A respected Apple commentator has put the iPad 2, announced last week in San Francisco, through its paces, concluding: “A year from now we might look back on the iPad 2 as having been built for gaming.”
John Gruber, who runs the Daring Fireball blog, has had a review unit of the tablet since last week, and in an attempt to gauge the extent of its improvements for gamers asked Guy English, a developer friend, to write a test app “to measure an iPad’s graphics capabilities from the perspective of a game developer.”
English – who worked on iOS smash Tap Tap Revenge – wrote an app that rendered hundreds of sprites on screen, with gravity, tracking up to three touch points, and the results show that iPad 2’s improvements go far beyond the introduction of a dual-core processor.
On Gruber’s original iPad, with 200 sprites on screen, the framerate dropped to 45 fps. On the iPad 2, with 400 sprites, it remained at a steady 65 fps, and didn’t drop below 60 fps until there were over 750 on-screen sprites.
English said the results showed that “the iPad 2 is easily about twice as powerful as the original and that this speed gain is a freebie – you don’t need to change your code structure to see significant gains. The original iPad had a comparatively weak fill-rate which was an issue for the device.
“The second generation really leaves that behind and it looks like it’ll be able to do some really incredible things graphically. My demo code is workmanlike, competent code – meant to measure the relative strengths of the parts of the system. Taking some time to get the most out of that GPU and CPU will pay off with some really remarkable games and graphics apps.”
Of course, with all existing iPad games developed for the original device, iPad 2’s true power won’t be known until games are developed with its capabilities in mind, but the early signs are promising that Apple has catered for gamers in the second iteration of its tablet. The device goes on sale in the US tomorrow, and will be out in Europe later this month.
Source: Daring Fireball