The early reviews are in and it's no surprise that Apple's new iPad is receiving heaps of praise. Here are some interesting discoveries made by the reviewers.
10 iPad Annoyances, Solved
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Apple seeded review units of the new iPad to the usual cast of characters and those reviews hit the Web Wednesday evening. All the reviews say pretty much the same thing: the screen is amazing; the LTE 4G speeds are unreal; the "retina" display dazzles; the camera is much better; it's slightly thicker and heavier; the new processor is plenty powerful; and, oh, did we mention that the screen is unbelievable?
What I found most interesting, however, are the small, unexpected tidbits unearthed by the reviews. Here are a few.
1. No FaceTime over LTE. TheVerge.com discovered during its review of the new iPad that FaceTime won't work over LTE. FaceTime is, of course, Apple's video chatting application. When it launched in 2010, Apple noted that it would only work via Wi-Fi, though might some day work over 3G networks. Now that we've progressed to 4G networks, many expected that limitation to be lifted. No dice. Disappointing, to say the least, especially because the new iPad can serve as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
2. Bigger battery = longer charging time. In TechCrunch's review, M.G. Siegler discovered that the new iPad's larger battery takes longer to charge. He wrote, "While the new battery clearly isn't much bigger than the old one, it can hold much more juice (42 watt-hours versus 25-watt-hours). The downside of this is that I've found it takes quite a bit longer to charge the new iPad. As in several hours — you'll probably want to do it overnight." That's a bit of a bummer, but I suppose not all that surprising.
3. The apps are much bigger. The retina display offers four times as many pixels at twice the resolution. Apple has released optimized versions of its core iPad apps (iPhoto, iMovie, etc.) for the new screen and the app files consume a lot more storage space. MacRumors reports that Keynote, for example, increased from 115MB to 327MB, Numbers increased from 109MB to 283MB, Pages increased from 95MB to 269MB, and iMovie bulked up from 70MB to 404MB. Why is this significant? Bigger apps means less room for other content, such as music and videos.
4. The front camera is stuck at VGA. Apple improved the new iPad's main camera from 1 megapixel to 5 megapixels, added back-side illumination, and added image stabilization for the 1080p HD video mode. The user-facing camera, used for FaceTime video chats, is the same crummy VGA camera, however. VGA--0.33 megapixels--is pretty bad. Although you don't need super fine quality cameras for video chats, a slight bump in capabilities of the user-facing camera was expected.
5. The dictation actually works. Though many are disappointed that Apple omitted its Siri voice-assistant from the new iPad, it did include a voice dictation tool. With this tool, users can speak to their iPad, which will translate their spoken words into text on the screen. It doesn't set calendar appointments, but reviewers said the dictation feature does a very good job for what it is.
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