We touched it. We caressed every bezel. The new iPad is a model of inspired industrial design, and its specs best the previous-generation iPad 2 in all the important areas. But while our hands-on time with the new iPad was admittedly brief today, we nonetheless left Apple’s demo room with an overwhelming sense of, well, “sameyness.”

Very little during our hands-on demo provoked a moment of jaw-dropping awe. The best tablet of 2011 is now undoubtedly better — but for Apple, is this good enough? If anything, we’ve been spoiled by the performance and finesse of Apple’s existing products. We’ve become inured to the company’s unique charms.

At first glance, the new iPad exudes familiarity — and not just because most of its features were telegraphed via leaks and rumors during the last four months. The new slate’s physical design is nearly identical to that of the iPad 2, and nothing about its Appley comportment screams, “I’m an entirely new tablet!” The home button remains intact, and all but one physical dimension remains the same.

It’s only when you hold the new iPad in your hands — and then turn on its screen — that you begin to notice two key differences.

The first is extremely subtle: The new tablet is thicker. Now, it’s true, you have to be an iPad 2 user to notice the difference, but this latest model really does look a bit pudgier in the flesh. From generation to generation, the tablet’s waist line has grown from 8.8mm to 9.44mm. Who knew such a small size differential could even be noticeable?

We didn’t find the new dimension to be a problem, mind you. During our 15-minute hands-on demo, the extra thickness had no bearing on useability — nor did the new tablet’s extra weight (the baseline Wi-Fi model has grown from 1.33 lbs to 1.44 lbs). But if you’re obsessed with industrial design aesthetics (or simply want to argue), you can take Apple to task for sliding just a wee bit backwards in the race to manufacture the slimmest, lightest mobile gear around.

The second key difference between the iPad 2 and “the new iPad” (come on, Apple, choose a name already) comes to light as soon as you turn on the screen. Packed with a 2048 x 1536 resolution, and pixel density of 264 pixels per inch, the new tablet’s so-called “Retina Display” is a sight to see.

It doesn’t boast the 326ppi spec of the iPhone 4 and 4S, but during our brief demo we couldn’t discern any difference in display quality between Apple’s best smartphones and newest tablet. This alone would seem to support the company’s overall promise that in a Retina Display, individual pixels melt into nothingness, leaving nothing but brilliant, near continuous-tone images in their wake.

To be sure, the new iPad’s display is drop-dead gorgeous, as well as notably bright. We scrutinized a bunch of high-resolution images pulled from Apple’s new iPhoto app, and found display quality on the new iPad to be sublime. Just one problem, though: All its brilliance notwithstanding, the iPad Retina Display didn’t show us anything that iPhone 4 and 4S users haven’t seen before.

Yes, the pixel density is world-class, but the Retina Display is no longer breath-taking the way it was when it was first introduced in June 2010. It’s a welcome addition to the iPad line, yes, but it no longer reeks of breakthrough technology.

It was much harder to evaluate other new features during our brief hands-on demo. The new iPad supports 4G data speeds, but demo units were locked down to Wi-Fi during Apple’s event, so we can’t comment on the 4G experience. And while we were able to snap images with the new iSight camera, we couldn’t evaluate resulting image quality against competing sensors (including the iPad 2’s).

As for the new A5x processor — which boasts dual-core CPU functionality, but a with quad-core graphics engine — we found performance in Safari web browsing and Infinity Blade Dungeons to be blissfully zippy. But, again, without some semblance of comparative testing, it’s difficult to comment on what performance bumps, if any, the new processor provides.

Only a full review will tell the complete story, so please stay tuned for our final, hands-on critique. For now, just enjoy our pretty iPad pictures.

Article courtesy of Jon Phillips at Gadget Lab: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/03/hands-on-with-apples-new-ipad/?pid=3032

Canon announced on 29 March that the ground-breaking EOS C300, the first model from the new Cinema EOS System, has met the standards the BBC requires from cameras tested to the EBU recommendation EBU R118. The approval allows both internal and external BBC production teams to use the EOS C300 for the production of a variety of programmes to be broadcast on the BBC’s range of HD channels.

The EOS C300 is the third professional camcorder from Canon to be approved by the BBC since the start of 2011, joining the XF305 and XF300 Full HD camcorders, which were approved for use in January last year.

“The EOS C300 has received a fantastic response since it launched in November last year, and we’re delighted it’s been approved for use by the BBC,” said Kieran Magee, Director of Professional Marketing at Canon Europe Ltd. “By utilising the expertise in our video, broadcast, DSLR and lens groups, we’ve created a unique product that offers exceptional creative scope for videographers of all kinds. Its quality and versatility make it ideal for a number of different shooting purposes, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the BBC puts it to use.”

