back to article iPad Air not very hot: Apple fanbois SHUN London fondleslab launch

Apple's new iPad Air has fallen to earth with a thud following a dismal launch day in London. The new fondleslab went on sale today and was met with unimpressive crowds which had entirely dissipated by the early morning. Normally, huge throngs of fanbois descend on Apple stores at the merest hint of a new product launch, but …

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        1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

          @Brenda - Re: A bit harsh

          Actually, ARM is quite good at 64-bit transparency: 32-bit code doesn't appear to have a penalty, but it is hard to tell when all you can do is compare first-attempt (okay, second-attempt, but Apple's is the first in a client) implementations of ARMv8 with mature, optimised ARMv7 implementations.

          That said, I completely agree with you that 64-bit isn't a big performance deal. I've written a lot of code over the last 25 years, for a lot of very varied application areas, and my gut feeling is that outside of scientific modelling, integer maths accounts for the bulk of most applications' calculations (remember that GPUs handle the floating-point for 3D transformations). Of that, I'd guess that 99% can be be accommodated by 32 bit registers. The big performance benefit of 64-bit, that of being able to access more than 4 Gbyte of address space, isn't a whole lot of use on a device with such constrained resources as a tablet. (To be clear, I still think 64 bit is of incredible benefit on desktops and servers, but they have more memory, more storage, and run applications that work with bigger datasets than a tablet.)

          Basically, being 64-bit isn't why ARMv8 chips like the A7 are better than their predecessors, but I suppose it's the easiest "this number is bigger" feature for a marketing department to work with, and in the inevitable absence of market-changing new features to trumpet at every iteration, Apple have now joined the tech industry numbers game instead: lighter - nice, more pixels - okay, but... twice as much "bit" as the competition?? Only the first two provide a customer benefit. As a customer, why should I care how wide the ALUs are? it doesn't add anything that will benefit me now, or in the lifetime of the device. It's a willy-waver feature; a bigger number buyers can use when someone challenges your choice of product.

          Nor does it mean the device will be faster or better than the competition. Right now, I think a good ARMv7 implementation can still beat an ARMv8 chip, simply because v8 is new, and the vendors are still getting to grips with it. But as the same optimisation is applied to the newer architecture by vendors, we'll see v8 pull ahead.

          But again, that performance gain will still have very little to do with it having 64-bit addressing. Not on a tablet, running tablet applications.

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: @Brenda - A bit harsh

            For some reason I've been down-voted on this in the past, but my opinion on 64 bit in phones / tablets is that in the future it will enable some much more efficient usage of storage (aka unified storage). Getting everything prepared for the future is a good thing. Yes, the marketing idiots and trolls here will shout about it being great, but it doesn't make a squat of difference other than the ARM chips in use are rather faster and more efficient than the previous ones... it's just that they happen to be 64bit as well.

            When you have 2GB of RAM in a device, 32 bit addressing is fine and efficient. However even these current devices usually have access to 32/64/128GB of additional storage. Storage is changing (see today's El Reg article on memristor future 100TB storage products) and the differentiation between volatile storage such as RAM and non-volatile storage such as Flash storage is lessening to the point that it many cases it will make a lot more sense to consider the non-volatile storage not as a traditional storage medium but part of the addressable space of the processor. Apple, with their closed shop approach, are in a much better position than other vendors to take advantage of this and the efficiency gains it will give. That's for the future though, for now it's the improved chip rather than it being 64bit that's most important.

          2. Sander van der Wal

            Re: @Brenda - A bit harsh

            Sitting behind a desk watching a computer screen doesn't make the computer more powerful.

        2. messele

          Re: A bit harsh

          64-bit processors are slower than 32-bit because they have to process more bits for a given calculation? Wut? By that statement 16-bit processors must fly!

          You do realise that mantissas are processed in parallel and therefore for 'up to' single precision numbers processing would take exactly the same time (given otherwise identical architecture).

          For numbers of 32^1 +1 or larger (it's really not that big of a number, people always focus on 2^64 as being humungous but that's a smokescreen, 32-bit processors struggle just as much at 4.2... billion remember that's where the 32-bit TCP/IP address system crapped out).

          In any case the architecture is much improved so there are advantages across the board, the only disadvantage is the memory required to store data, pointers etc. if coding isn't tight for SP numbers.

          Ignorance is not an excuse to spread crap regarding the advantages of 64-bit architecture just because you are not onboard yet. Embrace the future.

          1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

            Re: A bit harsh

            "Ignorance is not an excuse to spread crap".

            I agree. Please stop.

          2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

            Re: A bit harsh

            > By that statement 16-bit processors must fly!

            I can tell that for certain operations the 8088 on the original IBM PC (and others) was slower than the 8085 and Z80s.

