The new feeds and speeds: iPad vs. MacBook Air and iMac

At last year’s iPad 2 launch, I compared the specs of the newly announced iPad with those of a laptop and desktop from five years earlier. This year I am comparing the new iPad with Apple’s computers from four years earlier:

The new iPad now exceeds the total display resolution, has similar speed and storage capacity while having twice the battery life of the thinnest laptop of four years ago. It also has very high quality cameras and GPS and cellular network connectivity which have yet to appear on mainstream PCs. It’s still a lot smaller and half the price and has a larger selection of available software titles at prices a fraction of its elder cousin.

The only value that a desktop of 2008 has over a new iPad is the size of the screen and a larger hard drive.

The point is not so much that the usurper is a “better” computer but that it has come from non-existence to being a contender in two years. It is also narrowing the gap to its comparable ancestors by one year, every year. Arguably that gap now stands at four years.

  • Erick

    Slight correction: the original MacBook Air also has an accelerometer and an ambient light sensor.  Screen size is 13.3, if you’re reporting to 1 decimal place.

    • Joe_Winfield_IL

      Another nitpick – the A5x is quad core, not dual core.

      • Ian

        No, it’s not. The GPU is quad core, the CPU is dual core.

      • Nate

        That’s six cores!!!

      • Dual core CPU, quad-core graphics.

  • fumjusta

    Interesting. Following “Innovator’s Dilemma” the gap would be reduced further next year

  • gbonzo

    It would be nice if the “new iPhone” would have 3,9″ screen with 1024×768 resolution. That would increase the coherence of the ecosystem so that the pad resolution would be a multiple of the phone resolution. Those sizes and resolutions could be frozen until the appearance of folding screens when everything would be doubled.

    The other option would be to keep the current iPhone aspect ratio intact. Just somewhat increasíng the size and resolution of the screen.

    Keeping the next iPhone screen at 3.5″ is not an option.

    • Alan

      I see zero chance of the iPhone screen resolution or aspect ratio changing. The whole premise is to keep those locked down so the apps will work without rewriting or scaling the GUI. I don’t think compatibility between iPad and iPhone screen resolutions is important to Apple because they want iPad apps to be different from iPhone apps, not just scaled up versions of them.

      Evidence of this can be seen by running an iPhone app on an iPad 1 or iPad 2 (don’t know how the new iPad handles this yet): the iPhone app will be shown in something close to its actual size but at reduced resolution (480×320). Hitting the 2x button will increase the size but leaves the resolution at 480×320. So iPhone apps are DELIBERATELY made to look poor on an iPad screen to discourage app developers from just letting people use the iPhone version of their apps stretched out on the iPad screen. This is in stark contrast to Android.

      • Alan

        To clarify: The physical size of the screen might change, like you suggest, to 3.9″ or something, but the number of pixels (960×640) and the 3:2 aspect ratio will stay the same. Resolution is a somewhat ambiguous term since it’s commonly used to mean the inverse of the number of pixels per inch as well as  the total number of pixels.

    • jawbroken

      Why is it not an option? Do you see it hurting them thus far?

      • gbonzo

        Yes, I see it hurting them. The device might already sell better with a larger screen. See Google Insights for global interest and comScore January numbers (US market) for possible early signs. The situation will not improve without addressing this issue. It will get worse over time.

      • Robert

        Apple sells literally every iPhone and iPad they can build. It is physically impossible for them to sell more, no matter what screen size it has. So why on Earth do you believe they would cripple the iPhone with a larger screen?

      • gbonzo

        They increase their capacity based on demand estimates. This is not the same as “impossible for them to sell more”. If there would be higher demand, Apple could make bolder bets on capacity increases.

      • twilightmoon

        Supply constrained does not mean its trivial to increase their production levels to meet more demand.

        You would need more evidence to back up your assertion that Apple is electing not to build more iPhones due to demand estimates and lack of market capacity. Further your statement about the demand for the iPhone is directly related to its size and adversely effected by being too small is an often repeated belief without any evidence whatsoever.

        Do we have any market data at all suggesting the market popularity of Android based on screen size? Are more than 1/3 of all Android smartphones sold larger than the iPhone? How many units are we talking here?

      • gbonzo

        Year after year, polls like these result in larger and larger screen sizes as the current user preference:

      • twilightmoon

        Android site?