A landmark model for Canon, the EOS C300 merges Canon’s heritage in sensor and lens design to create a compact, versatile camera that offers exceptional image quality alongside the flexibility to shoot in a wide range of different situations.

The EOS C300 offers a first-class specification including a newly-designed Super 35mm-equivalent CMOS sensor with approximately 8.29 million effective pixels. MPEG-2 Full HD (MPEG2 422@HL compliant) compression and 50 Mbps recording rate allows videographers to record directly to two CF memory cards, while 4:2:2 colour sampling provides enhanced gradation and finer detail, as well as reducing jagged edges at chroma edges.  

As part of the wider EOS System, the EOS C300 is immediately compatible with Canon’s collection of over 60 EF lenses – providing videographers with an unrivalled range of creative options. Canon has also used its unrivalled heritage in lens design to create a new line of EF Cinema Lenses that are specifically designed for video use, each of which delivers outstanding 4K optical performance and compatibility with the Super 35mm-equivalent format.

More information about the EOS C300 can be found here: http://www.canon.co.za/

Johannesburg, March 22, 2012 – HP recently unveiled a new design, multicore updates and increased expandability on its powerful, line of HP Z Workstations.

Engineered for the most demanding and compute-intensive visualisation needs, the HP Z820 is ideal for customers using oil and gas, computer-aided design (CAD), and engineering, medical or media and entertainment applications. The HP Z820 provides up to 16 processing cores, up to 512 GB of ECC memory, up to 14 terabytes (TB) of high-speed storage and up to dual NVIDIA Quadro 6000 graphics.

For quiet environments and minimal space consumption, the HP Z620 is a great choice for customers in financial services, video, animation, architecture and midrange CAD. Updated to support both single- and dual-socket processors, the powerful and versatile HP Z620 provides up to 16 processing cores, up to 96 GB of ECC memory, up to 11 TB of high-speed storage, and up to NVIDIA Quadro 6000 or dual NVIDIA Quadro 5000 graphics.

Engineered to meet mainstream computing and graphic needs for customers in product design, architecture, video  and image editing, the HP Z420 includes up to eight processing cores using the latest Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 and E5-2600 product families, providing up to 64 GB of ECC memory, up to 11 TB of high-speed storage, and up to NVIDIA Quadro 5000 or dual NVIDIA Quadro 2000 graphics.

The new workstations feature the latest eight-core Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 product family, offer up to 512 gigabytes (GB) of DDR3 memory, (1)and support multithreaded workstation applications that professionals rely on.

The latest additions to the industry-leading line of HP Z Workstations also feature third-generation PCI Express technology, providing customers increased performance and seamless integration of new graphics cards.

“As the workstation industry leader, HP continues to invest in technology that allows our customers to push the limits of innovation,” Kobi Elbaz, director, Commercial Solutions, HP Personal Systems Group EMEA. “Our investments in R&D and technology have led to workstations that meet and exceed the needs of the world’s most demanding customers.”

More cores for “megatasking”

The Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family allows for up to 16 physical cores in a single system and let 32 threads run at one time when using two processors, each with eight cores and Intel Hyper-Threading(2) Technology enabled. The new processors include Intel® vPro™ Technology,(3) integrated memory controllers and Intel Turbo Boost Technology. (4)

“HP Workstations based on our new Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family are helping workstation users fast track the way they create, test  and modify their innovative ideas” said Boyd Davis, vice president, Architecture Group, Intel.  “Our new Intel Xeon E5 processors combine an increase in computational capacity and proficiency with an optimized I/O infrastructure. These advanced capabilities enable professionals to quickly and efficiently interact with their models while concurrently executing simulations, renderings, ray tracing and modelling their ideas on their HP Workstations.”

The new HP Z Workstations include 90-percent-efficient power supplies – reducing both overall energy usage and the amount of waste heat released.

All HP Z Workstations offer BFR/PVC free configurations(5)and more than 90 percent recyclable by weight.

HP workstations are used by some of the world’s most demanding customers in industries such as graphic arts, broadcast, CAD, engineering, medical imaging, finance, and oil and gas exploration. Companies use HP workstations to design everything from running shoes to race cars, animated characters to deep-sea submersibles, and to manage everything from billions of dollars of tradable securities to mission-critical IT environments. 

More information about HP Workstations is available at www.hp.co.za/workstations. 

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