that sucks in this article is Wired's (and others) choice to use the crappy Adobe content creation tools that make magazines into collections of screenshots.

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Pint

Have yet to figure out a single reason why I'd want any kind of iPad

Just to read magazines, advertising, email and weather, I can frankly save myself the annoyance.

For any real work or fun, like recording music or editing video, its too damned hard to get your own data in and out of it.

Its like submitting to a totally corporate controlled environment, where you have to play by anyones rules but your own.

Thanks, but no thanks...

Of course, I'm one of those people who tossed a brand new TV into the dumpster in 1997, after my TV addict ex refused to take it with her, and never missed either of them since.

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Re: Have yet to figure out a single reason why I'd want any kind of iPad

Not so crazy a suggestion. We have a 24" 720p TV and a 1080p noname 24" TV. BR content looks better on the 1080P by far but DVD look shoddy on the 1080p compared to the 720p. All from teh same XBMC player (changed resolutions etc.) maybe the upscale software is crap?

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FAIL

So basically, what you're trying to say is you're a bandwagoner on the cool "lets hate the new iPad" phase?

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Headmaster

Careful - you don't want to get burnt doing that ;-)

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As much as I dislike Apple for being a douchebag company and won't buy their overpriced products, perhaps they are needed in this world to keep the other company's on their toes. They must have done something right to grow this large, design, integration etc. If only they stopped being douchebags and were more price competitive I might even buy their products. But then they would stop being Apple.

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JDX
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overpriced?

£329 for a premium 10" tablet seems pretty darn competitive to comparable Android tablets. And top-end Android phones cost the same as the iPhone.

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Re: overpriced?

ALL decent tablets are over priced. Unless they start including a clip on keyboard, more storage and standard USB for Stick or HDD and SD card slot.

The ipad is too limited in storage options.

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Mushroom

Re: overpriced?

A nice screen, a keyboard, a drive, an SD Card and a couple of USB slots ... this concept might catch on. I wonder how nobody thought of it before.

And it could fold, and people could hold it on the top of their lap while using them. Quite intriguing.

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FAIL

Re: overpriced?

Top end Android phones like the HTC One X, reviewed today on the Reg, have 4 core CPUs - the "new" iPad merely has 2, and on that point there's talk of the overheating problems being down to that cheapkskate decision since 4 would spread the load more, resulting in each running cooler for the same workload, etc.

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Re: overpriced?

Every time I think about buying an iPad, the rip-off insult of the extortionately priced storage (and its imposed limitations) makes me angry, and I don't buy one.

This article makes me realise, Apple has taken that rip-off to an entirely new level, hitherto unimagined by me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: £329 ... seems pretty darn competitive

Only because Apple set the level of tablet pricing

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WTF?

Re: thad

Downvoted for such a ridiculous statement.

Even ignoring that iPads have been very competitively priced from the off, Apple don't set their competitors prices.

As for the article, the author lost me when he suggested that the "it's just a great big jpeg" style of digital magazines were anything other than an abomination.

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Why has Hasham been downvoted?

You downvote him, but you don't give reasons?

Which was the first company that decided that people would want to plug stuff in to their computer without having to restart it first? Including mice and keyboards, FFS!

Which still uses16:10 ratio displays, instead of using TV leftovers?

Which has an audio subsystem that allows the use of multiple low-latency channels on an external soundcard?

Who had the balls to state the obvious: That Flash is just crap for mobile devices when it can quite happily take a chunk out of a Core2 Duo?

Other companies can make their own design decisions, and justify them accordingly. Horses for courses. Why hate something when you can simply choose not to buy it?

I don't use a Mac, but Hasham makes a good point. You have a different opinion to him, and that is commendable, but if you don't give your reasons you're not helping anyone.

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Stop

@Bob Vistakin

iOS is considerably better at offloading rendering tasks to the GPU, plus what CPU is required for the GUI is handled as a real time task. Android renders on the app thread, so it needs a more powerful CPU to provide the same apparent (free from glitches and jerks) GUI experience.

The reason that the iPad runs SLIGHTLY warmer than Android tablets like the Transformer or the Galaxy Tab (2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit, not a significant difference) is the HUGE GPU pushing 3-4 times the number of pixels. It's still faster than the Tergra 3 GPU, even with the extra work.

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Bronze badge

In your terms...

...what exactly does 'douchebag' mean?