        First off, online polls are statistically meaningless since they do not and probably cannot, represent a random sample of the underlying population.

        Second, that poll shows the iPhone 3.5″ size as a 3% choice which is absurd given the sales figures for the iPhone in 11Q4, which single-handedly drove down Android marketshare in that quarter. Real world sales figures and marketing satisfaction surveys would be a better source of data, and less likely to be bias.

        They would indicate that poll to be nearly worthless, and patently false.

      • gbonzo

        I am talking about a trend: “Year after year, polls like these result in larger and larger screen sizes as the current user preference”.

        Forget the specific results of that one poll. Whether it said that the optimal size is 3.7″ or 4.5″. It does not matter. What matters is that there is a trend that users prefer larger and larger screen sizes.

        What you are saying is that Apple can stay still in this regard and it does not affect them in any way. I am saying that IF they stay still, it WILL affect them in a negative way.

      • jawbroken

        If I make a poll that asks if people want their phones to be more or less portable, what will the result be? If I ask if they would like to be able to use it with one hand sometimes or  have to use both?

        A product is built on a complex set of tradeoffs and you can’t just ask people about each aspect separately in a poll and then build a device that will meet every one of their desires. Often the things they want will be contradictory.

      • gbonzo

        I think I know what size of device fits to an average pocket. Or an average hand. I know the tradeoffs and I believe that the benefits far outweigh the tradeoffs. I do not think that the tradeoffs were unclear to the poll respondents either. Thinking so assumes the stupidity of the respondents.

        I believe that Apple will address this issue before it becomes a larger problem. I believe that the next iPhone has a larger screen.
        I also believe that if that happens, both of you will suddenly agree with me: the new larger size is better than the old smaller size.

      • jawbroken

        The people responding to the poll likely haven’t had phones in more than one or two of these sizes, why would I presume they had a nuanced view of the tradeoffs and why would assuming they didn’t imply stupidity?

        Not even going to addressyour latter assertion because it’s just sniping.

      • twilightmoon

        I don’t disagree with the assertion that some people like larger screens. I simply disagree that it’s a substantial portion of the people who buy phones.It might be a large number of people who post on Androidfan sites, but that is not the same thing.

        If you show me evidence that they sell substantially better, then we can discuss that evidence. Lackingthat hard and unbias evidence, we’re just farting into the wind.

      • Engineering is a process of deciding what to compromise. Consumers should not be asked to do engineering. They hire product companies to do that for them.

      • gbonzo

        I agree 100%. Consumers do not know what they want until they have tried the choices themselves.

        But the point is: there IS a trend towardslarger screens. Ignoring such an important trend is asking to be disrupted. Apple will not make that mistake.

      • twilightmoon

        You can’t base a “trend” off of polls on Android centric sites. A tiny fraction of the population goes to Android or iPhone/Apple sites, so they do not make up a statistically significant or relevant portion of the overall population.

        The only trends that matter are sales, and large sample customer satisfaction surveys conducted by credible organizations.

        If you can find any sales data that clearly shows a preference for larger screen phones, post that. At least we’ll be talking about something that goes beyond the closed circle mentality of tech addicts who generally think too highly of their opinion.

      • gbonzo

        Some “Android centric site” again, huh? 

        Hey wait, it’s an actual survey involving real people and prototype devices!

      • Henry Ford said that when he asked people what they wanted, they all said a faster horse. During the BlackBerry era I was shown surveys that users would not buy any smartphone without a plastic keyboard. What consumers will buy and what they say they want are two entirely different things. In fact, a principal objective for a designer should be to understand what people want in spite of what they say they want. Steve Jobs had a twist on his idea when he said “it’s not the consumer’s job to know what they want”. I would add that the consumer hires the company to tell them what they want. And they will pay a premium if what they are told differs significantly from what they thought they wanted.

      • jawbroken

        I don’t think an online poll, even if it accurately reflected the opinions of the population in general, is a good indication of what products should be built or shows a deep understanding of the tradeoffs involved. I’m sure poll data would show that the iPhone should cost half as much as it does, but I don’t think people would be happy with the hardware quality at that price point.

      • r00fus

        I thought the same until I got my 4S.  Now I’m appreciative of the screen quality and size… the Galaxy SII may be thinner, lighter and have a larger display, but text is harder to read and websites aren’t as crisp… and my iPhone is smaller and a good weight.

