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2,701 of 2,812 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Predictably Remarkable. The best tablet in its 10" class.
I was able to secure the new iPad at our local Apple store, but I also got to spend some time with a review model beforehand. In any case, I'll take you hands-on with the new model, plus I'll share my experience from my past two years of iPad ownership altogether, especially for those who haven't yet had an iPad to call their own. I'll also reveal a treasure trove of info...
Published on March 16, 2012 by Scott Showalter

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1,643 of 1,730 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but ...
I've been a big iPad fan and was waiting anxiously for the third generation to come out. I bought the original iPad, and when the 2 came out, I happily sold the 1 and upgraded. I was thrilled with the thinner, lighter and improved iPad 2. So naturally, when word came out that the third one was about to be released in March 2012, I was right on board to buy one. Sold...
Published on March 25, 2012 by Bookenz


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2,701 of 2,812 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Predictably Remarkable. The best tablet in its 10" class., March 16, 2012
This review is from: Apple iPad MC705LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black) 3rd Generation (Personal Computers)
I was able to secure the new iPad at our local Apple store, but I also got to spend some time with a review model beforehand. In any case, I'll take you hands-on with the new model, plus I'll share my experience from my past two years of iPad ownership altogether, especially for those who haven't yet had an iPad to call their own. I'll also reveal a treasure trove of info on how you can legitimately download tons of quality apps and games for free, in hopes of making this the most helpful iPad review on Amazon!

For those interested, I've also compiled two iPad listmania lists:

Must-Have iPad Accessories: http://www.amazon.com/lm/R1M3AJDBR2BCA7?tag=1pad-20&ie=UTF8
iPad vs. Other Tablets: http://www.amazon.com/lm/R3QLZ307253XU6?tag=1pad-20&ie=UTF8

My review tends to run long, so I've organized information by section, with headings, to make it more helpful for those just looking for specific info. For example, see the heading "Downloading Apps and Games" for the info on obtaining free apps and games!

First, let's quickly cover what's new, and what each means for you:
+ Retina Display - twice the resolution of the iPad 2, at 2048 x 1536 pixels (264px/in)
+ 5 megapixel rear-facing camera - take photos with over 8x higher resolution and quality than the iPad 2 (but still no flash)
+ Dual-core 1GHz A5X processor with quad-core graphics - better multitasking and flawless high-res graphics performance
+ 4G LTE capable - faster mobile connections on AT&T and Verizon when in 4G-LTE-covered network area

If you're considering the now-cheaper iPad 2, here's a quick recap of what was new last year:
+ Dual-core 1GHz A5 Processor - better multitasking, 9-times faster graphics
+ 3-Axis Gyroscope - allows for higher precision and more motion gestures
+ Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through with Apple Digital AV Adapter (sold separately)
+ Rear-facing camera - supports 960 x 720 sized photos (0.6 megapixels), plus 720p HD videos
+ Front-facing VGA-quality camera - VGA-quality is a resolution of 640 x 480 (0.3 megapixels)
+ Verizon 3G model now available - no longer limited to just AT&T for the WiFi+3G model
+ Thinner, lighter and smoother with contoured back - feels more comfortable in your hands

The iPad 2 brought a lot more new features to the iPad lineup, but the 3rd generation iPad still brings us some welcome new features. First, it sports the new A5X processor. Don't be confused though, it's not really that much better than the iPad 2's, and it's not technically a quad-core processor. The CPU itself remains dual-core, but the graphics processor built-into the CPU chip can compute 4 streams of graphics information, thus making the graphics aspect of the A5X processor quad-core. It's confusing, I know. To be honest, there was no noticeable improvement in performance over the iPad 2, except maybe behind the scenes where it handles 4x more pixels. In general, everything on the new iPad runs just as smooth as it always has, which is as to be expected from Apple! But I imagine the new processor has particularly been used to speed up image processing for the new 5 megapixel camera, making photography just about as snappy as it is on the iPhone 4S, which I own as well. 4G support was also a nice surprise that had been rumored.

