notes on interaction design

March 08, 2012

New iPad focuses on high definition, 4G

Apple had technophiles and casual observers alike buzzing yesterday when it announced the newest iteration of its iPad, which introduces a high-definition display and 4G-connectivity options to the hugely popular tablet.

One major change is the improved Retina Display for the new iPad, which will provide for higher-quality graphical user interface design. Improved display power means increased resolution in mobile application development, as well as better usability, as the interface will be cleaner and more precise. The new screen features a 2,048-by-1,536, 3.1-million pixel Retina Display – the highest pixel display ever for a mobile device, according to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of global marketing.

“The new iPad display has 44 percent greater color saturation than the iPad 2,” Schiller said at the release event, according to Mercury News. “Four times as many pixels on the new iPad display.”

This upgraded display may present a few challenges for developers though.

In order to make the most of the improved display, developers will need to increase the level of detail in GUI design. Ensuring that graphics are of the highest quality and that apps take advantage of the device’s improved capabilities will be very important. However, at the same time it is still vital to keep mobile application usability on older devices, such as the iPad 2 and Kindle Fire, in mind. If an app is completely optimized for the newest iPad but won’t work on less powerful mobile devices, a business risks alienating part of its client base.

As mobile devices, tablets in particular, are currently outselling traditional PCs, it has become important for developers and companies to accompany traditional websites with mobile apps. According to Cook, about 172 million “post-PC” devices were sold in 2011, and iPhone and iPad sales alone made up 76 percent of Apple’s revenue.

This newest version of Apple’s tablet will start at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, reaching $829 for the 64GB 4G model. The iPad will also feature Apple’s A5x quad-core processor, a 5-megapixel camera and 1080p HD video recording capabilities.

The new iPad will be released on Friday, March 16, which Apple is claiming as its biggest rollout to date. iPad 2 production will continue, with a price drop to $399 for the16GB Wi-Fi model.

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