      • jawbroken

        Not sure exactly what data you are referring to that shows an iPhone with a larger screen would sell better, care to link it and explain? No idea how to get this from “Google Insights”.

    • James Scariati

      I’ve always held the opinion that Apple would never change the dimensions of the iPhone’s screen, but that’s a really interesting idea. 1024 x 768 on a 3.9″ display yields the same PPI as 960 x 640 on the current 3.5″ display.

      So they’d only have to enlarge the display by 0.4″ (not at all like these goofy 5″ Android phones) and then everything across the iPhone and iPad would be even multiples of 1x (iPhone 4/4S/5), 2x (iPad 2 and earlier), 4x (iPad 3).That’s the first convincing argument I’ve heard for enlarging the iPhone’s display.

      • jawbroken

        Doesn’t really seem worth it for an extra 0.4″ and I don’t know what having the same resolution as an iPad 2 buys you when you need to redesign your app anyway so it’s not comically large or small on one or the other.

  • Walt French

    Striking that Moore’s Law seems to be kicking butt at Apple, Inc., while you have to search for its pulse in the PC/Windows ecosystem, where it was first realized.

    This invites the analogy that “Disruptive Innovation” is mostly another name for the “Punctuated Equilibrium” understanding of Evolution.

    • RobDK

      Walt, care to explain what ‘punctuated equilibrium’ is?!

      • Walt French

        I can’t do any better than Wikipedia’s entry. Use the Force, Luke!

      • r00fus

        Summary: stepwise function (n-dimensional) as opposed to a continuum of movement… disruptive innovation can’t be “gradual”, in order for it to “take” it needs to be significantly better (in terms of the fitness function) than the competition.

    • twilightmoon

      Recently someone at Apple, I believe it was Tim Cook, said that Apple was the only company still innovating in the PC space. That might be a little harsh, but I don’t think it’s far from the truth. The economy has been in the dumper world wide for about 4 years. In that time Apple has created the App Store, the iPad, iCloud, iOS, the iPhone and iPod touch, Apple TV and introduced unibody aluminum notebooks and thunderbolt.

      The MacBook Air completely hard drive and optical drive free super thin notebook with good battery life happened, also.

      During that time what did Google, Microsoft, intel, Dell, HP, Nokia and Sony do? If you remove any actions that were related to copying Apples ideas, what do you have left? Feel free to add as many computer and technology companies you want if I missed any.

  • No reasonable person could look at those charts and argue that the iPad was not a personal computer. But who cares? Only a fool would make that contention that anyway.
    I want to take a moment here to warn this august body of a trap that some are falling into. Many tablet advocates are contending that, as technology advances and tablets become more powerful, the tablet will become more and more like the traditional notebook or desktop PC. Nothing could be further from the truth.The tablet has four attributes that, when combined, make it unique and uniquely useful – simplicity, touch, portability and screen size (larger than a phone, large enough to view like a notebook). The combination of these features makes the tablet far MORE powerful than the notebook for doing certain tasks. Tim Cook rattled off some of these tasks starting at the 19:15 mark of yesterday’s iPad presentation. When given a choice between a phone, a tablet and a notebook, people choose the tablet for e-mail, browsing the web, e-reading and gaming. That list will only grow over time.If you want to see an example of why the tablet does not want to be a notebook, watch the iPhoto demonstration starting at the 102:15 mark of yesterday’s iPad presentation. The iPhoto tools are not always as powerful as the editing tools available on a notebook but they are almost always faster and easier to use. This is directly analogous to most every iPad specific App. The iPad does not always do everything but, more often than not, it does everything you need and it does it faster and easier too.A little metaphor to solidify my point. The tablet does not aspire to be a notebook computer anymore than the fork aspires to be a knife.

    “Before the fork was introduced, Westerners were reliant on the spoon and knife as the only eating utensils. People would largely eat food with their hands, calling for a common spoon when required. Members of the aristocracy would sometimes be accustomed to manners considered more proper and hold two knives at meals and use them both to cut and transfer food to the mouth, using the spoon for soups and broth.”-Wikipedia

    The spoon, the fork and the knife are three different categories of cutlery. The smart phone, the tablet and the notebook are three different categories of computer. The fork does not replace the knife. Sometimes it compliments the knife. Sometimes it is used on its own. But always it is used when it is most useful. The tablet does not replace the notebook. Sometimes it compliments the notebook. Sometimes it is used on its own. But always it is used when it is most useful.

