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As you’re no doubt aware thanks to the blanket coverage all across the Web, Apple unveiled its latest hardware on March 7. That hardware being “the new iPad,” or “iPad (third-generation),” or, as most people will call it, the iPad 3. Because that’s what it is.
While all the Apple fanboys and fangirls virtually creamed their pants in anticipation of spending five minutes with the new iPad, some of us weren’t quite so impressed. Below are five reasons I think the iPad 3 sucks, and I didn’t even touch on the lack of haptic feedback, stylus support, SD and USB slots, or the non-appearance of a smaller version. All of which were suggested by MakeUseOf readers in a recent ‘We Ask [You] Tell Us‘ column.
The New iPad (iPad 3)
The new iPad or iPad 3 was launched on March 7, and will be in stores by the time you read this. Well, a placeholder will be in stores; the actual product itself will likely have sold out. Whether that means I am wrong in not being impressed or whether it merely means there are enough lemmings willing to pay a small fortune for an incremental upgrade depends on your point of view. A point of view I’d love to hear in the comments section below.
Here is why I think the iPad 3 sucks, regardless.
1. The Name
What’s in a name? Nothing, apparently, but try telling that to the ordinary consumers who are going to get confused by the dropping of the number 3. It means we have had ‘the iPad,’ the iPad 2,’ and ‘the iPad3’. Which is lame. On the Apple website the iPad 3 is being referred to as “the new iPad,” which is just going to add to the confusion.
What happens next year when around this time the iPad 4 is released? Will that then be sold as “the new new iPad?” Or does that simply become “the new iPad” and make the iPad 3 “the old iPad?” Even I am confused just talking about it. So I hate to think how confused an average non-tech-minded consumer will get.
That confusion just plays into Apple’s hands, of course. They will likely sell more of the latest model iPad as a result of dropping the number. What self-respecting Apple fan will possibly be able to live with themselves when they don’t have “the new iPad?” Each and every year.
2. The Price
The price of the iPad has remained consistent throughout, with the 16GB, Wi-Fi-only base model priced at $499, with other versions costing considerably more. Apple fans will tell you this is a great deal thanks to the adding of new features and improvements to the hardware. However, this dismisses the notion that the cost of materials and manufacture should have been reduced to the point that the price could have been cut.
It turns out that Apple’s profit margin has actually lessened by around 6 percent thanks to the Retina Display etc. But that still leaves the company making a massive 51 percent profit (estimated) on every iPad 3 sold. Which is more than a company such as Apple needs to make.
Why not lower the price at this point to allow more people to own an iPad? The profit margin may drop from 50 percent to, say, 25 percent, but is Apple really going to miss that money when it’s worth $500 billion?
3. Thicker and Heavier
Just like the guy in the picture above, the iPad 3 has been eating too many pies and missing trips to the gym. Making it thicker and heavier than its predecessor, the “old” iPad 2. The increase in thickness, from 8.8mm to 9.4mm, won’t be noticeable to most, but the weight increase, from 600g to 652g, probably will.
I know we’re talking tiny amounts here, but shouldn’t the iPad be getting slimmer and lighter as it matures? On a practical level it also means some older iPad cases will not be suitable to use with the new model. As if Apple doesn’t squeeze enough cash out of you up front it then makes a design decision that will see many having to spend more money on a new case.
4. No Siri
Siri hasn’t made it to the iPad. Instead, simple voice dictation has. Which just doesn’t cut the mustard. Siri was an obvious candidate for inclusion on the iPad 3, and yet Apple chose not to go that way. The Apple zealots will tell you it’s because the servers couldn’t handle all those new requests, but that is hogwash.
In terms of hardware the iPad 3 is more than capable of handling Siri. Hell, even older models of the iPhone can handle Siri when they’re hacked to do so. This leaves just one reason why Apple decided not to make Siri standard on the new iPad: to keep selling the iPhone 4S. The only reason to buy a 4S over an iPhone 4 is Siri. Put it on the iPad 3 as well and it suddenly loses its exclusive-to-iPhone 4S luster.
5. Another Incremental Update
Finally, we come to the main reason the iPad 3 sucks: it’s really not all that much better than the iPad 2. The Retina Display is the only big improvement from the previous iteration of the hardware. A new rear-facing camera? I don’t need it. 4G LTE? Only any good in the U.S. for the foreseeable future. A new slightly-better CPU? Whoop. And that’s about it.
This is yet another incremental update from Apple. What’s worse is the increments seem to be getting smaller as time goes on. In a decade I fully expect Apple to be declaring its new hardware far superior to its old hardware because just one insignificant thing has been changed. And the faithful will be so ensconced in their near-religious love for the company by that stage they’ll happily play (and pay) along.
In my opinion Apple has, in the iPad 3, released an overpriced, underwhelming product. And they won’t even let you call it the iPad 3. Because numbers are now uncool, or something.
That isn’t to say I think the iPad 3 is in any way a bad product. It’s probably the best tablet on the market right now, despite there being some great Android alternatives. I just think Apple could have done more – on pricing, on features, on making it a worthwhile upgrade – but chose to do the bare minimum it could do whilst still guaranteeing sales.
Which is something to bear in mind when you’re in your local Apple Store debating whether to part with your hard-earned cash.