            In particular, byte write operations required the 16 bit word to be fetched, the byte changed and the 16 bit word rewritten (otherwise the 'other' byte on the 16bit bus would be lost) while the 8bit machines just wrote the single byte.

        3. Joerg

          Re: A bit harsh

          @Brenda McViking: you clearly have no clue what you are talking about. You should try studying a bit of basic CPUs design and architecture before going around writing nonsense like that, the opposite of truth.

        4. druck Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: A bit harsh

          The 64bit ARM is no slower or faster working with 64bit registers than 32bit. The advantage comes from having twice as many registers in 64bit mode, for compilers to take advantage of.

        5. Vic

          Re: A bit harsh

          > "64-bit architectures have NOTHING to do with speed"

          Unles you're doing SIMD calculations. The extra word length means more operations per clock. But I'd expect that to be a small minority of most users' work...

          > If anything, they're slower than their 32-bit counterparts

          Most CPUs suffer from bandwidth restriction to RAM. The more bits you have to load up for a given routine, the longer it takes to get into your CPU. Cache only goes so far befoer it's full...

          Vic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Basically it's the best tablet available for most people

        So how come they're not flying off the shelves? Could all those 5 star reviews be wrong?

        1. Frank Bough

          Re: Basically it's the best tablet available for most people

          who told you they weren't?

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Basically it's the best tablet available for most people

            The 64bit processor will have more relevance in a couple of years time, but it makes sense for Apple to introduce it now so that by then most of their iDevice range will be using it, making software development easier.

            1. IAmTheMillipede

              Re: Basically it's the best tablet available for most people

              "The 64bit processor will have more relevance in a couple of years time, but it makes sense for Apple to introduce it now so that by then most of their iDevice range will be using it, making software development easier."

              Ermmm.... What?

              As a developer for some 30 years now, let me assure you the transition from compiling for 32 bit architecture to a 64bit one is literally changing one or two switches on your compiler (or clicking a button if you're using one of those new fangled GUIs). I have done literally dozens of "conversions" from 32 to 64 bit builds and never spent more than a couple minutes on it.

              Never in history has any corporation forced its customers to prepay for tech that does nothing for them, just to make clicking said button easier for developers. The situation with the apple products is simply this: the consulting firm Apple pays to develop their CPUs finished a 64 bit version and Apple decided it would make good marketing sense to throw it in now despite it actually being useless. From the silly nonsense I've heard spouting from the iHoles of their devoted, seems they were right.

            2. Michael 5

              Re: Basically it's the best tablet available for most people

              @Dave 126 - you are such a tosser!

              The A7 double the CPU scores of the previous chip (check our GeekBench). Couple that with OpenCL and you have the ability to really do some real if not serious computing.

              Consider this also... the A7 clobbers some of the recent Intel chips used by notebooks such as the Intel Core 2 Duo L9600 2130 MHz and the Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 2400 MHz. It also equals the Intel Core i7-2677M in its scoring.

              Tell me that its a worthless climb for a tablet to now better some recent notebooks.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: A bit harsh

      64-bit architecture is so 2007. This is 2013, closing in fast on 2014. If you're counting that as innovation, I think you need to revisit the dictionary. You should be able to find one online if you don't have a dead tree copy handy.

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple can't win - they have stock and the device is not selling - they run out of stock and it's a conspiracy to try and drum up demand. People queue and they are muppets - people decide not to queue and of course it's not selling at all. You can't have it both ways... wait for the actual sales figures Apple publish after the first weekend and then the first quarter sales.

    Suspect the iPad Air will sell extremely well.

    1. Robert Grant

      it's just become more like the iPhone; other than a bunch of weirdos who needwant to get the new one each time, most people will roll through the upgrade cycle every two or three years.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: most people will roll through the upgrade cycle

        except it's now every 3 to 5/7/9 years depending on tolerance levels.

        In fact it's scary to think that I'm still not thinking about replacing my hand-built desktop. I don't remember exactly what the date was on which I built it, but Vista had just been released and I mistakenly bought the 64-bit version (so I could address all the memory I was putting into the system) figuring I'd be building myself a gaming system that would last a few years. Turned out the gamers were still focused on 32-bit XP architecture. Even LOTR wouldn't load on my 64-bit system. Fortunately I dual installed 32-bit XP so it wasn't a total loss. But the Windows 7 partition is still serviceable for my uses. It turns out I'm not a big fan of MMOs after all, and they're pretty much the only call for a gaming rig.