    So remember, if you run across anyone who still insists on arguing that the tablet will never replace the notebook, you can always just tell them to go fork themselves.

    • huxley

      The original PC wasn’t a workstation or a minicomputer, nor was it a mainframe, but eventually it swallowed up most of the market for those as it’s abilities expanded.

    • Sacto_Joe

      …and then there’s the “spork”….

  • clodoaldo

    Well, it’s an interesting discussion, but I think you’re slightly over-egging your pudding here, Horace.

    “The only value that a desktop of 2008 has over a new iPad is the size of the screen and a larger HD.”  But note that the “larger HD” is larger by a factor of (all but) 4.  And under the heading of “environmental sensors”, what about the ability to sense that wide range of devices in the environment that happen to be equipped with a USB or Firewire connector?  Unlike the iPad the MBA, if not the iPad, had an integrated keyboard.  And can’t those Macs drive second monitors?  (I’m assuming that’s so for those models — to be honest I can’t remember.)

    Are you able to explain what led you to omit the most natural 2008 point of comparison with the iPad, namely the MacBook Pro?  Yes, the MBA is thin like an iPad, but the whole point about it was that the thinness was achieved only by sacrificing power/capacity on most other metrics — memory/HD capacity, CPU power etc.  If you substituted a 2008 MBP for the 2008 MBA the iPad numbers compare less impressively — except on weight of course.

    Another point: those Macs had what is, at least arguably, a more capable OS.

    In case the above gives the contrary impression, I really don’t have a dog in this fight: I like and admire the iPad as a product and think the new one looks impressive — but are you sure that in this post you’re not drifting towards advocacy and the unacknowledged biases that go with it?

    • “Another point: those Macs had what is, at least arguably, a more capable OS.”-Clodoaldo

      I would dispute that remark. More capable for a notebook or desktop. Far less capable for a tablet.

      Powerful is not the same as capable. A tank may have a more powerful engine. But I wouldn’t want it to power my car.

    • jawbroken

      Not sure why the MacBook Pro would be a more apt or natural comparison just because it is more powerful. The MacBook Air is already significantly less portable than an iPad (which isn’t really detailed in the chart, perhaps a size/volume and weight field would be a good addition). Is your assertion that an iPad doesn’t sacrifice any power and capacity to achieve thinness and portability?

      • clodoaldo

        Not “just because it is more powerful” but because it was the mainstream portable device of the time.  At that time the MBA was one of Apple’s interesting outlier types of product — the kind of thing that might be bought, for example, by people who wouldn’t be seen dead with a netbook.

        But I doubt this apples-vs-oranges, trucks-vs-cars, yin-vs-yang, etc. discussion is worth pursuing much further.

  • Ahartman

    I can type a full page report into a document at 40 wpm on a laptop, highlight 3 separated columns in a spreadsheet for a chart, copy and paste same into the document and email same to my colleague in about 2 minutes for all the above. Try that on your ipad in anything approaching that speed. Tablet typing is a single finger hunt and peck and autocorrect affair, highlighting an adventure in unintended selections, and email attachments a puzzle. I’m a huge fan of tablets, but they have a long way to go before I dump my laptop.

    • Mlemoin

      So use a bluetooth keyboard with the iPad. It supports that.

    • OpenMinde

      You need a truck, not a car. Use the tools fit jobs.

    • There is a video of someone typing 81 wpm on the original iPad (more than twice as fast as you can type on your laptop keyboard*) on flairify’s blog.

      Check it out at:

      * It’s not the hardware that controls how fast you can type. It’s the skill of the typist 😉

    • -I can ride my dirt bike on park trails. Try doing that with your car.

      -I can drive a nail with my hammer. Try doing that with your screwdriver.

      Foolish comparisons? Not any more foolish than the one you just postulated.

      You pick the proper tool for the job. If you’re doing extensive text editing, use a notebook/desktop. If you’re walking from room to room, consulting with patients, use a tablet. 

      Stop trying to compare the tablet to the traditional PC and start trying to compare the tablet to the job it is being hired to do. Once you do that, the inappropriate comparisons fall away and the answers start to become pretty obvious.

      • twilightmoon

        Perhaps if you confine to editing, then yes. Touchscreen editing is still a pain compared to a laptop or desktop Mac or PC, but as pure input the iPad might be better as it is single focused and there are no distractions.