On the other hand, other rumors didn't exactly pan-out, including an SD card slot for photos and file storage, nor the possibility of a smaller, more manageable 7" iPad model, but I'm still holding out hope for one in the future (UPDATE: a 7.9" iPad Mini has now been released, and you can now read my review of it too: http://www.amazon.com/review/R18KRNCDSS963I?tag=1pad-20&ie=UTF8). Thankfully, the price stays the same for these new models, but that is as to be expected. As a boon for those who don't really plan to use the new high-res camera nor need the Retina display or 4G speed, the iPad 2 is going to stick around for a while longer, with a new lower price for those in the market!

===== My Background =====

I'm a website and mobile app developer who's created a few apps and games for iOS devices, including the iPad. I also develop websites, so I like to ensure that those sites look and perform well on the device too, since it's continually growing in popularity for surfing the Web with over the past two years. I've spent lots of time with both the iPad and various Android-based tablets, and I have to be honest... apps are what make the iPad (and other iDevices) so great. Android tablets have the benefit of price and size, but Android apps available for tablets are terribly mediocre! They're also not as responsive as the iPad, at least not after you load them up with apps, games and other junk.

I'm no Apple fanboy, but I can recognize quality hardware and software when I see it, and as far as 10" tablets are concerned, the new iPad simply can't be beat, but that's mostly due to Apple's knack for high-end hardware, plus the ridiculously huge following of quality app developers that Apple can boast about. With over 200,000 apps just for the iPad alone, there's more than enough to keep you busy!

===== First Impression =====

Unboxing any new device certainly has its appeal, but the iPad has an allure all its own, and the new model is just as touch-worthy as its older siblings, especially when it's fresh out of the box and accompanied by that scent synonymous with new electronics. But when you turn it on for the first time it becomes clear: there's something different about this new model, especially if you've been using the iPad 2 for a while. There's a rich, vibrant crispness to the image that wasn't there before. It's almost like the screen isn't there at all, as if the silky-smooth graphics are just floating there.

===== Interaction Experience =====

Thanks to the powerful processor, animations and transitions remain smooth on the new iPad, even on a Retina screen with 4-times more pixels! Plus, text on the new model is crisper than ever, even in apps that haven't been retweeked for the new Retina display. Meanwhile, where the iPad really shines is with its continuation of a phenomenal multi-touch interface that is second to none, seriously. Android tablets and other devices may tout "multi-touch" support, but usually this just means they support 2-finger gestures like pinch-style zooming. The iPad touch-screen, on the other hand, supports up to ten simultaneous touches. Nothing new here, but still worth mentioning, especially for tablet newcomers. So if an iPad app ever needs to support that many touches, the iPad is ready. For example, the most common app supporting ten simultaneous touches is the piano app.

===== So What Can the iPad Actually Do? =====

Naturally, there are things you can do with the iPad right out of the box. You can browse the Web with Safari, set up your email, download your photos and videos to your iPad via iTunes, as well as shoot new photos and videos using either of the two built in cameras. You can also surf YouTube and watch your favorite videos via Apple's built-in YouTube app. There's also an iPod built in, so you can listen to your favorite tunes via the Music app, or download new music via the iTunes app. Another popular iPad app is iBooks, which lets you download and read e-books on your iPad. You can also jot notes, manage your calendar and contacts. You can even chat with other Apple-device users via FaceTime (over WiFi only). Of course, the fun and usefulness of the iPad doesn't stop there. The App Store app is your portal to unending games and utilities. One thing Apple has been really good at is showing off just what you can do with the iPad. App developers have undoubtedly been busy creating unique experiences through their iPad apps, most of which have yet to be rivaled by (or ported to) Android and other tablets.

You can also download two additional Apple-made apps: iBooks, which lets you download and read ebooks easily on your device, and iWork, Apple's office-document editing suite, a trilogy of apps which consists of: Pages (for editing word processing documents), Numbers (for editing spreadsheets) and Keynote (for editing PowerPoint-like slideshows); Each of the three apps can be downloaded separately for $9.99 each. Completely reworked for the iPad, the complete iWork suite will set you back a whole thirty bucks. So be aware of that before you go ahead and grab the iPad for use with work-related document editing, and so forth.

Also note that if you do intend to use the iPad for heavy writing or word-processing purposes, you'll find that your ability to type quickly will be greatly inhibited by the virtual keyboard. Thus, you should snag the external keyboard as well, but I'll explain a few typing techniques below. Either way, be prepared to pay more than merely the price for the iPad alone if you intend to transform the iPad into something a little more productive than it might be for you out of the box.

