A Week with the iPad 3

The iPad 3 came out a week ago. A quick rundown of iPad users on the site shows that all four editors have the new iPad, and Chris Gavula does too. We have no doubt there will be a few more grabbing one in the weeks to come. Why? Because even though the improvements to the iPad are perhaps technically incremental, we’ve found that they add up to a device which has no equal. Not yet, anyway. Here’s why …

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Dan: I was worried that the iPad 3 would be too heavy and thick, but I’m not finding that to be the case at all. I was also worried that none of my cases would work, but I’m finding that any of my folio style cases that let the iPad slip inside are just fine.

The Screen: The screen is nothing short of stunning. I’d read what others had said about it, and I didn’t doubt them (although the Gizmodo link-bait piece did raise a bit of doubt for a moment), but until you actually pick up one of the new iPads and look at the screen (when it is showing something that has been optimized for it), you can’t really appreciate. To have a screen with this remarkably high-resolution. Wow!!!! It is as crisp and clean as you could ever imagine, and it does make a big difference when using the device. When Jobs first introduced the iPad, he wanted the device to pretty much disappear as you played a game or did some work. With this high of a resolution screen, that happens to an even greater extent. My plan was to only use the new iPad for a day or so, and then go to one of the older versions. That would let me get a real sense of what it is like to try to “downgrade”. I expect the difference is going to be remarkable and one I don’t want to ever have to make.

Voice Recognition: I’ve only used the voice recognition briefly but I’m already finding that it is incredibly handy. I can now see having the iPad propped on my desk at an angle and using it as my primary means for returning email. Sure, the iPhone has voice recognition in email as well but there is something nice about the larger screen and the larger microphone button. I can quickly see myself using the iPad for email over and above using a Mac computer. It’s just so convenient… And accurate.

Camera: More on this in a moment but I’m already a bit disappointed they didn’t upgrade the front facing camera for video chat. No doubt they wanted at least one guaranteed update for the next version of the device.

In short, I’m quite happy that I sold my iPad 2 at about a $200 loss from my initial purchase and went the route of buying the new one. The iPad 2 remains a remarkable device but, if you have one or are considering getting one don’t pick up the new iPad. Seriously, don’t look at one, don’t touch one, don’t go anywhere near one. It could be a fairly costly mistake.

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Michael: After using the new iPad for a couple of days I called it ‘stunning’. After using it for a week … it is just my iPad.

I have said before that I use my iPad for EVERYTHING. Email, web, office notes and documents, quick statistics and graphing, reading books and magazines, listening to music, playing games, creating music, and more. Now I also use it for taking pictures quite often.

I have noticed that, for whatever reason, I like the feel of the on-screen keyboard even more than ever, and of course the gorgeous detail of the screen is simply amazing. But more than that, everything is more responsive, faster and just effortless. Going back to the original iPad there is a considerable difference in the power of the systems.

My kids have noted that more than ever it is my ‘everywhere companion’. Part of this is the 4G plan, which came into play the other night as I had to shuttle both kids around and my older son needed to finish some homework and he grabbed the laptop and used the 4G hotspot on the iPad to get his work finished. This also comes into play at work, where the access over the ‘guest’ network is very limited so having my own 4G network means not worrying about what I can access or not.

Where before I would have used my phone for pictures at work, now I grab my iPad – well, since I always have it with me I really don’t have to grab it. But yesterday I got a new CAD drawing for some measurements that we needed to design, but the scale was so small I couldn’t read many descriptions. I could have gone back to my office, blown up the section and re-printed – but instead I just snapped an iPad picture and looked at the details on-screen!

Oh, and games … better looking than just about anything. Racing games are truly ‘better than console’ in terms of visuals. I haven’t had an issue with battery life or excessive heat in my usage.

I know it for the ‘kewl kids’ it is vogue to pooh pooh the evolutionary changes. But when you already make the best tablet on the planet, and you make a dual-core system that is considerably faster than the geek-drool quad-core system, have the best screen on the market, and STILL get a *real* 10 hour battery life – anyone claiming ‘meh’ was simply looking to say so from the start or is trying to impress someone.

