The New Apple iPad: Faster, Sharper, But Thicker – First Review

By Jonathan Spira on 15 March 2012
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Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking about the new third-generation iPad.  No, not about the absence of its name (although, as many have already mentioned, the lack of a “3” gives one pause).  Rather, I’ve been thinking about its size and weight and display, and whether the trade-off is worth it.

Earlier today, thousands of people lined up at stores from Australia to the Zürich to be among the first to own the new iPad.  There’s already a three-week-plus wait for online orders, so standing on line is the only alternative, if you want it quickly.

Australia is where Apple launched sales of the new iPad earlier today and over 200 people were waiting for the store to open so they could be the very first.  Apple is firt selling the new iPad in ten countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.  Some Apple stores opened early on Friday, and the iPad is also available in the U.S. at stores such as Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Wal-Mart.

But I digress.


Setting up the iPad was about as simple as taking it out of the box and plugging it into my computer. I had already backed up my iPad 2 and the new iPad asked me if I wanted to start from scratch or assume the identity of the prior-generation tablet.

The new iPad offered me the capability of backing up to iCloud daily – a good idea – and to turn on Find My iPad in case I lose it.  Do I want to turn on dictation? Yes, of course. That’s a feature I’ve been waiting for.

Once it was ready to use, at least according to Apple, it still required some fine tuning.  It maintained some of my app groups (news and music), but lost books, finance, auto, and TV.  It also lost my favorite browser, Perfect Browser, which was backed up, but not installed on the new iPad for some reason.  I had to go back and reinstall it.

Finally, after all was said and done, the iPad kept freezing on a page of the New York Times, but a restart seemed to fix that problem, and it’s been flawless ever since.


With the same brightness setting, there’s no question that the new iPad’s pixels are working overtime to give a better image.   With four times the number of pixels (and a more powerful graphics processor to drive them – the reason that the battery and hence the iPad are both slightly bigger – Apple is spot on in calling this a Retina Display. You really cannot see the pixels, even up close – and that’s not the case with older iPads and other tablets.

This is particularly evident in apps that have been rewritten for the new iPad, such as Kindle for iPad.  My book, Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous To Your Organization, never looked better, nor did anything else I opened with the app.

Another app, EverNote, lets you keep track of things you need to do, make lists, and of course, take notes.  Everything looked sharper here as well.

Although it’s not on my daily reading list, I felt I had to look at The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only newspaper.  Once again, I was not disappointed.

Finally, I was surprised to find that the New York Times had gone high def. Despite my strong criticisms of the Grey Lady’s iPad app last year , it’s gotten a lot better and I did a side-by-side comparison between the Times on the iPad 2 and on the new iPad (oops, I almost typed “3”) there.

Perhaps Apple should have called the Retina Display “Magic Glasses” because it really seems to make everything sharper and clearer (and I’m coming at this with really good eyesight to begin with).

Click here to continue to Page 2Dictation, Rear Camera, Wireless, Specs, and Should You Replace Your Current iPad

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