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New iPad: Eight Problems

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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?

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