===== Downloading Apps and Games =====

Downloading apps on your iPad couldn't be easier. Once you set up your iTunes account with a password and credit card, all you need to do is find the app you want from the App Store, tap the button at the top with the app's price, then tap again to confirm. Enter your password (once per session), and voila, you just bought an app. Behind the scenes, Apple charges your card for the amount of the app plus tax, while you're already off enjoying your new app. This ease of access is a blessing and a curse, because you can easily empty your wallet if you're not carefully considering each purchase.

All apps in the App Store range in price from Free and 99 cents on up, always incrementing in whole dollar amounts (1.99, 2.99, 3.99, etc). The maximum price for an app is set to $999.99, of which there are only eight currently priced so outrageously. And don't even think of toying with them. Apple does not allow refunds on apps you have purchased--all sales are final!

Now for the juicy money-saving secrets of the App Store! With the proper resources, you can legitimately download thousands of high quality apps for free. I do it all the time and it is perfectly legal. You see, Apple allows developers to temporarily put their apps on sale (and even drop the price to free). Usually they do this to get you to write some rave reviews for their apps. The secret to success is having the resources to help you spot these special app sales--so you know when and where to get them during these often extremely-limited-time promotions.

There are several resources you can use, both on the Web and on the iPad itself. I prefer to use an app called "AppShopper" that lists all apps that recently went on sale or dropped to free. You can filter just iPad apps, or show iPhone apps as well, and you can also filter just the free products or just the sale apps. But so many apps go on sale, making it hard to cut through the clutter, which is where AppShopper truly shines: the "popular" tab shows only the most popularly downloaded sale apps. If several other people aren't downloading an app, you won't see it listed there! AppShopper is a phenomenal little gem, and it has gotten me tons of apps FREE! It also has a companion website that lists the same apps. You can even create an account and track the apps you own, so you don't end up trying to redownload them if they go on sale again! It also supports watch lists (via your account) with push notifications, and can alert you whenever an app you're interested in goes on sale. It's a real thing of beauty! There are other apps such as AppZappPush, AppSniper, AppAdvice, Apps Gone Free, and more, but none of them leverage the power of the masses to help you filter out the unwanted apps. Feel free to check them out if you like, though!

===== Typing on the iPad =====

Typing on the iPad can be annoying at times, but I mostly chalk that up to it being 10-inches. Being touted more as a Web browser and email device than an e-book reader, with the added potential that you'll be using it to edit office documents, typing on the device can quickly become a concern. First, realize that the iPad's no laptop--you won't be speed-typing, so it may not be conducive for heavy usage like typing lengthy emails or blogging, let alone writing this review. With that in mind, there are a couple approaches you can try to determine what typing method is right for you. The ideal method might also change depending on where you are and how the iPad is oriented when using it.

Typing Method #1: Thumbs
The most flexible approach is to type with your thumbs, which can be done whether sitting or standing. In portrait mode: grasp the bottom of your iPad with your palms facing each other, and your pinky fingers towards you for the iPad to rest on. To stabilize the iPad and prevent it from flopping over and falling out of your hands, stretch both of your index fingers upwards towards the top of the iPad as much as is comfortable. Using your thumbs, hunt & peck the keys on the virtual keyboard to your heart's content. Alternately, thanks to iOS 5, thumb-typing in landscape mode has now become painless. Normally, the keyboard is still docked to the bottom of the screen, and can be hard to reach the center of the keyboard with thumbs. However, if you press and hold the show/hide button on the bottom right corner of the keyboard. You can then choose to split the keyboard, with makes it easier for your thumbs to reach all keys, when the iPad is in landscape mode. You can also choose to undock the keyboard, which centers it vertically on the screen, instead of at the bottom.

