New iPad vs iPad 2: App launching and web rendering speed test

The new iPad has a dual core Apple A5X processor with quad core graphics, compared to a dual core Apple A5 processor with only dual core graphics in the older iPad 2. The new iPad also has twice the RAM as the old iPad 2, a full 1GB as opposed to 512MB. However, the new iPad also needs to throw around 4 times as many pixels as the old iPad 2 -- 2048 x 1536 as opposed to 1024 x 768. How does that all net out when it comes to launching amazing, Retina-ready apps like Infinity Blade II and Tweetbot, and web sites like iMore, The New York Times and the Sun Spider benchmark?

First up we launched Infinity Blade II on both the new iPad and the iPad 2, and while there's no doubt the A5X quad-core GPU will make for better gaming eventually, when it comes to raw launch tests, the results were pretty even. They both smoked the original, first generation iPad, but were fairly close to each other.

The same thing happened with Tweetbot, even though on the new iPad it had to move a much, much larger PNG file around.

When it came to loading up on the Safari browser, the mostly CPU-intesive activities, namely the WebKit HTML5 rendering engine and the Nitro JavaScript Engine seemed to be neck-and-neck for the most part. The same was true for the New York Times site.

To make sure, we ran both browsers through WebKit's SunSpider JavaScript benchmark as well, and while the new iPad won, it wasn't by as much, certainly not as much as the iPad 2 improved on the original iPad.

The point of all this isn't that the new iPad or the Apple A5X chipset isn't a powerhouse or a great improvement -- is most assuredly is. It's just that most of that power is going to the Retina display and moving around the 2048x1536 pixels that make it up, rather than to speeding up the general performance of the device.

This the iPad 2 was snappy to begin with, that's a good thing. Instead of making something already fast even faster, Apple took this generation to make it better.

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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New iPad vs iPad 2: App launching and web rendering speed test


Thank you for doing these tests and sharing them. You just saved me a lot of money. I will wait to see what the next generation brings.

I've always disliked the iPad because I have the iPad 1 (provided by my company) and always found it too slow to be useful. I'd always rather just pull out my iPhone 4 or 4S and look up content. This video really shows that the iPad 1 is unusably slow compared to iPad 2 and the New iPad. It also makes me think I may actually like the iPad after all...

The Infinity Blade II test doesn't match. Obviously on the new iPad, you have the game in a fresh state, therefore it starts the game with a cutscene. On the iPad 2, it starts at the beginning of the game.

Yeah, I really do remember the margin on similar tests between the 2 and the 1 a year ago showed a much greater divide. So I'm happy with my 2, but what you can't quantify is how gorgeous that new screen must be.

I noticed that when you did the browser test, the person/hand that hit the go button on the new iPad was slightly delayed than the the hand that hit the go button on the iPad 2. Which makes the test not as accurate. Simultaneously pressing different buttons may not be the most effective test as it may have human errors in it. I suggest if the performance is slightly different then you may want to use a more accurate test such as using a timer for each iPad and comparing the time it takes for each to load on the browser so that you can eliminate human error factors ie delayed in tapping the go button at the exact same time as the others. BUT if the difference is pretty significant then i guess it would be obvious that you wouldn't need a timer to see which iPad actually loads faster. Anyway just my 2 cants. Not hating or anything.

I agree, the browser test definitely was off as the guy kept hitting slightly behind Georgia. As she was doing the countdown, she knew the exact moment to hit the button, while he was delayed. If he did the countdown, the result probably would be reversed.
As the original iPad was clearly the slowest, better is to let Georgia hit both buttons on the new ipad and the ipad 2.
Also, Infinity blade was off, but showed the new ipad was actually even faster than appeared, as it had to launch, and do initial variables setups, while ipad 2 simply reloaded saved data, yet still was behind.
But overall a great review I feel. Thx!

You should really watch other YouTube videos on how to properly conduct and record a speed test. It was so clear by the video that you were tapping out to sync. People really count on you being reliable. When you conduct speed test inaccurately you force your community to go to YouTube and competitor websites/blogs. IMHO

Calm down Michael. No one will be leaving imore and going to their competition if Georgia or someone was a split second off on a YouTube video. Get real.

All versions of the iPad are awesome us as a society have just become spoiled and forget the days of pagers, beepers, DOS, Netscape, omnipoint, etc. When used properly even the first iPad blows away the competition.

You're all a bunch of ungrateful tools. These people don't have to do anything for you. I for one come here for many reasons. All you complainers need to get a Blackberry so you have a reason to be so negative.

If they want their site to be a
Success and to keep their subscribers coming here then they do NEED to do these things and need to do these things accurately. Sure there probably
Is an element of wanting to do these things for us. But I reckon there main priority is the success of imore. So why don't u remove that chip from your shoulder. Old chap

I'd love to see ipad 3 pitted against ipad 1 to see if there's any significant difference. There isn't, in my opinion, much difference between ipad 2 and 1so if you dont want a camera on your ipad, then ipad 1 may still be the way to go.

Did you even watch the video? iPad 1 is abysmally slow compared to iPad 2 and the new IPad. Seriously, just watch...

I would never wait in line for anything. Not sure why anyone does when you can have it shipped to your door on the same day. I received mine at 11 a.m. Central time and I'm sure people who lined up at 8 a.m. were still in line by that time. Sad.

Basically, not worth upgrading from 2 to 3(or whatever they clal it).
Same thing like 4 to 4s. Other than the camera, no differece. Siri is just a silly useless toy to me. Half the time it is unavailable, misunderstands what I say, or just gives me a google search result.

