11 reasons why you should ditch Apple’s new iPad

There is no dearth of Apple fans who swear by the new iPad and claim it to be worth every dollar, dirham, or pound sterling that they might have spent to get hold of it.

As it is, advanced features like retina display and 4G LTE make the new iPad stand head and shoulders above every other tablet available in the market today.

But then, there are fans and there are faultfinders – let’s call them critics. While the die-hard fan will see nothing wrong whatsoever in any of Apple’s offerings, the dyed-in-the-wool critic will discover glitches before anyone else can spot them.

As someone who has been trying out the new iPad for a few days now (call me an early adopter, but I just couldn’t resist the temptation of grabbing one with both hands when it made itself available), there are definitely some issues that Apple might want to address at some stage.

Right now, executives at Apple Inc. will be too busy counting the cash – the Cupertino-based tech giant announced, on March 19, 2012, that it had sold 3 million units of the new iPad since its launch on March 16, 2012.

“The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold – the strongest iPad launch yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can’t wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world this Friday.”

So that was 3 million units in 3 days – extrapolating that number, Apple should have sold 10 million units by now (March 26, 2012).

Of course, in the real world, simple math has a habit of giving in to the more complex laws of economics (and physics), and so the sales would have slowed down since the initial launch weekend. Even then, a very conservative estimate would put the number at a minimum of 5 million – no mean feat by any standards.

However, as an early adopter myself, I see it as my duty to warn wannabe iPad owners of the few glitches that I faced, and the numerous that are being brandished in online forums even as you read this.

Here’s my list of the top 11 reasons why you should give the new iPad a miss – at least until Apple executives (designers, programmers… whoever) find the time to fix some of these:

1. It’s hot: This is perhaps the most common and the most well documented criticism about the new iPad. And it does overheat. Even though I keep it wrapped up in a cover, the new iPad doesn’t fail to let its user know that it’s hot. Apple acknowledges the iPad heats up to a maximum of 95°F, or 35°C. As a user, I must say that as it is with weather bulletins, Apple should let its users know what it feels like to hold a device so hot. I'll tell you - it feels much hotter than 35°C to hold a device that hot. Nevertheless, some laptops too get almost as hot – even hotter at times – than 95°F. So, this is something that is up for debate - how hot is too hot for a tablet?

2. Erratic Wi-Fi connectivity: I must admit that, in the few days that I’ve been using the new iPad (mostly at home, in a wi-fi environment), I have not faced any connectivity issues – so far. But there have been widespread reports of Internet connectivity, especially over wi-fi networks. Maybe Apple should investigate this one first.

3. Shockingly limited apps to gainfully employ the retina display: Don’t get me wrong – I am happy with the new retina display – but there are shockingly limited ways one can use the enhanced display. I have indeed downloaded a nice screensaver and paid for a couple of HD games, but there aren’t many good ‘retina display-ready’ apps available right now that would make me go ‘oh wowww’ – know what I mean? This means that those who will wait until more such apps hit the iStore can earn bank interest on the money they’ve set aside to buy the new iPad while early adopters such as yours truly will have to just wait for such apps to materialise. Are you listening, Apple?

4. The more (pixels), the merrier? Hardly: As a tagalong to my limited apps gripe, there is the issue of digital magazines that have not been optimized for such higher resolution display. So while my device is enabled to show every curve and curl in four times as many pixels, the images aren’t ready – yet – to be shown in all their 4x glory. The result is that the iPad 3 applies an anti-aliasing filter to show all low-resolution content, and so the images look just about okay, but the text becomes well-nigh unreadable. Until magazine publishers start publishing editions optimized for the iPad 3, this problem will persist, or so claim the experts. Aaarggh.

5. Not enough storage: Even if you have the max 64GB variant of the new iPad, that isn’t nearly enough to support the additional MBs that every single app will add to the existing load on your iPad. Why? Because the apps that do tango with the retina display are sumo-sized when compared to those that aren’t. While most are at least 50 per cent heavier that the non-souped-up versions, some are twice the size. And not just that, with app-makers upgrading their existing apps for the higher display, users of iPad 1 or 2 who unwittingly upgrade existing apps will see even their storage space dwindle without any accompanying benefits of enhanced display. That’s a double-whammy for last-gen users.

6. Short battery life: Again, I haven’t – yet – faced this issue but I am sure there is more than a grain of truth in the hundreds of irate iPad users commenting about the problems they have been facing with the battery’s life-and-drain cycle. Emirates 24/7 has covered this issue in full over here (Reports of iPad 3 battery charging problem).

7. If you break it, consider it gone: Most people who try to fix the new iPad – when broken – at home will end up breaking the glass. That’s the verdict from iFixit, a consumer gadget repair site that first broke the story about Apple’s use of iPad teardown. It says that its own skilled technicians used a heat gun on the glass to loosen the adhesive, as well as guitar picks and suction cups to lift the glass. According to US-based warranty provider SquareTrade, the latest iPad is more fragile than iPad 2, and shatters when dropped from shoulder height. Don’t try it at home, is all I will say.

8. Overweight: It is indeed much heavier and noticeably thicker than its predecessor, and users have complained that, weight-wise, this tablet is just about as heavy as some of the light netbooks available in the market. There are reasons, of course, for its heavyweight status. The new iPad has binged on a diet of bigger battery, 4G radio, and the much-talked-about retina display. Still, it is heavy and I’ll be surprised to learn that Apple hasn’t already done all it could to release the new iPad after an extended session with the weightwatchers’ technical equivalent.

9. Face Time no good with 4G: Yes, it’s true. Face time works only with wi-fi and not with 4G LTE. What – don’t look at me like that… direct that ‘why’ at Apple!

10. High maintenance: While Apple took pains (ha ha) to maintain the $499 entry-level pricing, the bills that 4G LTE iPad owners will need to shell out every month – especially in a country like the UAE, where telecom rates are one of the steepest in the world – just to keep up with all the new thingamajigs that they will be able to perform on the new device, and it’s bound to be (almost) as expensive to maintain as a you know what. Am still to be hit by the first bill, so fingers-crossed.

11: No Siri, No deal: In the end, Apple disappointed enthusiasts by leaving out its much-talked-about Siri support system. Instead, it offers voice dictation, which is good, but is it good enough? Did Apple leave that for the next avatar of their iPad?

Should I have waited? You tell me in comments below.

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