        The hunt and peck comment assumes no use of a keyboard. The original iPad worked with wireless and directly connected keyboards.

    • KirkBurgess

      Just wait – once Siri is fully integrated into Apps, the above will be much easier to to with a combination of touch+voice, than it ever was with a keybaord & mouse.

    • JohnDoey

      > I can type a full page report into a document at 40 wpm on a laptop

      Most people who can type can do the same exact thing on the iPad screen. Everybody who can type can do the same exact thing on any Bluetooth or USB keyboard they prefer.

      > highlight 3 separated columns in a spreadsheet for a chart, copy and paste
      > same into the document and email same to my colleague

      Works on iPad.

      > in about 2 minutes for all the above
      > Try that on your ipad in anything approaching that speed.
      It’s the same or faster on iPad. You would only have to use 2 apps on iPad: Pages and Numbers. You would not even have to use an email app.> Tablet typing… was an issue in 2007. People have long since gotten over it because tablet typing turns out to be good enough for 90% of humanity. And the other 10% already knows how to pair a Bluetooth keyboard.Now, I have questions for you:

      • what do you do in hour 5, hour 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, of the day? do you have 2 laptops? or do you chain yourself to a desk? if you’re chained to a desk and I’m out in the world with my iPad, then I’m going to drink your milkshake

      • how do you work on photos? how do you mask a background out of a photograph? do you have a Wacom tablet, or do you just hammer away at the photo with the mouse, which takes about 10,000% of the time it would on an iPad

      • how to you do maps? do you print them onto paper and carry them around? or do you just make do with the mini-maps on a phone?

      • how do you read books? you might not have heard, but the paper publishing business lost 90% of its size between 2000 and 2008 and then in 2009 it collapsed altogether … we published more books in 1990-1999 than we did from 2000-2009 … unless you are going to quit reading books and magazines, you’ll need to get a screen for them

      • what do you use at meetings? do you put your laptop up like a wall, or do you switch to paper at that point and make a bunch of data entry work for yourself later?

      • how do you carry your laptop with you at all times? do you have a special bag for it? an iPad fits in a purse or anywhere a magazine goes — what are you running? 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x the size and weight of an iPad?

      Me, I think pairing a keyboard with an iPad is a lot easier than doing maps with a laptop or reading a book on a laptop or doing photos with a laptop, or carrying a laptop with you everywhere you go.

      If you’re not carrying your computer with you everywhere you go, and you’re not doing maps, and you’re not reading books, and you’re not editing photos with touch, then you are not doing 20-teens computing, you’re doing 1990’s computing. Of course you will feel more comfortable with a 1990’s computer. But that is not true of most people and that is why iPad has already outsold the desktop PC and is coming for the laptop this year.

      • play4keeps

        you are very knowledgable. Thank you for your content.

    • 40 wpm on a hardware keyboard. That’s cute.

  • A couple of observations:

    Steve Jobs once described the difference between “post-PC” devices and PCs as the difference between trucks and cars, which I think is still appropriate — they are related devices sharing a lot of common technology, but with rather different use cases and performance metrics

    On a more technical note, I would be very reluctant to compare the ARM CPUs of the iPads with the Intel x86 CPUs of the Macs — raw clock speed is far from the most important factor here. In particular, I suspect the memory performance of the mobile CPUs is very different than that of the Intel-based designs, and may account for a couple powers of two in effective performance. The Intel CPUs are also much more complex, and contain a lot of performance-boosting features not found in the ARMs, though I’m not sure how much practical impact this has.

    Of course, the main issue is whether the iPad’s CPU is good enough for the tasks it’s typically asked to do; most users aren’t going to demand it run Photoshop filters on gigabytes of high-res pixels on an iPad. Yet….

    Probably the biggest performance demand in the iPad’s current use-case is from gaming.  I don’t think even the new iPad’s graphics unit is close yet to the early iMacs with discrete graphics units, though it may be comparable to, or better than, the awful Intel integrated graphics in some of the low-end Macs of the comparison period. I don’t expect to see World of Warcraft running on an iPad yet. But for casual gaming and controlled-environment (i.e. single-user, possibly on rails) 3D titles, it’s probably good enough.

