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New iPad: Eight Problems

Andrew Williams


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Special report: iPad 3 / New iPad : What You Need To Know

Hands on: iPad 3 Review

The new iPad from Apple has been officially unveiled. The dust has settled, bank accounts have been checked and chins rubbed. It’s a great device with a cracking screen, but it’s not without issues. Here are the eight that stand in the way of any sane buyer’s will to splurge £400 on the tablet.

Quad-core – are you sure?

Quad core is the “64bit games console” of 2012. The iPad A5x is being talked-about as a quad-core chip, but it’s actually a dual-core processor with a quad-core GPU. As a SoC (system on a chip) the A5x combines multiple processery parts – and yes, that’s the technical term.

Should you care? No, not really. Graphics is where the iPad could do with more power, as non-gaming apps don’t tend to challenge multi-core processors all that much.

Still demands accessories

The new iPad’s personality is just like the iPad 2’s. A bit like a cat that will only eat Sheba, the new iPad uses all-proprietary accessories, apart from earphones. You can still use your own earphones – perhaps we should be thankful for small mercies, as the saying goes. Want to connect a memory card or output video over a wired connection? You’ll have to spend an extra thirty or so quid.

Should you care? Absolutely. The way the hardware of the iPad is so hemmed-in is one of the best reasons to pick an Android tablet over an Apple one.

No flash? Really?

No, we’re not talking about Adobe Flash, but the other kind. The third-gen iPad massively improves upon the camera performance of the iPad 2. With a 5-megapixel sensor and autofocus, you should be able to take pretty decent snaps in good lighting. However, without a flash to call upon it’ll be utterly useless at any other time.

Should you care? If you care about camera performance then yes, but if you want a tablet-digital-compact hybrid, what are you thinking?

iPad flash

Fragmentation station

Whenever new hardware of a popular platform comes out, some developers start to get nervous. It means they have to change how they work, creating oodles more art assets and thinking again about what devices they’re creating software for. The new iPad has four times as many pixels as the iPad 2, and twenty times as many as an iPhone 3GS. Twenty times. Wide-reaching Universal apps will have to cater for both. Crazy, no?

Should you care? Not our problem really, is it? The new iPad is like Field of Dreams – Apple has built it, and developers will flock to its green app fields in their droves.

LTE useless in the UK

One of the key features of the new iPad is 4G LTE connectivity. This lets you download and upload on-the-go at ridiculously fast speeds – up to 73Mbps. Unless you’re very lucky, this will be much faster than your home broadband. The problem? There are no LTE 4G-enabled networks in the UK, and there probably won’t be any until well into next year. Instead, you’ll have to make do with either plain old 3G or Wi-Fi. Like the iPad 2, the Wi-Fi only model is cheaper.

Should you care? This problem will affect any tablet, and it’s hardly Apple’s fault. Write a sternly-worded letter to your local Carphone Warehouse sales assistant. Maybe that’ll help.

LTE logo

Upscaling apps – how much upscaling, exactly?

Apps not made for the new iPad will upscale to its fantastic 2,048 x 1,536 pixel screen. But will the tablet use the best version possible? iPhone 4S Retina display or an iPad 2-optimised version? Did you know that while iPhone apps upscale to the original iPad and iPad 2 screens, these older tablets don’t use extra pixels available in Retina Display-tweaked iPhone games? You have to hack your iPad to see the extra benefit. Why? Not a clue, other than it’s a way to force more developers to make more dedicated iPad apps.

Should you care? Yes. That screen deserves the best.

That name. It’s silly.

iPad 3 and iPad HD we were fine with. But “new iPad”? Really, Apple? Half of that name won’t even work after about two months, and we really need a good way to differentiate between iPad models – these aren’t throwaway gadgets, even if an unnerving number of people are willing to replace them every year. And, to make matters worse, this means the iPad is newer than the iPad 2. Which makes no sense at all, obviously.

Should you care? Maybe it’s just us. Drop us your view in the comments.

We want haptic joy

The one pre-release rumour that got us excited was the one that suggested the iPad 3 would use Senseg haptic technology. This would let you feel textures on the tablet’s screen, using magic. Ok, not magic but a modulation of attractive forces. It’s clever stuff. As it turns out, this rumour was utter nonsense but we believed in it for long enough to ruin the impact of the new iPad’s actual innovations. Boo and hiss.

Should you care? Well, it would have been cool, wouldn’t it?


