On March 7th in San Francisco, Apple® released their new iPad®, calling it… the new iPad… So we may have been a bit off on the name, along withNew iPad EHR everyone else on the planet, but we certainly got many of the features correct. And, while not a complete redesign of previous models as many had hoped, the new iPad does offer several improvements over its predecessors we believe may be beneficial for MediTouch® users.

In our previous blog post, iPad 3® Release Rumors — Don’t get rid of your iPad 2® just yet., we hypothesized, along with many others, that there would be 2 versions of the newest iPad model; wrong. But other than that miscue, our other predictions were fairly accurate.

  • Heaver and Thicker — While not lighter and leaner, the increase in size and weight is minuscule and will likely be unnoticed, other than potentially forcing iPad 2 case owners to purchase a new, slightly larger case when they upgrade. The minute increase to the size and weight comes at a small price for the new and upgraded technology within. The external shape and appearance of the new iPad remains the same as its predecessors, other than the screen’s brilliant retina display.
  • Retina Display with Double the Screen Resolution — Exactly as we predicted. The iPad 2’s 1024 x 769 pixel screen resolution has been upgraded to 2048 x 1536 pixels. The new iPad’s screen resolution is now higher than the defined 1080p HD video resolution of 1920 x 1080, and double the resolution of the iPad 2. The new retina display provides 44% better color saturation and 254 pixels per inch (PPI). Between the iSight cameras and the retina display, the new iPad in conjunction with MediDraw™ is the ideal solution for capturing, manipulating, storing, and sharing patient images or anatomical outlines all with the touch of a fingertip. We still have not been able to get our hands on the new iPad, but we believe the retina display may improve text legibility, allowing physicians, especially those with poor eyesight, a clearer reading experience with far less eye strain.
  • iSight™ Rear-facing and FaceTime™ Front-facing Cameras — iSight 5-megapixel rear camera, complete with a backside illuminated sensor, 5-element lens, IR filter, auto-focus, and auto-exposure. A front-facing VGA quality, 0.3-megapixel “FaceTime” camera for video chats and some lower resolution photos is also included. Essentially the same setup as the iPhone 4S®, but a definite improvement as we predicted.
  • A5X Processor Chip with Quad-core Graphics — While we may have missed the mark on our prediction for 2 iPad models with 2 different processors, we were correct about an upgraded processor in the new iPad. The new A5X processor provides four times the graphics power of the dual-core chip in the iPad 2. It means a faster processing and improved graphics, which stands to help MediTouch users in the office and at home.
  • 4G LTE Data Network Connectivity — The new iPad will be able to utilize 4G LTE connectivity, with Verizon®, Rogers®, Bell®, Telus®, and AT&T® as the LTE partners; though with the varying network bandwidths, there will need to be separate devices for Verizon and AT&T. Simply put, the new 4G LTE iPad will be capable of much faster operations and processes when connected to the network. In conjunction with the new A5X processor, it means a much faster machine overall, which will only further improve MediTouch’s sub-second page load time and improve an already great Web-based medical software suite. Also, depending on internet service providers (ISPs) in the area, 4G LTE from a cellular provider might be cheaper and more reliable than traditional internet connections; it certainly seems like the ideal solution for mobile health (mHealth) and physicians on-the-go, requiring around-the-clock access to their EHR.
  • Increased battery Life — Unfortunately there was no increase in battery life, but there was also no life lost, even with the improved processor, stronger 4G LTE network, and retina display of the new model. So iPad EHR users of MediTouch will notice no change in the duration they are able to chart without charging their iPad.
  • Siri™ Integration — THE feature of the iPhone 4S and a much hoped for addition to the 3rd generation iPad was only partially delivered. The new iPad will include a built-in microphone and voice dictation capabilities in several languages, but Siri’s functionality and integration will remain absent from this latest generation, at least for now. However, this dictation feature may serve as a decent alternative to Dragon Dictate, though not necessarily a complete replacement; its free inclusion in the new iPad is certainly a far better price point. The new iPad’s voice dictation capabilities will likely be ideal for short dictations without medical terminology, such as a patient encounter note for a sore throat.
  • iCloud™ — With the latest iPad and new iOS, sharing between iOS devices is even easier thanks to the addition of iCloud (the feature will also be available on previous iPad models thanks to iOS 5.1). Everything is accessible via the Internet, just as it is with the MediTouch Pure Cloud™.

iPad 2® vs. New iPad® Spec Comparison
iPad 2® New iPad®
Dimensions (H x W x D) 9.5” x 7.31” x 8.8mm 9.5” x 7.31” x 9.4mm
Weight 1.4 lbs. 1.33 lbs.
Display 1024 x 768 with 132ppi 2048 x 1536 with 264ppi
Processor Dual Core Dual Core
Graphics Dual Core Quad Core
RAM 512 MB 1 GB
Storage 16 GB 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB
Wireless Wi-Fi Only or Wi-Fi + 3G Wi-Fi Only or Wi-Fi + 4G
Battery 10 hrs on Wi-Fi, 9 hrs on 3G 10 hrs on Wi-Fi, 9 hrs on 4G
Camera 0.92 megapixels 5 megapixels

While Apple’s press event for the iPad announcement was a bit of a dud, the enhanced and additional features of the new iPad are a definite improvement over the iPad 2. But Apple devotees cannot help but feel a little dejected with the release of the iPhone 4S equivalent of the iPad. One can only hope Apple has something in store for its next release, or it may begin to lose its grip on the marketplace and its cult-like fandom. For MediTouch users, who desire the latest technology, feel free to upgrade to the newest iPad. However, do not feel obligated to upgrade for fear of your practice falling behind or software incompatibility. MediTouch is designed and built to run on past, new, and future iPads, since MediTouch is Web-based, iPad-native EHR software.