  2. gerryg
    Pint

    iColytes

    Probably because it's Friday but your article inspired me to rework Desmond Dekker's classic

    Get up in the morning slaving for bread, sir

    So every month can buy ipad

    For me iColyte

    My wife an' my kids them a pack up an' a leave me

    Darlin' she said, "I was yours to be seen"

    For me iColyte

    Shirt dem a tear-up trousers a go

    I don't want to end up with money and Android

    For me iColyte

    After a storm there must be a queue

    You catch me with a 4 but the 5 is new

    poor-a- poor, for me iColyte

    Ima wondering working for hard

    A-poor, a-poor, a-poor, me iColyte

    I look a-down and out, sir

    poor-a-poor, for me iColyte

    yeah, sorry about that

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    100 people

    Surface 2 would have sold out.

  4. jai

    at just under 100 as Apple prepared to open its doors at 9am.

    well that's the problem right there, they opened at 8am

    you're missing an hour's worth of people

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Meh

      8am until 9am

      was spent in the nearest coffee shop, talking about the new iPad.

      And drinking latte.

  5. c-hri-s

    As an owner of some Apple kit (and and iPad 1 and iPad 2), as well as some Android kit (Nexus 4 phone) I sort of want a reason to upgrade .. but can't find one.

    I'm sat staring at my iPad 2 and never really worry it's not fast enough for what I want. Yes, the retina display is lovely when I look at my wife's iPad 3, but can I still read the screen? Yes.

    It's 33% lighter than then iPad 4, but remember the iPad 4 is heavier than the iPad 2 because of all the Retina stuff. Therefore the iPad Air is smaller than my 2, but not massively lighter.

    Grr.

    1. Mtech25
      Devil

      Wow logic in an el reg apple thread

      are you on the right website, because here you are either a die hard apple fan that believe Apple can do not wrong and all that buy iGadgets are the chose people, or a die hard anti-apple fan that believe that apple can do no right and all that buy iGadgets are harbingers of the apocalypses.

  6. Frank Bough

    Err, I was just in there...

    ...and the queue was massive.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Err, I was just in there...

      OK, the queue was massive. How many clerks did they have running the registers?

  7. William Donelson

    Not to mention resale value being quite amazing...

    My old WiFi-only iPad 3 selling on eBay now for £250 give or take some.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Meh

      rather-

      My old WiFi-only iPad 3 listed on eBay now for £250 give or take some.

      Free postage.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: rather-

        "My old WiFi-only iPad 3 listed on eBay now for £250 give or take some.

        Free postage."

        I endorse this advert. Great seller. Five stars. Would buy again from this seller.

  8. e8hffff

    Tim Cook doesn't know how to swoon the audience, come customers.

    Where's the innovation like a stylus. Where's the Apple Glasses. Where's the iWatch, etc.

    How is Apple improving the creators and designers interaction with devices and content creation!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gimmicks not needed

    Hmmm let me think!

    Stylus = palm pilot, ipaq, hp jornada and most importantly etch-a-sketch knock offs, stylaphone (see Rolf Harris)

    Glasses = Sega Master System, Nintendo Virtual Boy, Kodak slide thingy, X-Ray specs in the Beano

    Watches = Calculator watch, radio watch, camera watch, remote controller watch, all worn by t$%^$rs

    I want something that works properly all the time and doesn't suck me into a space/time void where 2 minute anticipated task actually takes 2 hours because of updates, crashes and conflicts.

    Like it or not iPad was a game changer and as with many "FRUITY" products the benefits are often realised after they first come out. If 64 bit is so awful I might be able to interest you in a Z80 processor or a Viglen 386 with a Cyrix math-coprocessor or a Penny Farthing.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Gimmicks not needed

      Indeed the iPad was a game changer. But the game has now changed. Now the iPad is similarly specc'd to many cheaper devices, and tablets are a commodity product. Now, the iPad is not really distinguishable from any other tablet.

      As for comments on getting work done, my £129 NookHD+ does everything I need, quickly and efficiently. It's never crashed and seems to update itself in the background without me noticing. I'd be hard pressed to say it was any worse or better than an iPad of whatever vintage.

      As for 64bit, you may get a slight performance increase in the right circumstances. But do tablets really need it? (Notwithstanding that, end of next year nearly everything will be 64 bit anyway due to marketing pressures, not because of any major advantage in using it)

    2. Darryl
      Gimp

      @AC 14:04 Re: Gimmicks not needed

      Yes, we know, they're all unneeded gimmicks. Until next year when Apple invents one or more of them, and then they'll be magical and innovative and never seen before, and Samsung will be accused of copying them.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: @AC 14:04 Gimmicks not needed

        Re the other devices.

        Apple may not 'invent' them but if past evidence is anything to go by, they will make those devices practical to use whereas their forbears may not have been.

        Whilst I agree with the fandroids that their kit is in the main overpriced they do have an infuriating knack of taking something and applying a lot of design and thought into making said item work at least halfway decently. Whereas those have came before may well have been slightly clunky and a PITA to use.

