Apple iPad 3 review: Hotter than ever
So, the iPad is dead, long live the iPad. That's also part of the deal. The retirement of the first-generation of the Apple tablet is nothing out of the ordinary. There used to be the iPad and the iPad 2. Now, we have the iPad and the iPad 2 is the backup, the second choice.
The new iPad. Here's one for you. You're Apple and you're about to launch your latest product. You want to dispel even the remotest suspicion of recycling old stuff. You want the slightest hint smothered of sequels and their questionable worth. What do you do?
Make it nothing like the old one? No, no - you're not paying attention. Pretend you're Apple. The market leader in tablets, the standard-setter in touchscreen, the king of design, the god of marketing.
Yes, it's as simple as a single stroke of divine wisdom. You get rid of the numbers. Next is wrong - new is what everyone cares about. If you're telling people they're getting the ultimate, the last thing you want them to think about is what comes later. Numbers are about the order of appearance, the new iPad is about the order of succession. In the royal sense.
- 9.7" LED-backlit IPS LCD touchscreen, 2048 x 1536 pixels; scratch-resistant, oleophobic coating
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity, carrier-dependent hotspot support
- Optional LTE connectivity (data only)
- Optional GPS with A-GPS support (for the 3G model only)
- Apple A5X SoC with 1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor
- PowerVR SGX543MP4 quad-core GPU
- 1GB RAM
- iOS 5.1 with iCloud support and activation
- 16/32/64GB of inbuilt storage
- Weight of 652 grams (662 grams for the LTE version)
- Bluetooth 4.0
- 11,560 mAh battery
- Accelerometer, compass and three-axis gyro-sensor
- The cheapest version costs less than a SIM-free iPhone
- 5MP auto-focus camera
- 1080p video recording at 30fps
- VGA secondary camera capable of FaceTime calls
- Four and five-finger gestures
- 1080p TV-output with the Apple Digital AV Adapter (purchased separately for $39), 720p video streaming
- Supports magnetic cases
- iTunes still required for uploading most of the content
- Reflective screen struggles outdoors
- Same CPU as the iPad 2
- Heavier and thicker than the iPad 2
- No Flash support in the web browser
- No standard USB port
- Non replaceable battery
- No stereo loudspeakers
- No GPS receiver in the Wi-Fi version
- No memory card slot
- No Siri
- Can get uncomfortably hot at times
- No charging while in use
- Lack of basic iOS apps - weather, stocks, clock, calculator, voice memos
The three iPads look almost exactly the same but, to be fair to the new iPad, it brings a massive upgrade. The 2048 x 1536 pixel Retina display has four times the resolution of the previous model. The bar is yet again set too high for the competition. And it's a leap worth several generations. Apple did well to make sure the monstrous screen is well covered in terms of graphic processing with some extra GPU cores too and the performance is flawless.
The 5MP camera is an improved version of the one on the iPhone 4 and the video recording is duly upgraded to 1080p. There's Wi-Fi hotspot support too but that's carrier-dependent and our Wi-Fi-only iPad naturally doesn't have it.
The long list of cons shouldn't come as a surprise. Some of them are down to Apple's way of doing things but we'll look closer at the screen outdoor performance and the reported overheating in gaming or video playback.
Siri didn't make the cut this time around and you won't find some basic iOS apps either such as Weather, Stocks, Clock, Calculator and Voice Memos. Let's hope though there won't be blank spaces in our review of the new iPad. Follow us on the next page where we look at what's new in the hardware department.
Reviews > Apple iPad 3 review: Hotter than ever