Question from today's Hardware 2.0 mailbox:
I keep hearing a lot of negative stuff about the iPad 3. Should I hold out buying one until Apple fixes the problems?
Ever since the official announcement of the iPad 3, it seems that some pundits and journalists have desperately tried to come up with some flaw or controversy with the device to write about. The trouble is, when you scratch the surface of each of the 'flaws' that have been in the news lately and you find out that there's very little substance to them.
Three flaws in particular have had a lot of ink -- real and virtual -- spilled over them. Let's take a look at the three iPad '-gates.'
Product review and ratings organization Consumer Reports sent out some mixed messages about the iPad 3. CNBC claimed that the iPad 3 was "hot enough to be uncomfortable at least", while in a post of its website said that the "when it was at its hottest, it felt very warm but not especially uncomfortable if held for a brief period".
The truth is that any device that contains a dual-core processor, a quad-core graphics processor and a 5-Watt backlit screen is going to get warm when in use. But this is not a design flaw because there's no way that something like this would have failed to grab Apple's attention during both the design stage and testing of the device.
According to Apple the iPad 3 operates "well within our thermal specifications" and there's no credible evidence to suggest that this is not the case.
Devices get hot. It's physics, not a flaw.
Hot on the heels of 'Heatgate' came 'Batterygate', and claims that iPad 3 'lies' about the charge level of the battery and takes a lot longer to charge that the iPad 2 did.
There are two issues at play here. First, the claim that the iPad 3 isn't 100 percent charged when the battery meter shows "100 percent". This is nothing new. Almost all devices powered by lithium-ion batteries exhibit this behavior, and it's only noticeable in the iPad 3 because of the huge battery pack it contains.
Nut why does it take longer to charge? Because the is so much bigger that the one in the iPad 2 -- 42 Watt-hour as opposed to 25 Watt-hour. Of course, a battery that has 70 percent greater capacity is going to take longer to charge.
Again, physics; not a flaw.
This one is so crazy that I almost don't want to mention it. One user complained about how he burned through a 2GB data plan in under 24 hours by downloading previously purchased apps to his iPad 3 over 4G LTE.
Again, where's the problem? The iPad 3 did exactly what the user asked it to do: download data over the 4G LTE pipe. The only issue here was that they didn't factor in how much data they would be using, but that's not a problem with the iPad 3.
That said, 4G LTE connectivity still doesn't work outside North America because of a mismatch in hardware and band setting.
The bottom line
If you want an iPad 3, I can't see any reason why you shouldn't buy one. And if you're not happy with the heat it generates or the battery or the speed with which it downloads data, then you can take it back to Apple within 30 days for a full refund.
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