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Re: £329 ... seems pretty darn competitive

What does that even mean.?

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Re: overpriced?

You mean the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet?

Android

Clip-on (very good) Keyboard (with optical track point)

Full-Size USB

SD-Card Slot

It's not a bad device at all. Even has a proper active digitiser stylus.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: overpriced?

Hmmm ...Thats sounds like an asus transformer prime!! lol

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Thumb Up

Re: overpriced?

Asus Transformer then.

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Anonymous Coward

All it takes is to be first

Do you think that tablet prices would be the same if a lower-budget company had been there first? I don't.

They pretty-much invented the format, therefore they sat the price expectation for it. That is simple and straightforward, not ridiculous. How could they have been competitively priced, when there was no competition? Not possible. If you think they were fairly priced, that is a different issue: correct me if I'm wrong in thinking that Apple likes substantial margins.

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Stop

Re: All it takes is to be first

The iPad WASN'T the first tablet. It was the first to combine form factor, content, hardware, software and price in a way that the public liked. Other companies are at a disadvantage from the software and content points of view so the obvious factors to compete on are price and form factor.

Cheaper tablets compromise on the hardware. TN rather than IPS screens, single A8 rather than twin A9 CPUs etc, and people don't seem to be keen on that.

Smaller tablets seem to be a hard sell also. They're not much more portable than 10" devices while decently spec'd models aren't much cheaper. Mostly people just go for the bigger models. The exception is Amazon, where they've got the content and a very low price point in their favour. The hardware is far from impressive.

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Facepalm

Wrong again, it seems <Blush>

Damn! Must be that wicked Apple marketing.

Even though I don't buy Apple products, I had got convinced that the iPad was the first of its kind, if not even the first tablet.

Whilst there might still be something in "first of its kind," as a collection of parts combined to make the whole as you describe, I guess I have to concede defeat on this one.

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Re: Why has Hasham been downvoted?

Hot plugging peripherals like keyboards? I think DEC, via Access.bus. Though you could hot plug mice and keyboards on Amiga computers before Apple came up with ADB.

16:10 displays are offered by nearly every monitor company, including PC companies like Dell and HP. Only the discount monitors are 16:9 TV panels. Most non-Apple tablets and phones are 16:9; Apple for some reason still clings to the old-timey 4:3.

Low latency on an external sound card is pretty universal. At least, my Tascam US-1800 does thus just dandy, with up to 16 channels recorded at once, under Windows 7, and as low as 5ms, depending on what you want to do with it.

Flash ran just dandy on my old OG Droid. Yes, full HD flash video can stutter on a Core2 Duo. Just as any H.264 can, for exactly the same reasons. On the other hand, on my Core Duo laptop, 1080/60p plays with about 10% CPU. Same reason flash video is just dandy on mobile devices, as they all have dedicated video acceleration.. even more efficient than using the GPU. And as well, no need for 1080p video, usually. Apple's real opposition to flash was political.. very well documented.

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Angel

Re: @Bob Vistakin

GPUs only get hot when doing hardcore gaming work. Pushing graphics around is like driving you car slowly in second gear...

The main reasons the new iPad gets hot lie elsewhere. One is simple... big fat back light. 2.5x as much power as in the previous models. Second... the new Android devices use SOCs, like the nVidia Tegra 3, implemented in 32nm silicon. The A5x is 45nm, so, much more heat doing the same work. Like drawing pixels...

Also, the effect of dual vs. quad core CPU is the same as single vs dual. As long as your OS is properly multi threaded, the work is spread across all CPUs. Android does thus better, but iOS certainly does this too. For the same workload, four CPUs at 500MHz does the same work as two at 1GHz. But each 500MHz CPU will use 1/4 the power of that same CPU at 1GHz... of course better still in a more advanced process. So Apple's using more power here. They're also the only tablet so far to include a full laptop sized battery, so they backed this up right. But it still gets warmer.

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Re: All it takes is to be first

Apple was and is competitively priced, even from the start. They priced the entry level iPad at half the price of their entry level laptop. Apple sells expensive stuff, but if you buy the brand cachet and all that goes with it, the iPad was a good priced Apple product.

Android devices entered the market copying Apple's pricing, as dud other tablets. But you don't pay Mercedes prices for a Ford. They failed largely due to that... and some have fixed that mistake, and are doing well. Apple doesn't need to change anything about their formula, yet.

