iPad 2 as powerful as a G4 PowerBook!

In an incredible post here, Geoffrey Goetz of GigaOm ran some fairly thorough benchmarks, pitting the iPad 2, iPad, and iPhone 4 up against one another.

The Geekbench score of the iPad 2 put its power on par with that of a G4 PowerBook which I find absolutely incredible for a variety of reasons. Goetz rightly points out that this kind of raw power should no longer be the focus, and that instead we should focus on the overall user experience. Regular readers here will know this POV to be music to my ears. He says:

“The iPad 2 is still only as powerful as a 15-inch PowerBook G4 1.33 GHz and just a little more powerful than the original Mac Mini G4 released in 2005.  But considering how much I can get done on each of these iOS devices, including what I can still do with my old iPhone 3G, I really don’t think raw performance alone is where the focus needs to be anymore.”

Though I agree with his conclusion, I find the raw statistic pretty incredible. Yeah yeah I know all about Moore’s law, but to be able to purchase today for $499 something with comparable raw computational power as a laptop that cost $2000-2500 in its heyday seems pretty amazing to me!

There was another raw statistic that jumped out at me. Current MBPs have 15x the raw computational power (again, measured by Geekbench) as the iPad 2. That’s a fairly massive gulf. However, at no time when using a current MBP do I think “wow this thing leaves my iPad in the dust!” Nor do I say the converse when using the iPad…”wow this thing crawls compared to the MBP!”

Obviously they’re running different OS’s and have vastly different capabilities at the end of the day, but the point stands: user experience trumps all, and a focus on specs and benchmarks misses the mark, or at the very least barely begins to tell the whole story.

The other fairly incredible bottom line aspect I find in all this is in simply recalling the kind of stuff we used to do on those G4 PowerBooks. THEY RAN FINAL CUT PRO for crying out loud!! I mean…damn. UI, storage, i/o and other considerations notwithstanding, it’s all pretty incredible to contemplate.

It’s also neat to put the iPad 2 on a sort of roadmap that can be measured against mac hardware. At some point it gets powerful enough to run the converged iOS/OSX I’ve often mused about here.

Just writing this post makes it that much more difficult for me to stick to my decision not to upgrade to the iPad 2!

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About Tony Moody

I make movies. I wield a Les Paul and an iPad. I consume media - copious amounts. And I dabble in assorted nonsense. What do you do? iPadAlone.com Indalo.biz
This entry was posted in Fun, Hardware, iOS, Musings, OS operating system, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to iPad 2 as powerful as a G4 PowerBook!

  1. Glenn says:

    Wow, that’s interesting to hear. And I agree with you that our assessment of future computing devices should focus on the user experience. With a mobile that also includes the shape and feel of the device. The new iPad 2 feels much more nimble in my hands, so much so, that I find myself waving in around and taking it more places. The thinner body and less weight may not be much on paper, but in practicality, it’s much easier to handle, and therefore, used even more often than the original iPad. Coupled with it’s increased speed, the upgrade really has improved the user experience quite a bit.

    • yoyoyankees says:

      I have to admit it’s reactions like yours that make it increasingly difficult for me *not* to pull the trigger on the 2!

      Thank goodness they’re just not available. Somehow that makes it easier 🙂

  2. brandy says:

    I actually use a Powerbook G4 as my work computer (I’m a grad student, it’s what my dept gave me four years ago and they’re unlikely to upgrade me), and my new iPad 2 certainly feels faster, smoother, and more powerful. I’m sure this is simply an interaction of the actual power with the software written for it, but the Powerbook feels even clunkier than it did before, when it only had to compete with my one-year-old home Mini. Poor Powerbook. 😦

    • yoyoyankees says:

      I hear you. I’ve not posted about it (yet) but I did succumb and upgrade to an iPad 2… For my use case the added horsepower really does make a tremendous difference.

  3. Clint says:

    I really like the post… Your post makes me appreciate the capabilities of the ipad. Been using an iPad since launch last year.

    I tried a macbook air 11inch.. But I couldn’t use, since the battery life was to low for my class schedule at the moment.

    • yoyoyankees says:

      Thanks Clint. It’s quite a powerful animal. I’ll have a whole iPad -> iPad 2 writeup soon, along with my thoughts on the iOS 5 and cloud announcements…

  4. Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with? I’m going to start my
    own blog soon but I’m having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    • Tony Moody says:

      Thanks for posting. This site is built on WordPress. I didn’t do any extensive comparison of the various platforms to be honest – WordPress was the one I’d heard the most about so I basically just went ahead with it.

      That said, I did spend a great deal of time looking at different templates before settling on this one. It looked pretty much exactly like I wanted it to look without much of any customizing. I just selected the stuff I wanted in the sidebar and that was pretty much it.

      I’d recommend setting up the page and posting a couple things, then going through and Applying templates to what you’ve done until you find one you like. ie don’t just look at the example. Good luck!

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