Apple introduced the next generation of iPad yesterday, giving it the generic name of "iPad" -- sans numbering. I suppose this mimics their desktop and notebook computers. They have generic names, like MacBook, and then are further identified by a release date, such as "Early 2009" and "Mid 2009."
This generic-name approach confuses consumers, and makes it difficult for CAD vendors to accurately specify minimum hardware requirements. We see this with Autodesk saying that its AutoCAD for Mac won't install on Apple computers lacking sufficient hardware; while the software company provides a list of suitable hardware specs, there is that uncertainty during the install process -- after the customer pays for the hardware and software.
Moving on to the hardware of the iPad:
The GPU now has four cores, which means that CAD drawings will display faster and CAD models render more quickly. (The CPU might be the same; we don't know, due to Apple's reticence in revealing hardware specs.)
The screen resolution is 2048 x 1536, 4x larger than before. Gaming companies have already speculated that the benefits of the 4x faster CPU may be nullified by the 4x larger number of pixels that have to be processed.
While CAD uses resolution-independent vector data, these vectors are converted to raster dots for display -- either on the iPad itself (as with IMSI/Design's TurboViewer) or back at the CAD vendor's headquarters and then pushed over the Internet to the device (as with Autodesk's AutoCAD WS). In the case of AutoCAD WS, Autodesk may find itself having to shove 4x more data down the pipe.
The 4x higher resolution has similar effects on renderings, positive and negative.
The memory is 2x larger, meaning there is more room in which to store CAD data. On portable devices like iPad and Androids, there is no paging as with Windows. (When the memory gets close to being full, Windows parks some of it on the hard drive. This slows down the computer, with the benefit of handling larger programs and data sets.) All of the CAD program, its data, and all other software has to fit into the memory. If the portable device runs out of memory, programs are shut down automatically. This is why when you return to a program, such as a Web browser, all the loaded Web pages are gone.
The new iPad tablet now has 1GB RAM, which is a good thing, and helps it to catch up to Android tablets. (iPad 2 has 512MB, and the original iPad had just 256MB, which is why some CAD programs are not recommended to run on it.)
The largest download size for iOS apps is increased from 20MB to 50MB, which allows CAD vendors to add more to their programs. This limit is imposed only on downloads made through the cell phone system; downloads over WiFi don't have that limit.
During the iPad announcement, Autodesk showed off a new version of SketchBook Ink. It uses more vector/raster technology from the desktop version of the software, in which you sketch with raster-friendly tools, which are stored as vector data to permit greater editing flexibility. The software was described as "exclusive" to iOS, and the Guardian's Stuart Dredge wonders if this is a permanent injunction against Android, or " what's required to get a slot on-stage during an Apple keynote."