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!