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BW Businessworld

Refined And Redefined

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Call it what you will — the new iPad, the iPad 3, the new iPad 3, the iPad 2S — but there are two very immediate reactions when you see the 2012 iPad for the first time. One is … that not much has changed, visibly at least. It's looks remarkably like the iPad 2, only a tad heftier and thicker. You actually struggle to tell them apart when they're switched off.

The second is a … wow! From the moment I switched it on and saw the ultra-high resolution Retina display on the new iPad, I was amazed by just how good it was. Even if you've seen pictures or videos, you will have no idea how good this display is until you see it in person. But just how good is it, then? Think of the upgrade from an old CRT-based TV to watching a Blu-ray disc on a high definition LCD TV. Yes, that good.

So what does that 2048 x 1536 pixels translate into, besides being four times the pixels of the previous iPads and a full million pixels more than your average full-HD TV? The entire user experience is rendered to a higher definition, and it's particularly noticeable in pictures and when viewing text, and in apps that have been re-launched to suit the new display. Colors are not only brighter but more accurate as well.

It's also a little quicker, courtesy double the iPad 2's memory and Apple's new A5X processor that pushes graphics on the pixel rich display through a quad-core graphics processing unit (GPU) accompanying a dual-core CPU. Pushing all those extra pixels does mean the iPad runs a bit warmer than the iPad 2, but not enough to be an issue. Should you plan to use the iPad to shoot photos and videos, the updated 5-megapixel shooter offers similar (and at times better) performance to the iPhone 4's camera, which is pretty good.

There's a price one has to pay for all this clarity and resolution — storage. As apps get Retina-ready, they consume much more storage thanks to the high-resolution graphics, which means if you're app happy, a 16GB model just won't cut it.

For iPad 2 owners, this isn't that much of an upgrade, to be honest, and you could possibly stave off the purchase till the next iPad. However, if you're in the market for your first tablet, don't hesitate.

Rating: 8/10
Price: starts at Rs 30,500

Picking The Right Store
Google's long rumored cloud storage has finally arrived, and practically anyone with a Google account (and that's a lot of us!) can use Google Drive's cloud storage capabilities. Where does it stand though, against well entrenched players such as Microsoft Live SkyDrive and Dropbox? Let's look at free storage, to begin with. Drive offers 5 GB of free storage against Microsoft's 7GB, while Dropbox has the smallest initial offering at just 2GB – though if you refer enough folks, you could upto 18 GB free (500 MB per referral, good luck with getting enough folks to accept your referral at this late a stage in the game!).

When it comes to sharing capabilities, Google tightly integrates Drive into its Google Docs suite, and you can collaboratively work on a shared document with a friend/colleague, and all changes will be synced back to Drive. Sharing these as attachments via Gmail and Google+ is an option as well. Microsoft on the other hand lets you send links to files you've uploaded directly to your friends, and they don't need a SkyDrive account to access/download these files. Dropbox goes one step further and allows folder sharing but restricts editing/changes to these folders. Synching and sharing is possible via a capable set of desktop and mobile apps, though Google Drive's iOS app and Dropbox's Windows Phone app are noticeable in their absence.
At the end of the day, which cloud storage service should you opt for? Drive builds in Google Docs functionality, so you get a full-featured cloud document editing and collaboration suite in the bargain. SkyDrive offers more free storage initially and cheaper plans for those wishing to purchase a little more space, while Dropbox is probably still a nose ahead of the competition when it comes to polish and synching capabilities. 
URL: Google Drive:, Microsoft Live SkyDrive:, Dropbox:

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