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Apple iPad: The retina display redefines the tablet

Melissa J. Perenson | March 19, 2012
The 2012 refresh of the Apple iPad wows, but not for the reasons so often associated with Apple products.

The third-generation iPad weighs 1.44 pounds for the Wi-Fi-only version and 1.46 pounds for the 4G version. It's a slight but noticeable increase from the iPad 2's weight of 1.33 pounds for the non-3G version and 1.35 pounds for the 3G version. Heavier is not the right direction for tablets to take, and it goes against the trend among competing Android models, which are becoming lighter.

The difference in weight is palpable, and it may become an issue as you use your iPad to show off content, using your dominant hand to navigate, and your weaker hand to support the device. It's also a shame, because this iPad makes reading on an LCD more viable than ever, yet the added weight will deter many people from engaging in long reading sessions. One colleague likened the weight difference between the Toshiba Excite 10 LE and the iPad to the difference between an empty cafeteria tray and another tray laden with a plate of food.

Bottom Line

Although the extra weight is a disappointment, in the scheme of things it doesn't hurt the new iPad's ascent to the throne. Apple remains firmly ahead in terms of an app ecosystem, with more than 200,000 apps deemed "iPad" apps. The new, high-resolution display will pose some challenges to the iOS developer community, but I have no doubt that the community will rise to the occasion quickly, thanks to Apple's insular product strategy.

If you're in the market for a tablet--and if you don't mind the tethers that iOS and Apple impose (devotion to iTunes, the inability to drag and drop files onto the tablet, the lack of file-level control)--then the new iPad is the clear winner. The third-gen Apple iPad redefines the tablet market, and raises the bar impossibly high for the competition.


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