Tests show Apple’s iOS 4.3 dramatically speeds up iPads and iPhones

“Apple claims the new iPad 2 is significantly faster than the old version, but to get an idea of how much faster it really is, we ran a quick benchmark test on the new model in our brief hands-on time with it last night,” Jason Jenkins reports for CNET UK. “One quick caveat: the iPad 2 we saw may not have been entirely finished, so take these numbers with a pinch of salt, but you should be able to get a pretty good idea of where each device sits relative to the other.”

“The good news for anyone thinking of buying the iPad 2 is that it did incredibly well in the test, outperforming all the rivals we have in the building to compare with it. That includes the original iPad, which at first was nearly 4x slower to get through the test than the new version. The iPad 2 has a new, dual-core processor inside it which, at first glance, seems responsible for all of this extra speed,” Jenkins reports. “There is another factor here, however: the version of the operating system the iPad is running. The iPad 2 we tested last night was running the latest version of iOS, 4.3, which changes the way it deals with JavaScript to speed things up considerably.”

“This will be released to everyone with the old iPad, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS on 11 March, but we have a beta copy of the software now,” Jenkins reports. “Once we’d updated the software on our iPad 1, the gap between the two devices narrowed considerably, with the iPad 2 coming out at just 1.5x faster than the iPad 1.”

“The reason this matters is that the original iPads are now being heavily discounted, with Apple itself slashing £100 off the cost of all models,” Jenkins reports. “Our numbers indicate that — providing you’re mainly going to use the iPad for Web browsing rather than gaming or videoconferencing — that’s a pretty nifty deal, as the performance difference between the two is closer than Apple’s marketing might lead you to believe.”

Jenkins reports, “Incidentally, when you compare the iPad to the other devices we tested, Android phones and tablets don’t come out particularly well. The Galaxy Tab is more than 3x slower than the iPad 2 in this test, and about 2x slower than the original iPad with the new software. The Google Nexus S smart phone doesn’t fare too well either, at nearly 3x slower than the iPad 2. There’s really good news for iPhone 4 owners out there: When it arrives, iOS 4.3 will deliver a 2.5x speed increase in this test.”

Read more in the full article, including a graph showing the relative positions of each gadget with the actual numbers, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Gilles” for the heads up.]


  1. Unlike M$, Apple’s software updates make their computers faster and less buggy. It’s great to know first Gen iPad owners will get a free speed/performance bump.

    I sure do enjoy the speed on my iPhone4 compared to my 3G, so getting an even faster phone this Friday is going to be a wonderful upgrade. I’ll enjoy it while standing in line for my iPad2 🙂

  2. “The Galaxy Tab is more than 3x slower than the iPad 2 ”

    it’s good that someone does some comparative tests. Some Android devices are being sold with specs that verge on fantasy. For example the Xoom’s advertised 10 hr battery life, when Wall street Journal ran a comparative test:

    “Alas, while the Xoom claims up to 10 hours of video playback, I got just 7 hours and 32 minutes. By contrast, on the same test, the iPad, which also claims 10 hours, logged 11.5 hours, or four hours more.”

    4 hrs difference!

    Unfortunately in nearly every other review (especially those tech specs comparison charts) the Xoom is touted has having the equivalent battery life of the iPad. And this is picked up the mainline press that with ‘bigger’ screen etc the Xoom is superior to the iPad and (somehow) worth it’s absurd 800 bucks.

      1. Yep, I think it has to do with the aspect ratio. So going from the 9.7 to 10.1 didnt give you a larger screen. However, while most anal-ists think the Xoom screen sixe is odd, I thought it was decent. But finger prints are crazy on that thing.

  3. Sounds like excellent experimental evidence that Apple should just delete Java from all of its devices, along with Adobe’s Flash.

    Java can join Cobol, Forth, and BASIC in the museum.

    1. Um excuse me, but “Java” which google quite obviously stole from Oracle/Sun, to create android, is an entirely different animal from JavaScript, the open source basis for most of webkit and much of iOS. Apple is publicly steering clear of any association with the “Java” programming language.
      JavaScript the open source scripting standard has been supported most significantly by Apple, inc. for many years.
      Not only does google steal the tech to create their derivative knock-off OS, they also reap the rewards of the true innovator making webkit open for all to use (chrome).
      So is it a trap? In one word: YES!

  4. “4x slower, 3x slower, 2x slower” – – A peeve of mine. Describing lesser numbers as multiples. You can’t multiply down. Does 4x slower = 1/4th as fast? Probably what they mean. Literally 4x slower would be 400% slower. No such thing. 3x slower is 1/3rd as fast right? 2x slower is half-fast. (Or is that half-assed?) When will it end?

    1. I think what they mean is it takes 2x or 3x or 4x LONGER to do something. So yes, 4x slower should be 1/4 the speed. But I agree with you that you can’t multiply down. They should be saying 50% or 1/2.

    2. Peevishness aside, what’s wrong with twice as slow?

      Slowness measures inverse speed, whether over distance or anything else. One object (chicken, computer, elementary particle) with four times the slowness of another has one fourth the speed.

      However unfamiliar the concept, four times as slow is perfectly equivalent to one fourth as fast.

      The slowness of the object, in seconds per kilometer, picoseconds per display cycle, or whatever, is four times as great.

      Not to bring physics into it.

  5. “Incidentally, when you compare the iPad to the other devices we tested, Android phones and tablets don’t come out particularly well.”

    Excuse me while I point out they never did 😉

    The 2x slower comments made me laugh also.
    But the typical person will see the 2x and not think nothing of it. Toss out numbers like 1/4 and the average person won’t understand at all. Same argument with the 9.7 vs 10.1 screen size. “Omg 10 is a full inch bigger than 9!!!”

  6. Makes me want to pick up one of the original iPads, once March 11th arrives and there’s a glut of used ones out there, being sold after less than one year by folks who must have the latest and greatest. $250 or less (for a used one one in good condition) would be a great deal, but the typical asking price probably will not go too far below $350, which is the current price for an Apple-certified refurb (“clean” with official one-year warranty).

    The cameras are a nice addition, but not critical for me. I don’t like covering the beauty (and tactile feel) of Apple products with cases; Smart Covers are clever but not a big deal. The thing that I really DO like about iPad 2… it’s much thinner and a bit lighter.

    iOS 4.3 making the existing iDevices run faster is very encouraging.

  7. One thing I noticed with the Nexus and that generation of Android phones was how sluggish the OS was. Android is a big, bloated, resources hogging operating system. Unless you have a very powerful cpu it’s useless. Apple really made IOS sleek and elegant.

  8. My iPad has been my constant companion since last May. If this update really speeds it up then that’s just one more reason for me not to upgrade until a model with better screen resolution, cameras similar to the iPhone 4 or 4G arrives.

  9. I read somewhere that the iPad feels right in both portrait and landscape, but widescreen tablets feel more natural in landscape and not so much in portrait. I haven’t held the thing at all, so I can’t say for myself, but looking at the wide screen of my MBP 13″, I can see where the longer screen would be odd.

    While the iPad seems to have gotten some criticism for its aspect ratio, I can understand why they went with this one versus the widescreen format. Like Steve Jobs said at the iPad 1 intro, there’s no up, no down, it just feels natural no matter how you hold it.

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