Should I buy the iPad 3, or wait for the bugs to be fixed?

Should I buy the iPad 3, or wait for the bugs to be fixed?

Summary: 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.


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.


Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Security

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  • How about Cluelessgate?

    You're just trolling for clicks.

    Heatgate - No's a little warmer than iPad 2 but certainly nothing to get worried about even playing Infinity Blade 2 it's fine.

    Batterygate - No issue...ran it all weekend and didn't charge it until today, it's 100% charged now.

    Datagate - Can't confirm don't have a 3G model, and if you are using 3G/4G on it and you have updates, pushes, etc..enabled on it of course you're going to suck up data faster.
    • Did you even read the article?

      Because this is a mail request, and Adrian answered by stating the exact same things you just did.
  • Here is what I recommend to people

    If you have an iPad 1 or 2, don't buy the 3. For 99% of consumers, the new iPad won't let you do anything you can't already do with what you have. I've been recommending that this group of people wait for Windows 8 tablets. If they end up sucking, buy the new iPad then and maybe Apple will have fixed some of these known issues by the end of 2012.

    If you do not have an iPad and you really want a tablet before Windows 8 tablets start being sold, buy an iPad 3 if money is no object or an iPad 2 if you are cash strapped. If you are going to do any amount of book reading, buy an eInk device because the iPad is not a good eReader.

    So far, most people I've advised have decided to wait for Windows 8. They really like what they see in Metro.
    • Here is what I recommend to people

      That we ignore you because you are a biased shill that doesn't know what he's talking about.
      • Look in the mirror lately?

        I disagree with ToddBottom all the time. I am a Mac guy since 1984, but I also use Windows regularly, iOS, and Ubuntu (thankfully I finally ditched my Android phone - it just didn't serve me well). It's fair to say that I'm generally agnostic, but it's also fair to say I'm an Apple fan.

        TB makes good points and I would encourage anyone to consider them before making a purchase.
      • Coming from a n00b, I'd expect that

        But stick around. You'll learn more about toddytroll.

        Like for instance, how does anyone spend thousands of dollars buying their products and then belittles them all the time? No sane person would do that. Either he's lying or he's pretty stupid with his money. One of the two.

        So no, he's not credible at all.
    • If it has Metro...

      I'll pass on it. If you think a new iPad runs hot, wait till you hold an x86 tablet for a little while. ?Considering x86 runs much hotter than ARM, If you can keep it running for more than 4 hours, expect it to be good for keeping your coffee hot!
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Um the vast majority of metro sporting devices for the next couple years

        will be arm based, not x86 based and W8 is already a far more reliable and secure os than ios. Also the new x86 socs that will find their way into smartphones and tablets are lower power and run cooler and longer than arm socs with about 10x the perf. So you're basically wrong all the way around
        Johnny Vegas
      • Bzzzzzzzzt! Wrong! Johnny Vegas, as usual...

        The actual majority of the devices will be Windows 8 pcs. The real question is how many will be running some other OS (Windows 7, xp?). because the Majority of businesses are going to wait a few years before they touch Windows 8. This is typical. In 2004, I was working for a DoD contractor that was using Win 2k. XP was not cleared for use, three years after introduction. Windows 8 will not be a widely accepted as Microsoft claims for a few years after they claim. Look at Vista, Microsoft claimed units that were upgraded to XP, as Vista machines. So expect more of the same with Windows 8.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
  • So you would also recommend x86 slates?

    "Again, physics; not a flaw."

    x86 slates run hotter, are heavier, and need a fan. Again, physics; not a flaw.

    • Not physics -- just engineering

      The battery charge time is not limited by physics unless you accept that the same charger must be used. It could be charged faster with a different charger/scheme.

      The perception of heat dissipation is related to how concentrated it is. The more you concentrate it, the higher the temperature. This, and other factors, are more related to engineering than physics.
      Mike Marquis
    • We're not talking about yesteryears W7 slates

      x86 W8 slates of comparable spec will be cooler with no fan, lighter, run longer on the same power, and have much better perf, reliability, and security than any ios or android based device. Just physics of better chip technology combined with better os technology.
      Johnny Vegas
      • Do you atually

        Believe the drivel you spout? When has Microsoft ever delivered on their promises? Vista was an abortion, Windows 7 was a major service pack. In cas you missed it Vista was NT 6, Windows 7 in NT 6.1, nd from what I've seen Windows 8 is NT 6.2.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • What??

        Better OS technology? Do you mean the same OS technology that drives all of those heavy, slow, and hot DELL and HP "laptops" in use throughout corporate America?
      • @Jumpin Jack Flash - what a load of drivel

        I am using Windows 8 "Consumer Preview" on an ExoPC slate for the past 3 weeks and no it doesn't have HeatGate, BatteryGate or any other gate except the ClueLessGate from the haters like you. And ExoPC slate is powered by Intel Atom processors BTW.
        Ram U
  • Should I buy the iPad 3, or wait for the bugs to be fixed?

    Wait because the next model is going to be better than this model.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • The next model usually is better. Grin.

      However, unlike Todd's recommendation .. which is logically sound .. I would advise a person having an iPad 2 (let's not include the iPad 1 in this) that after he has seen the retina display for a decent amount of time and likes what he or she sees and if that person wishes to use or CAN use a 4G data plan than by all means buy the iPad 3. (Sell the iPad 2 or use it as a backup device.)

      Having used the iPad "3" (yes, I know it's just the new iPad) since it came out, the retina display does make that much of a difference in user satisfaction.

      BTW, the observation that the new iPad gives a better user experience that is worth the purchase is an opinion that I am not alone with. There have been several surveys taken (ZDNet has commented on one) that show user satisfaction is very high with this tablet. Of course, those results come from early adopters (like myself) that are predisposed towards Apple products but non-the-less, that observation is still valid.

      So .. let's just say that if a person upgrades from an iPad 2 to the new iPad model, that person should have a very satisfying experience that would justify that purchase.
  • I think you should wait until ALL the flaws and bugs are fixed in the iPad.

    Yes, every single one - no matter how long it takes.

    And while you're waiting for that day.. try something else like a Galaxy Tab Note or an Asus Transformer Infinity.
    • Tab Note? Infinity?

      Which, of course, have absolutely no flaws or bugs themselves.

  • Why talk about non-issues?

    I think the biggest iPad 3 flaw is not having enough flash storage.
    Upgrade to Retina display increases app size greatly, but storage options are the same as iPad 2.