        I am writing this post on a late 2007 17in MBP (Core 2 Duo CPU, matte screen). It has lasted longer than any other laptop I have ever owned. Yes it cost a lot back then, but the fact that I use ut every day 6 years later say something for the way Apple make stuff. I bought a Dell Inspiron about a year earlier. It died a long time ago. That said, the Thinkpad T43P that I bought second hand still runs RHEL 6.4 very nicely.

  10. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Innovation never stops

    My back of a fag packet calculation shows that at this rate of innovation by the 15th October 2020 IPads will weigh 0 grams. After that they will include iAntiGravity(Patent Pending)

  11. alpine

    New technology

    The real problem is that there is no new technology applicable in their market area that Apple can pretend to have invented.

    What would change the world of course is a viable high definition, daylight readable, colour display technology capable of use in the whole range of display sizes. OLED still seems a bit stuck in a time warp. Something NEW is needed...

    The more I think about it, the more I realise I won't be buying any new phone/laptop/tablet until this occurs. All that we now have are annual minor performance increments.

    And of course I'll skip the silly watches and glasses entirely.

  12. Occams_Cat

    Temporary monopolies. I'd consider moving that Apple stock in the not too distant future.

  13. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Apple seem to think the cameras are much better in the new model. The weight saving seems a goal I can understand, if not understand the mania for. Thinness for its own sake would seem to be getting on a hiding to nowhere. Thinner=more fragile, no?

    Does buying the old model iPad make sense now? Is the price/quality of build ratio good? I can't tell from the buzz because of all the rabies infecting commentators.

    1. Martin
      Happy

      Re: Bah!

      "Apple seem to think the cameras are much better in the new model."

      Doesn't matter if the camera is better. You're still going to look like a prat when you take the photo.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        Yesyesyes, please get the shots next time. I agree that using an iPad as one's primary photographic capture device is as of now an amusing sight for onlookers, but then again, I still use a digital SLR and laugh at you dorks with your smartphoncams. I suspect in a few years you'll be less offended by slate wavers.

        To return to the question at hand, phrased so as to include your reservations: Would you look like a prat when teleconferencing with an iPad Air?

  14. csumpi
    Mushroom

    LOSERS

    If you camp out to buy anything other than bread, you are a freakin LOSER.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LOSERS

      My local supermarket has a good supply of bread so I don't need to camp out

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: LOSERS (@AC)

        But have you heard about the really amazing new bread they're getting in next Wednesday?

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: LOSERS

        The poster obviously wants to return to the final days of the USSR empire when all the shops were perpetually empty.

        Right on Comrade!

  15. W.O.Frobozz

    History repeats

    Hey I remember another company named after a fruit that kept on releasing marginally different versions of the exact same thing over and over again...

    Welcome to your Blackberry years, Apple. It's a pretty long fall from here.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: History repeats

      I think the difference is that BlackBerry were overtaken by technology — everyone else's products were much better while they ran around buying QNX and desperately trying to get BlackBerry 10 ready. The same isn't true of Apple. A majority of people prefer alternatives and there are a bunch of things Apple consciously disallows but you don't get the sense that they're technologically behind. They're just control freaks with very specific ideas of what a device should be.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pricey but worth it

    When the screen on my MacBook Air broke (cracked somehow) I was quoted around £380 by Apple to repair it because you have to replace the whole top unit of the laptop, I figured it made more sense to simply buy a new another laptop. That's the price you pay for making things thin and light.

    That said though, the MacBook Air is a great laptop and I think it's very good value for money, my previous Dell was plagued by overheating issues.

    I'm looking to get an iPad Air, but only because I currently have the 1st gen iPad and think it's time for an upgrade. The other person I know looking to get one is only buying it as it is her first iPad, she previously had a Galaxy Tab

  17. Rizzla

    No queue in Milton Keynes

    No trouble at all getting MK iPad Air 128GB this morning in MK. No queue mid-morning and no trouble with stock. 'Queue Here' barriers were in place but looked like some new piece of modern sculpture......standing all alone in the walkway.

    Replacing a very slow iPad 1st Gen. The improvement is significant, but at that price it damned well should be!

  18. Sampson

    What's Cynical?

    It's not cynical to make money by updating and selling an existing product. That's called business and businesses that don't do that aren't noble, they're stupid. I would suggest that a better example of cynical is framing every article about Apple in the same negative fashion with little insight into the nature of the business of making and selling hardware and software products. Part of the reason your Apple related articles seem so stale is that you probably wrote several dozen in advance and set up an automatic posting to occur whenever any bit of Apple news hits the inter webs. Here's a bit of insight for you. Magic doesn't happen every day. If it did, it wouldn't be magic.

  19. Neil Anderson

    "I remember old laptops, which used to break every year, so you needed to buy a new one...."

    Should have bought a Mac. I'm still using my 15-inch PowerBook purchased in 2001.

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