    • JohnDoey

      iPad is FAST. That is a key thing you have to remember as soon as you start reaching for the benchmarks. Nobody ever picked up an iPad and complained it was slow. It feels MUCH faster than a Mac or PC. You can go through a 20-step workflow on an iPad before you get 5 steps through it on a Mac Pro with 16 cores because the user is the slowest thing and iPad speeds them up with 11 points of touch instead of 1.

      Photo filters don’t run on the CPU, they run on the GPU. iPad is really, really good at running photo filters. Photo filters also require some kind of touch so you can mask out areas or select areas to filter. So unless the user has a Wacom tablet on their Mac, they are better on iPad even if their iPad filters crunch numbers more slowly when measured with tools.
      I’m an expert Photoshop user for many years, and that is the only reason I still use Photoshop. I have art and airbrush skills and know all the key commands and can just fly around in there. If you can’t do that, you should not be using Photoshop today. You should be using an iPad. You’ll make 2-10x more work output on the iPad (or do the same work in a small fraction of the time) and it will be better work.

      I used to do Photoshop training and it would be 1 artist and 9 people who had a need to edit photos and Photoshop was the only thing so they were sent off to Photoshop school like a punishment. Only the artist should still be in Photoshop training, and I would make sure he had seen an iPad before we started, just in case. The other 9 should all be on iPads. The fact that there are I-T people will tell you that is not true only proves I am 100% correct.

      I think the key thing in this comparison is to look at the apps these systems shipped with:

      • 2008 iMac — Darwin, Spotlight, Software Update, Safari, Mail, Contacts, Calendar, iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, and optional Keynote, Pages, Numbers for a few dollars more

      • 2012 iPad — Darwin, Spotlight, Software Update, Safari, Mail, Contacts, Calendar, iTunes, and optional iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages, Numbers for a few dollars more

      … if these devices are not hired for the same tasks, why are they running all the same apps?

      Plus there is the AirPort base station configuration app which was only on Mac in 2008 and now is on iPad in 2012 as well.

      In 3rd party apps, there are many examples, too.

      We also have to remember that to most users, if a device shows them a full-size Web browser, it’s a PC. Most users do not know a PC even *has* insides, never mind taking an interest in them. The less that’s said about that, the better in every way.

      If Best Buy removed all the specs in their store, they would sell MORE devices. There is an old maxim that the only purpose of a retail price is to make the customer feel good. In the 1980’s, that was true of specs, too. Today, specs just make the customer feel stupid, because they are not computer enthusiasts, they are everyday people from all walks of life. Specs are what the salesperson uses to take advantage of you.

  • Xtra

    Love Falkirk’s cutlery analogy.
    Maybe even better than Steve Jobs’s “PC as truck” metaphor.I’m also down with the idea that pad  / tablet units will soon outstrip laptops, and even laptops + desktops combined.  As Tim noted, the iPad is just too darned good at too many necessities of life (e-mail, surfing, etc).But Horace was probably gilding the lily — if not jumping the shark –with this assertion:  “The only value that a desktop of 2008 has over a new iPad is the size of the screen and a larger hard drive.”

    As a writer, I for one am even more attached to my mouse than to a physical keyboard.

    RELATED QUESTION:  are there any iPad word processing programs that accommodate bluetooth mice?

    • Trying to use a mouse with an iPad is like trying to use punchcards instead of a keyboard with a notebook computer.

      Both would be counter-productive.

      However, for those who enjoy living in the past, and just view the iPad as a laptop without a keyboard and mouse, there are cases that come with keyboard and trackpads built-in…

      … but they really defeat the benefits of having an iPad in the first place.

      • r00fus

        It can pair with a bluetooth keyboard, but not a mouse (understandable – multitouch mice are non-existant and wouldn’t make sense anyway)

        Apple is going to do an end-around the input issue by going voice with Siri… and going big.  I look forward to strong improvement on that front.

      • huxley

        Apple’s Magic Mouse is multitouch. Microsoft makes one too.

    • JohnDoey

      I’m a writer also. You missed a key point about writing on iPad.

      Writers who are using iPads are not using them like Macs (or Mac clones,) they are using them like typewriters. A writer with an iPad is exactly the same as a writer with a typewriter or a filmmaker with a movie camera or a singer with a microphone. Those are capture devices, not editing devices. You just write, shoot, or sing with as few interruptions and as little technical overhead as possible.

      A Mac is a production system, an editing system. A mouse is an editing device. That is the opposite of a capture system like iPad or a typewriter or a camera or a microphone.

