Apple is prone to pointing out the faults of its competitors during product keynotes. Wednesday's launch of the next-generation iPad was no different, and its remarks earned Apple the ire of those who were called out.
First up, Samsung. Apple picked on Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1. It compared the Android Twitter application as realized on the Tab 10.1 to the Twitter app for the iPad. Apple said that Twitter for the Tab 10.1 looks like a blown-up smartphone app, and that the text is too tiny. This is essentially the truth. There's one version of Twitter that runs/looks the same on all Android devices. It actually *is* a smartphone app that can adjust to other form factors, such as tablets. The text is small, but can be adjusted via the settings tools.
Apple crowed about how Twitter on the iPad looks gorgeous, is optimized for the screen, and offers a better overall experience. It's true that Twitter for the iPad is a really good application. In fact, it is one of my favorites. However, Apple forgets to mention that Twitter created a single application that is dedicated to the iPad. If Twitter created a customized application for the Tab 10.1, you can be sure the experience would improve.
[ iPads aren't the right tool for every business. Read iPads Don't Work For These SMBs. ]
Were Apple's comments fair? Not really. Despite the fact that Twitter for the iPad is superior to Twitter on Android tablets, it's not, strictly speaking, an Apple-to-apples comparison.
How did Samsung respond? Soon after the keynote ended, Samsung Mobile's PR chief in the U.S. sent an email to journalists pointing out what the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (its new tablet, which comes with a stylus, er, the S-Pen) can do compared to the new iPad.
What can the Note do that the iPad cannot? The Note can: view and work with two apps at the same time; cut-and-paste content between two apps side-by-side; take notes in one app while viewing content in another app; and edit and write with high levels of precision thanks to the S-Pen. The new iPad does none of these. Samsung also brags about the Note's lighter and thinner form factor, USB device support, and expandable storage options.
Fair enough. It's true, the S-Pen lets Note 10.1 owners do these things. Feel free to come up with your own list of things the iPad can do that the Note 10.1 cannot.
So what about Nvidia? At one point during its presentation, Apple showed a comparison of how well the new A5X SoC performs compared to other competing processors. One of the processors benchmarked by Apple was Nvidia's Tegra 3 processor, the quad-core monster that also has separate GPUs. The chart shown by Apple claimed that the A5X is four times faster than the Tegra 3.
Nvidia wants Apple to prove it.
Speaking to ZDNet, Nvidia spokesperson Ken Brown said that the company was flattered by Apple's attention on the Tegra 3, but the company wants to see the detailed results achieved by Apple in its tests.
"We don't have the benchmark information," said Brown to ZDNet. "We have to understand what the application was that was used. Was it one or a variety of applications? What drivers were used? There are so many issues to get into with benchmark."
Will Apple reveal how it came by its results? Bah, I doubt it.
In my experience, pre-production devices with a Tegra 3 processor on board were among the fastest I've ever used. I haven't had a chance to play with the new iPad yet, but I am sure once it lands in reviewers hands, it will be benchmarked to death.