After my glowing first impressions post regarding the new iPad, I have now spent a few days (instead of just an hour, as with my "first impressions" post) with the device. As such, I've gathered a list of 7 critiques of the new iPad; things that you will want to be aware of, especially if you plan on purchasing one. Despite these shortcomings, I love the new iPad and I have no problem whatsoever with replacing my iPad 2 with it. It's just going to take a little while before I can fully enjoy it, as you will see.
If you plan on playing the games that show off the graphic capabilities of the new iPad, then prepare to experience quite a bit of heat in your hand. The section pointed out in the image above is where it gets the hottest -- presumably, where the quad-core GPU is located. The heat dissipates quickly across the rest of the device, but only the farthest corner diagonally remains mostly unaffected.
I'm really curious to see someone take temperature readings of the new iPad after 20-30 minutes of graphic-intensive gaming. It doesn't become too hot to handle for me, but it might for young children or those with relatively sensitive hands. If you flip it over to play upside-down, then you'll be covering the speaker with your left hand. Time to break out the headphones, I guess?
With a screen containing a resolution as high as the new iPad sports, you need some pretty sizable files to take advantage of all the available pixels. For someone like me who loves games that really show off the graphic capabilities of the iPad, I've a feeling that 64GB is going to fill up ridiculously fast on the new iPad. Also, if you plan on storing any significant amount of 1080p content for viewing, then you can count on most likely having to interchange files with unsatisfactory frequence. Speaking of 1080p content, onward to my next critique...
The new iPad, in all of its Retinal glory, suffers from the exact same issue as all previous iPad versions: poor aspect ratio for viewing video. While I have certainly adjusted to 4x3, it's a bummer to not be able to enjoy a truly full-screen experience with 1080p content on such a beautiful display without giving up some portion of video. In the two pictures above, the top one is of a video scaled to its native resolution, which shows black bars above and below the video. The bottom picture is the same video full-screened, which chops off around 10%-12% of both sides of the video. Ouch.
Yes, the new Retina display looks terrific; however, there just aren't enough apps currently in the App Store to take advantage of the awesome resolution. Right now, Apple has a special section in the App Store that's dedicated to a whopping 42 apps for the new iPad -- most of which are unappealing to me, personally. As such, some of us early adopters of the new iPad are going to have to just wait it out while app developers upgrade currently-existing apps or develop new ones. I don't mind that, but just be aware that if you're looking to purchase the new iPad, there currently isn't a whole heck of a lot in the App Store that will allow you to take full advantage of the new Retina display.
You know what would be amazing? The ability to import/export data to/from the new iPad via an SD or micro SD card. I can't imagine it would take much to fit such a feature into the form factor of the new iPad, and it would really make life easier for things like transporting pictures and video -- especially with the addition of the 5MP camera. Sorry, Apple, but iCloud and iTunes syncing every single time is going to get old; never mind scenarios where neither are an option and you want/need to share pics/video. Plus, such an addition could allow for someone to make more out of a filled-up 64GB new iPad.
I find Apple's decision to include a quarter-hearted Siri -- which they call "Dictation" -- a bit odd. Honestly, if Apple expects me to use my iPad as a camera while I'm traveling or walking around with my family at a farmer's market (or wherever it is they show in their promo video), why wouldn't they just give me the complete package and include Siri -- especially if I have a 4G model? From the looks of things, dictation works similarly to Siri, in that it sends your voice input to Apple's servers. It's just such a strange "feature" to pare from Siri, I think.
Okay, I know this seems nitpicky, but hear me out. First of all, I can't tell you how many times I've found myself in the middle of intense game-play, only to realize that my left hand is covering the speaker. That, or if I want to use my iPad normally with it rested on me (like if I'm laying in bed), I have to use it upside-down so the speaker isn't covered. I know it's all about design and form factor, but there is certainly better placement for the speaker. Next, I'm an audiophile. I like lossless music, I produce my own music, and I'm hyper-aware of audio engineering decisions. On the iPad, listening to movies or music in headphones is terrific (as long as you're listening through something other than Apple's headphones); but it's sometimes painful to discover the audio engineering decisions (or lack thereof) of certain app developers when it comes to planning for built-in speaker audio vs. headphone audio.
To give you a good example, go play Infinity Blade II. On the built-in speaker, there are times where the audio clarity changes, but that's about it; however, when you plug in headphones, the audio channels are just funky. For this one scenario, I was listening to the character approach a treasure chest. Well, when the sound of the treasure chest opening was played, the sound was in the wrong audible space. Imagine if you dropped a coin on the ground, but the sound of it hitting the ground came from behind you. Same kind of deal.
So, while the latter is more the fault of the developer than the iPad, the issues I've always had with audio on the iPad carry on. And now, when I do manage to hold the iPad correctly while gaming without headphones, I have a fireball to content with holding, thanks to the massive amount of heat this thing produces.