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Dan: As Mike said, the camera is remarkably stunning. Yeah, you still look like a dork using it as a camera but you end up with awesome pictures. I mean, look at this…

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Yes, bit is an evolutionary change but that is a good thing. There was no leaning curve, my cases still work and it is just “better” when it was already awesome.

Some say “Apple pulled an iPhone 4S 🙁 ”

I say “Apple pulled an iPhone 4S 🙂 ”

Chris: I’m absolutely loving mine too! The 2 was nice but I was already happy with my “1”. That thing went everywhere with me! As I said in my comments on Dan’s post the ing that made the new iPad appealing was the improved screen and that text is so much crisper and easier on the eyes. So far I’m not disappointed at all! It is gorgeous – even as I sit here out on the patio at Piada (Italian street food -lol) enjoying the 70+ weather in Columbus this week! 🙂

Photo 16I’ve already commented on what I think of the “meh” crowd. I find it interesting that people (bloggers) keep slamming on a couple of points – that Apple claimed the new iPad was 4x faster than the Tegra 3 (they didn’t say that what they said it was nearly 2x as fast as the Tegra 3 and the GRAPHICS processing was 4x as fast). Interesting thing is that benchmarks coming out now – while not in total agreement – all state that the iPad is faster – significantly. So its becoming clear whose blogs you can trust and who not. It shouldnt be about fanboys and haters – it shouldnt even be about raw specs. It should be about what is giving you the experience that is best for you and who is giving you what you need. What happened to that notion?

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Carly:  I haven’t turned on my ChromeOS laptop since Tuesday. Usually I am glued to that thing from the minute I walk in the door but the iPad serves the same purpose but better!

Judie: All of the things mentioned above are true, and the iPad 3 is most certainly a worthy successor to the line. For the first few days that I had mine, I couldn’t keep my hands off of it. Everything that I was used to doing on an iPad waas suddenly ‘better”, especially reading. For me, the screen is what makes the upgrade absolutely necessary. Pages in the Kindle app appear more crisp, and photos in the Zinio app seem to pop from the page.

A Week with the iPad 3

image from March 12 Interactive National Geographic on Zinio; click to enlarge

We all know that there are quite a few iPhone apps which have never been ported to the iPad; while we have always had the ability to zoom them in 2X, the result was usually a less than optimal pixelated image. That no longer seems to be the case. iPhone apps rendered on the iPad look much better than I could have ever hoped. Take a look at this comparison:


A Week with the iPad 3

Scramble (an iPhone only game) on ipad 2; click to enlarge

A Week with the iPad 3

Scramble (and iPhone only game) on iPad 3; click to enlarge


So let’s go to the negatives because, yeah there are some …

Chris: Okay I’ve said many positive things about the new iPad, but I’m also noting a couple of negatives. I’ve already read the first in online reviews – the battery – much bigger than the previous battery – takes a long time to charge. I am guessing that this is because the battery is bigger but the charging rate is unchanged, hence a longer charging cycle. Second thing – my iPad is frequently warm when in use – even when not plugged in. I notice it more on the left side of the device. Anyone else notice this? Last – even when in and charging, if I try to use the iPad – while charging – it still drains a little faster than it charges. This is with everything on – full brightness (auto managed brightness turned off), cellular data active (but operating on WiFi). Of course this gets much more pronounced when running games.

Dan: Yup. It does get warm. Less so today than yesterday but it is there.

My biggest issue with it does not come as a surprise- the battery life with LTE on is not great. I don’t have specific numbers to which I can refer but I do watch the battery level drop too quickly when it is on and have taken to turning LTE off unless I really need the speed.

Wrapping Up: So what is our take after a week and a day? I think it is safe to say that we are all rather pleased. I think Judie said it best when she wrote, “Everything that I was used to doing on an iPad was suddenly ‘better”…” That really does sum it up for me. The camera is better. (I used it a ton this morning on a preschool field trip and it worked beautifully). The voice recognition is amazing. And it certainly feels like typing is more responsive. In all, the new iPad looks like the iPad 2 and despite being a tad heavier and thicker it feels like the iPad 2. But the overall experience, that is just “better”. And the iPad 2 was no slouch!

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.