      In the past, writers had to either write directly into the Mac production system or use a typewriter and become good at OCR scanning because there were no digital typewriters. Now there are.

      So you have the option today of either continuing to write with digital production tools on a Mac or you can write with digital writing tools on iPad, or you can do a mix of both. What you can’t do is turn an iPad into a production system. That is the last thing it wants to be. It deliberately left the OS X production tools behind on the Mac in the same way that iPod left its music management tools back on the Mac. If you need a mouse, you use it on your Mac. We already had that. If you need a typewriter, now you can get one on an iPad instead of having to buy the whole dedicated device, and the iPad version is digital same as iPad cameras and musical instruments are digital, so it is easy to move work from your iPad typewriter to your Mac for production and editing.

      • oomu

        I disagree.

        you can edit text on an iPad. you can use a physical keyboard if you want to type fast, you can edit, merge documents, correct mistake, change pages, reorganize and others things.

        I used Pages to do pretty complex documents, maintain them and edit them over time.

        for movies, and others things : huge needs (very heavy documents, high definition one, and all) will of course need powerful hardware with highly professional and complex software with decade of industrial support behind them. ipad is not there yet, 10″ can be fitting for everything.

        still, mouse was a “toy”, 30 years ago.

        you can imagine a whole computing industry reinvented with ipad foundations.

      • Oliver

        It’s quite a pain to scroll through really large documents of several hundred pages with the touch interface, but quite easy using a mouse and a scroll bar. Try to look at two documents at the same time or, behold, have two views on one document on your iPad.

      • Multi-touch plus gesture offers the opportunity to do what you ask for a lot more quickly than with a mouse. See the following concept:

      • Secular_Investor

        Apple should buy the patent/company before any of the competition do!

      • jl05xi


        I couldn’t design a multi-page RFP on an iPad like I would on my MBP. I need to type-set, I need to add photos and resize them, throw a large typeface in there over the image and perhaps lay out the book to print double sided. 

        What about when I need to create a gradient heavy, manipulated-photograph banner at 150×368 pixels for web, then upload it to an ftp? How do I do that on an iPad?

        Trust me, it’s not the same.

    • Onafunjourney

      I am a writer and I prefer the iPad experience.

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  • Pablocarlier

    iCloud and iTunes Match make the hard drive advantage almost irrelevant.

    Also, A5X is dual core CPU, but quad core GPU.

  • Does the new iPad simply being named “iPad” signify that it’s now “good enough?”

    • It could signify, like the MB Air, MB Pro line etc., that there could be future additions to the iPad line.

    • JohnDoey

      2 out of the 3 iPad models were named “iPad.” The iPad 2 was the exception, not the rule.

    • Why would it?

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  • JohnDoey

    If my house burned down and I lost everything, I would go to the mall and buy some jeans and shirts at Gap, an iPhone and iPad from Apple, and start rebuilding. That is the basics, right there. You can rule the world with that setup. The only reason to get any other thing is if you specifically need to run a Mac app like Xcode or Logic or Photoshop. I can’t see a single reason why a user would invest in any other platforms other than iOS and OS X right now. The Android app platform is stuck in 2006 and on phones only and the Windows app platform is moribund and the Metro app platform does it exist yet.

  • BoydWaters

    # Notes on 2012 iPad Performance

    I’ve been following CPU performance of these “post-PC” iOS devices rather closely, and I would NOT compare the new iPad to a 2008 iMac.

     From a raw CPU perspective, a quad-core (CPU, not GPU) A15 may on par with a 2008 Core 2 Duo, but Walter is quite right in pointing out that memory bandwidth is severely constrained on every ARM-based SoC out there, versus any comparable Intel part.

    Running something like VMWare on the new iPad would be almost unusable, whereas a 2008 iMac works fine. But it’s hard to ignore memory in even hypothetical comparisons like this.

    Then there’s software… I’ve been running SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks on the various devices. Very recent advances in JavaScript implementations absolutely swamp CPU performance here.


    Of course, I can run the SunSpider benchmark on my iPhone, but it takes a *long* time.