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Re: All it takes is to be first

"The iPad WASN'T the first tablet. It was the first to combine form factor, content, hardware, software and price in a way that the public liked. Other companies are at a disadvantage from the software and content points of view so the obvious factors to compete on are price and form factor."

While you are correct about Apple not being the first tablet, you are wrong in your second statement. Apple is a marketing company and Apple was the first company to tell unintelligent people to buy a tablet. Prior to the iPad release, Asus had 17 inch tablets with quad core processors, 4 gigs of RAM, expandable hard drives, running full Windows 7. They were actually function. Apple did what it always does:

1.) Reduce specs by 10 years. They cut the quad core processor to a single core, cut the RAM from 4 gigs to 512kb, cut the hard drive from 500GB to 16GB.

2.) Cut features. Options are confusing to stupid people. Why should you be able to decide if you'd like to plug your tablet into a 1080p HDTV? That is too much responsibility for a moron. What the hell is an SD card? What is expandable memory? We'll just tell them to delete files when they run out of space on the 16GB hard drive, or buy a new one!

3.) Apply a 50% margin. Apple charges $600 for something that costs $300 to make, comprised of components they buy from their competition. All Apple does is assemble: they do not design anything past the case.

4.) Add some kind of flaw or defect in the tiny amount of design they actually do. Make the tablet overheat in sunlight and shut down. No one can see the screen in direct sun anyway. What do you think this is, a kindle? Ground the antenna to the metal case. The metal case could never come into contact with a giant resistor, like say, a person. Why would anyone hold their phone?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All it takes is to be first

Simply clueless.

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FAIL

Blame your tools. not your ipad

"I do a lot of production work on tablet-based magazines and books. The problem is that vast quantities of iPad content is rasterised and paged."

Yup, that's the problem all right: your production method sucks. Sending magazines in the form of giant, dumb bitmaps was a stupid strategy from the start--your text is fuzzy, it isn't selectable, page turns are sluggish, and worst of all, the downloads are humongous. Who wants to download a half gigabyte issue of every magazine they subscribe to, every month?

But you took the easy, lazy way out, figuring that you could get away with selling your subscribers a series of big screenshots of text, that somehow they wouldn't notice. Well, you were wrong, and now the suckiness of your production method (all hail Adobe!) has become blatantly obvious. Your reaction? "Boo hoo, it's all Apple's fault!" Yeah, right. Get a life, mister.

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JDX
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Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

Why DO they do it as image per page? There must be a motivation that counters the large file sizes and inability to interact with the content. Is it an anti-piracy thing or does iOS lack a good format for this kind of thing... such as PDF?

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Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

There was an article about it somewhere, I forget, that explains it.

Down to two things:

Hardware limitations - at least in the first iPad, the performance of rendering text was actually slower than for graphics, so people just converted text to graphics.

Secondly, it is easier for designers to guarantee a fixed layout when they just effectively scan each page, rather than to get competent with using HTML5.

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Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

Dunno about the rest of it but iOS has PDF viewing built in. Likewise most office document formats and a whole bunch of media file types.

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Unhappy

Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

If you do it as PDF, then you've got to licence any embedded fonts. Let's say you do that and it doesn't cost much.

Now the text looks better as it's rasterised on demand to fit the display - although by some accounts the original iPad couldn't manage that fast enough anyway.

What about your pictures and diagrams?

Most of those images are not going to be available as vectors, and even those that are may not be in usable formats so you've got to rasterise those anyway.

So you still have to rasterise some of each page.

Yet in all magazines there are full-page images on many of the pages, so you still have to handle full-page images either way.

So why bother?

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Boffin

Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

To avoid the "do you have this particular (non-free) font installed?" milarkie I assume.

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Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

"Why DO they do it as image per page? "

The Archos 605 WiFi had similar problem.

PDF far too slow and awkard

You needed to build an ancient version for "Flash" (v8?) to work and too slow

HTML problematic on page size. Nearly impossible to have "pages" filling screen well but not exceeding slightly triggering scrolling. Scrolling is evil on eBooks.

So people generated .png and .jpg images...

Fixed Page width is easy enough on HTML. Fixed page length is a pain.

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WTF?

Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

"Hardware limitations - at least in the first iPad, the performance of rendering text was actually slower than for graphics, so people just converted text to graphics."