March 8, 2012, 2:07 pm

>> You'll have to spend an extra thirty or so quid.

A quick look on ebay, £3.99 for a 5 in 1 reader.

I'd say one of the advantages of the iPad, is accessories. Want to have a quality music dock for your iPad, your spoilt for choice. B&W / Bose etc. Have fun finding a quality speaker dock for the Transformer Prime.

Of course it doesn't end there, Keyboards / Printers / Car Docks / Juice Packs / HDMI adapters, etc, etc.


March 8, 2012, 6:08 pm

"I'd say one of the advantages of the iPad, is accessories"

I'd say that is a backward statement! The fact that it is even necessary to have to buy so many (OEM - exorbitantly priced) accessories to even achieve levels of basic productivity on an already vastly expensive gadget, represents a poor value proposition to me. No card readers / expandable memory, no native HDMI out, no USB OTG, no drag and drop fuction, no sharing files over bluetooth between OS's etc... These are basic functions and almost all tablets running ICS have these features.

And that's before you have to factor in Apple's horrific dependence on the worst software ever written - iTunes (Hyperbole - Maybe WM6.5 takes that accolade!). Apple's interpretation of cloud computing is also a joke as it's tied into their ecosystem only. But there are a lot of options for docks, if you want that.

I see the beauty of the design and the predominately fantastic software and understand why people buy into the Apple sandpit, it makes a lot of sense, ironically especially for business use. But for a personal tablet, I don't see the appeal when compared to the competition both in terms of price, functions and even design now.

Horses for courses, i'm happy to have the choice though.


March 8, 2012, 6:57 pm

How is it a backwards statement, what iPad alternative do you know that has built in B&W speakers?.

>> Apple's interpretation of cloud computing is also a joke

Compared to what?


March 8, 2012, 7:21 pm

Also note that the LTE chip inside the new iPad is catered for the American LTE market only it seems. ATT and Verizon use LTE mainly on the 700Mhz band. The European LTE market will be mainly 800Mhz. (At least the early adopting countries).

We may have to wait for European iPad version ...


March 8, 2012, 8:25 pm

@Keithe6e Backwards in that you view the accessories as an advantage of the iPad (My interpretation: as in all the extra 30 pin dock adapters you have to buy in order to get the thing to be useful away from another networked PC). I view them as a necessity rather than an advantage.

All the dedicated iPhone designed docks are nice looking, not great value, but pretty decent sounding for small rooms. Indeed, I have a B&W mini Zeppelin (which annoyingly doesn't support the older iPod Classic). I can use these ipod docks with other gadgets by using a 3.5mm cable, as you can most docks. For the price of the Mini Zeppelin you could have a dedicated Onkyo HTX 22HDX 2:1 set-up and a set of Cambridge Audio S30's, a much better sounding set-up in my experience. Of course, you'll have to plug your iPod in with a 3.5mm jack.

iCloud - compared to Google's cloud services. Google's cloud services are both device and OS agnostic and far less likely to result in leaving you stranded one day should you decide to change your hardware.


March 9, 2012, 4:37 pm

@ElectricSheep: I view them as a necessity rather than an advantage.

Well plenty of people are getting along very nicely without all these necessity's you ramble on about.

And I rather like it when I come home from work and simply stick my phone into the B&W dock for some nice listening pleasure and getting my phone charged at the same time. I'm not a fan of having to mess with cables, but fair enough if it's something you don't mind so be it. But for me this is an advantage no matter how many ways you try to swing it.

ps. I don't really want a Onkyo in my Kitchen or Bedroom, that's kind of where I see docks coming into play.


March 9, 2012, 6:02 pm

I see both sides of the discussion. I think the key point is that all the iDevice accessories seem like a pure and innocent convenience because they're ubiquitous but the fact remains that they're limiting - the B&W zeppellin is amazing but it only elegantly works with one make of device. A universal connection standard would be much more useful. Admittedly there isn't an alternative single charging/audio/video port available but Apple certainly hasn't helped by locking down its own version, which - let's face it - isn't actually all that great as it can't be used to output good quality video. Just think how much more awesome iDevices could be if you could simply hook em straight up to a telly.


March 11, 2012, 3:44 pm

The name isn't "new iPad" it's "iPad" and the one just released is new, so when talked about its a new "iPad". Not that the name of a product is a problem or a plus point anyway. Maybe seven problems didn't sound as dramatic for the title! ;)

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