    Anyhow, here goes:

    * Mochi (iMac early 2008, 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo, 5GB 667 MHz DDR2 RAM, OSX 10.7.3)
       – Safari 5.1.3
           + 361.0 ms +/- 2.6%
    * mbp15 (Macbook Pro 1,1 Feb 2006 – 2.16 GHz Core Duo, 2GB 667 DDR2 RAM, OSX 10.6.8)
       – Chrome 18.0.1025.3 dev
           + 970.4 ms +/- 2.1%
       – Safari 5.1.2 (6534.52.7)
           + 1197.6ms +/- 9.2% (this seemed to take 10x as long to run)
       – Safari 5.1.4
           + 970.4 ms +/- 2.1%
    * iPad 2 (iOS 5.1_dp2)
       – Safari 5.1
           + 1720 ms
    * Qualcomm MDP MSM8960 (Android ICS 4.0.1)
       – Default Webkit
           + 1532 ms
    * iPhone 2G (iOS 3.1.3)
       – Safari
           + 52363 ms
    * hinayana (Mac Mini 1.4GHz, PowerPC G4e 7450)
       – TenFourFox7450 10.0.2
           + 1928.1 ms +/- 17.9%
       – OmniWeb 5.11.1
           + 5867.2 ms +/- 0.3%
       – Safari 5.0.6 (5533.22.3)
           + 3309.6 ms +/- 3.8%

    The results are somewhat shocking: while the iPad 2 is 1/4 of the speed of the desktop iMac, the iPhone 2G lags its iOS sibling not by that same 1/4, but *1/40* — **forty times slower** than the iPad.

    • JohnDoey

      I don’t think he was comparing the raw speed of the CPU. That is not the point. Nobody cares if they are the same raw speed, because those components are just one tiny part of 2 radically different complex systems. In fact, if we were to do a bunch of benchmarks on Core 2 Duo and A5X and they were the same in any way at all, that would be astounding.
      The point of this comparison is that iMac with Core 2 Duo runs Darwin, iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, Safari, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and iPad with A5X runs Darwin, iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand, Safari, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Keynote, Pages, Numbers. That is the extent of it. Then we can see that it costs a lot less and you get a lot more mobility and battery life to run those apps today than it did in 2008.

      Also, if you were really comparing the speed of a 2008 iMac to a new iPad, you’d have to take into account that most users are 2x faster on touch than mouse.

      • BoydWaters

        I think that we agree here.

        The CPU hardware on the iPad is *almost* comparable to the 2008 iMac. But the software just nails it: I added my SunSpider numbers to make the point that, if anything, the new iPad will feel *faster* out of the box than the iMac did just four years ago.

        That’s a big deal.

      • “That’s a big deal.” 

        Couldn’t agree more. Well said 🙂

  • Again, why is your table a picture?

    Can’t you mark up a table in HTML?

  • Davel

    I don’t think you can compare ARM to x86

    CPU clock speed is not comparable. If you want to do comparison. Either have the same program running and compare the time to complete the work or have standard tests like linpack and compare the results.

    Otherwise this is a nice comparison.

    • Eeskam

      “CPU clock speed is not compareble”

      So? For the programs I run on it, my new iPad is fast and responsive. In that matter the iPad is comparable – the *experience* is comparable. Indeed, in many areas it’s better – but not all.

      Apple’s succes is in providing a good experience, not good spec sheets or synthetic benchmarks….

    • Eeskam

      “CPU clock speed is not compareble”

      So? For the programs I run on it, my new iPad is fast and responsive. In that matter the iPad is comparable – the *experience* is comparable. Indeed, in many areas it’s better – but not all.

      Apple’s succes is in providing a good experience, not good spec sheets or synthetic benchmarks….

    • Eeskam

      “CPU clock speed is not compareble”

      So? For the programs I run on it, my new iPad is fast and responsive. In that matter the iPad is comparable – the *experience* is comparable. Indeed, in many areas it’s better – but not all.

      Apple’s succes is in providing a good experience, not good spec sheets or synthetic benchmarks….

    • Eeskam

      “CPU clock speed is not compareble”

      So? For the programs I run on it, my new iPad is fast and responsive. In that matter the iPad is comparable – the *experience* is comparable. Indeed, in many areas it’s better – but not all.

      Apple’s succes is in providing a good experience, not good spec sheets or synthetic benchmarks….

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    Two things: First, not sure why the old MBA was used in this comparison – not that it matters in the grand scheme of things, but just odd. Two, if the new iPad supported Microsoft Office, I would have purchased it in lieu of a MBA. No Pages, no other substitute: Office. You get Office, you will get a lot of people using iPad only. Period. 

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  • Marcene Wilhoit

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