Now we know why Apple couldn't go with iPad 3 instead of the "New" iPad. It's the exact same sh*t with a better display, and LTE. Pathetic...

And you expected what exactly? The iPad 2 was already really how is a camera upgrade (which i'm not really bothered about)+ LTE + a MUCH better screen 'pathetic'? The screen in the new iPad makes my MacBook Pro's display look like crap in comparison. LTE lets people connect wirelessly and have better speeds than some people's wired internet. So again, I fail to see how that is 'pathetic'. I would have liked a better battery life or something, but the fact that it's pushing 4x as many pixels and doing it all at the same if not better speed with the same battery life is impressive.
Apple are moving away from calling it iPad 3 because they don't want to end up with iPad 7 etc not that they 'couldn't' (in what way could they not? it's their product, they own the naming conventions, they can do whatever they want with it), I think this year you might find that the next iPhone is just called iPhone.
What else could they have done to make it better? Made it faster? It's already really fast, so any speed upgrade is going to be incremental at this stage. And plus lots of people will say that that's 'pathetic'.
There's no pleasing people. Check back for the iPad 15 when it has a personal teleport built in. Maybe that'll warrant it as something that impresses you.
I do think that Apple should have done an iPad 2 'battery' edition or something and stuck the new battery in there though. Then you could have an iPad 2 that lasts near 20 hours...

First, a thank you from me to both Rene and Georgia! I appreciate the time and effort you've put in to this test! Thanks!!
Second...those of you that have owned the iPad 2 for any length of time know that 'speed' has NEVER been an issue, nor a's always been fast...and a huge difference between itself and the original. As an owner of all three...the big difference between the first and second WAS the speed! The Achilles heel of the first (in comparison between itself and any other product on the market...Iphone 4, any laptop or desktop, et al.) was the time it took to complete almost any task. Whether it be loading a web page, caching another tab in the browser, launching a game, etc. the transition to the second iPad, IMVHO was all about the increased speed...the 'zip' if you will. The cameras and thin design were secondary.
This 'new' the a huge update in everything EXCEPT the design. Those that feel the upgrade to either the 4s or the 'new' iPad is minimalist are sadly mistaken. I've owned all iOS devices. Started with the first iPhone and we've (luckily) been able to update with each successive product. The 4s is only the same on the outside. Internally everything has changed (except the display). The speed, the memory, the cameras, wifi and HSPA radios, all updated. The new iPad is almost identical in appearance to its predecessor. However, as a 40 year old with perfect vision up until age 37 or so, I've since had to get prescription strength reading glasses. The iPad 2...while fast performing...lacked the clarity of the iPhone 4's retina screen. I've switched all off my periodical subscriptions to iPad. Til the new one drows I've had to use my glasses to read my mags, forums, and books. With the 'new iPad'..I can read (easily) without the aid of my glasses at default font size! This alone is worth the upgrade!!! Also, the additional RAM has made a significant difference in my daily RSS app of choice (Early Edition). It was the only 'crash prone' app (out of over 300 apps) on my iPad 2. This hasn't been the case over the past 48 hours on the new tablet...and this is a really hard benchmark to measure. Multitasking and switching between apps seems significantly improved...As is the camera (regardless whether or not you choose to use). As far as the graphics chip...I think we have only begun to scratch the surface of its capabilities. (look at Barefeat's gfx tests). While I do own Infinity blade II, I'm not a big fan (I prefer some of the retro RPGs like Dungeon Humter)...but the visual differences are stunning! The capabilities of this new graphics chipset are phenomenal...and the developer community is salivating over the possibilities.
It's always surprising to me the 'meh' attitude of folks in the perceived incremental improvements on devices like the iPhone and iPad. These devices have already been invented. The WOW moment ended the second the original hit storeshelves. Moving forward, the ONLY options Apple has is to improve the 'guts!'. They've already invented the product that the public loves. Now, ALL there is left are internal improvements. And this, again...IMVHO, is where Apple has knocked it out of the park with each iOS product it's delivered. I can't help but wonder that those of you that continue to slam Apple on the 4s and new iPad are 'non-users'. Otherwise you'd have come to the same conclusion I have. They're not incrementally better...but significantly better in key areas...the display on the new iPad alone is worth the price of admission...the cameras, LTE radio, BlueTooth upgrade, Double the RAM, and increased gfx performance are just icing on the cake.
Now...with a usable camera on the iPad, developers WILL come up with uses you and I haven't even dreamt up yet! Just watch! And for those of you with an iPad 2 that aren't considering the upgrade...stay AWAY from the new one! Once you see the display, you'll not be able to resist...that's a guarantee:)
Thanks again Georgia and Rene. Some of us out here in the land of Al Gore's inter-webs appreciate your efforts :-)

To me. Having retina display is the reason I bought the iPad. If it is not that faster is because it already is, loading all that retina into memory, to me that much definition is a pleasure. Plus the procesing power doesnt hurts. PDx: I almost write naturally on the keyboard without looking woot.

I held back upgrading my iPad 1 to the iPad 2 to wait for a better screen, boy have I been rewarded, the change from 1 to 3 is outstanding!
Two things I have noticed nobody has talked about,
1. The new iPad screen seems to be much less prone to heavy "fingerprintitus" if you know what I mean, has any one tested this?
2. iPhone only apps now look better on the new iPad and are actually much more usable at the x2 magnification than the awful version on the old screen
Many thanks to the imore team for great podcasts and help , keep up the good work

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