What the...? The web browser seems to render text just fine, and that's just HTML in WebKit. I can read ePub and PDF files without any problems too.

I have an original iPad, not an iPad 2 or iPad v3. I also have a subscription to Popular Science magazine. Said magazine crashes with such annoying frequency that I haven't bothered reading any issues for a couple of months now. That's Adobe's damned fault, not Apple's. Text may render a little slower than graphics, but it's not as if you're animating it.

Good bloody god, Adobe, you used to be [i]good[/i] at this this. What the hell happened?

As for the fonts issue mentioned elsewhere: pay the damned license, you tightwads! If you're too tight to do that, I have to wonder what you're paying your writers. If it's peanuts, that means you're selling us the ravings of monkeys. (Which would explain the contents of many publications.)

Buy subscriptions to a couple of font foundries, so it's a fixed sum. Tell your artists that those are the only sources they can use for fonts. This guarantees the foundries will produce more fonts for you to use, as well as ensuring this unloved, unsung work actually gets the remuneration and recognition it deserves.

(All this is ironic given that one of the few college courses the late Steve Jobs did attend was on typography.)

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Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

I can't believe you don't know this already (owing to the 80 gazillion iOS devices that now seem to be out in the wild), but iOS handles PDF quite beautifully. I can't imagine why you wouldn't be using PDF for your iOS app unless you've come up with a BETTER idea. Shit developers plague all platforms, unfortunately...

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Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

iOS has a PDF renderer built in; it's part of the core graphics processing format.

I've heard it claimed, though I don't know if this is true or apocryphal, that Conde Nast opted to go with screen shots of every page rather than PDFs of every page because they didn't want to pay the licensing fees to embed the fonts in the PDFs. If that's true--and I stress that I'm not sure it is--it sounds pretty ridiculous to me, as the licensing fees are not that expensive in the overall scheme of things. Probably about comparable to the storage and bandwidth costs of keeping and pushing out these honking big bitmaps.

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Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

"So you still have to rasterise some of each page...So why bother?"

Because the PDFs are far smaller; only the raster content is delivered as raster.

Because the text remains text, meaning it can be searched and annotated and manipulated like...err, text.

Because the text renders cleanly on any kind of display, regardless of resolution or pixel density.

Because PDF is a universal format, so the same file will work on desktop machines or wherever else you want to take it to.

Because the reader has more control; the PDF can be rendered exactly as the designer intended, or for folks who have vision problems, the text can be enlarged.

Because the text is available to assistive devices like text-to-speech programs for the blind.

Shall I keep going? I have more!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

The publishers don't want anybody to be able to do most of those things, and hate the concept of the reader being in control.

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Anonymous Coward

Not a Real Developer Re: Blame your tools. not your ipad

Article has a mistake...

"The retina display is great, but that's the only new feature. And let me tell you, it's a feature that is turning out to be a nightmare for *CONTENT* developers..."

There I just fixed it for the author. iOS is not a nightmare for real developers (read code) and there is no fragmentation (read Android).. iOS for real developers has the @2 graphic resource designation and will magically switch between high res and standard res graphics without a real developer (read code) having to write any software to detect if the iOS device has a retina display or a standard display.

The author's problem is as rightfully stated with his graphics/editing/layout/publishing tool chain, not with Apple and not with the iOS and not with the retina display.

It is the same as people running snOracle Java and Adobe Flash blaming Apple for a Trojan infection... Lolz

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Anonymous Coward

Missing the point

Yes, it's disappointing that Apple could not make the retina display on the new iPad thinner, and lighter, and less battery draining, and that it was so expensive to develop and manufacture that they couldn't upgrade the processor a bit - I mean, hell, they can just miracle new technology into existence to match the fantasies of all the most obsessive fanboys, so why didn't they?

The new display is, however, amazing. This is the first iPad I bought, because I was waiting for this feature. Imho, a tablet without it is not worth having, seeing that the main usage for reading text and looking at pictures. It is fantastic for this.

The retina display does certainly show up the work of lazy, bad developers though. But where it is done well, the results are stunning (compare the Times app to the Guardian, for example)

So crappy wired magazine doesn't look so good because they make it as one giant, low resolution gif file?

You have to use htm instead? How terrible.

Having said that, I do look forward to getting the new model next year which will be thinner, lighter, have a battery that lasts longer and charges quicker, and will have one of those spanking new ARM 15 chips.

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