Typing Method #2: Full Fingers
I've found this next method to be even more useful, though it requires you to be is best used while seated, with the iPad in resting in your lap, or on something soft, preferably with the iPad in landscape mode. With the iPad situated securely on your legs, you'll find it becomes easier to type with your full range of digits (fingers), like you would on a full sized physical keyboard. I find it slightly awkward, though, to hit the spacebar frequently with the side of my thumbs as you typically would on a physical keyboard. Still, whether you use your thumbs for the spacebar, or decide to use your fingers instead, you'll still find yourself typing slightly faster than with the thumbs-only hunt-and-peck method. Also, this typing method doesn't work well with the iPad resting any anything hard and flat like a desk or table, as the rounded backside of the iPad causes it to wobble uncontrollably while trying to type. However, if placement on a hard surface is a must, you might try putting something soft under the iPad to stabilize it.

Typing Method #3: Speech to Text
Now, Apple has brought us an even more convenient way to type, thanks to Siri! Just hit the microphone icon on the lower-left side of the keyboard, and start speaking. In most cases, your words will be transcribed into the currently active text field, with potentially mis-interpreted words underlined in blue. Just select any such word, and a list of possible alternates will pop up for your choosing. You can also speak most punctuation, such as 'period', 'open-paren', 'close-paren', 'hyphen' and more. At times though, network congestion does hinder the ability for this feature to work properly, so hopefully that will improve over time.

Other methods of typing on the iPad include the external keyboard, as well as third party speech-to-text transcription apps, but with Siri's voice transcription feature built in, the latter is no longer necessary.

===== Web Browsing =====

Alongside email, and spending money in the app store, Web browsing is one of Apple's biggest suggestions for using the device. The iPad was born to surf the Web, but content on the Web is often best viewed vertically, and the new Retina display's 2048x1536 resolution renders that content more crisply than ever, especially in portrait orientation (vertical). Working within the Safari Web-browsing app, the interface is swift and responsive.

However, not all your sites will work desirably on the iPad. Apple closed-mindedly refuses to support Adobe Flash on the iPad (as it has with the iPhone/iPod Touch). However, regardless of whether Apple likes it or not, Flash is being used around the Web, not only for advertising and video but for many other uses from graphs to product comparisons, but they don't seem to care anyway. The same lack of support is true of Java, AIR, Silverlight and others though. So expect some of your sites to only be supported to a certain degree, if not entirely in some cases. This can be a bit of a bummer until Flash starts being replaced with other technologies like HTML5's canvas technology, which is poised to take on some of Flash's most familiar capabilities. Alternately, you can jailbreak your iPad (when a jailbreak is released for the new model), which would allow you to circumvent the Flash limitation.

Granted, I don't often actually find myself surfing the web with the iPad for a few reasons. First of all, I prefer the display to be parallel with my face, but for the iPad that means craning my neck downwards and after a while that gets tiring. I also tend to do a lot of typing on the sites I use, and typing a lot on the iPad isn't really an enjoyable experience. There are however some keyboard alternatives if you decide that on-screen typing isn't for you. I just find it easier to work from a laptop when I'm on the go, and the 11" MacBook Air fits that bill simply enough for me. Finally, when I browse the Web (on my computer), I typically have more than 9 tabs open at any given time. I say that because the iPad's browser limits you to 9 tabs. If you rarely use more than 9 tabs when browsing the Web though, the iPad may be right for you.

===== Email, IM and Social Networking =====

Email on the iPad's Mail app is best viewed in landscape mode, as it allows you to see both your list of messages on the left as well as the selected message itself on the right. It also makes managing emails easier, such as moving messages to other folders (or to the trash). Another reason for landscape mode is to make typing those lengthy emails easier (using typing-method #2 mentioned above).

You can have multiple email accounts, including Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, MobileMe, Microsoft Exchange and other custom POP3 and IMAP accounts.

Important Note: With the growing number of portable web connecting devices, there is one concern I want to express on your behalf. When you close the Mail app, it continues running in the background, even after disconnecting from one WiFi hotspot and reconnecting to another. My concern with this is that if haven't set up your e-mail with a secure connection, and you connect to a public WiFi hotspot that a malicious user is monitoring, then the instant your mail app connects to the hotspot to check your e-mail, your e-mail credentials may be suddenly compromised. To avoid this you definitely want to be using some kind of secure connection for your e-mail if at all possible. Web-based email such as Gmail typically support this out of the box, and Gmail accounts are the easiest to setup on the iPad.

===== Media =====

If you own an iPhone or iPod Touch, it's comforting to know that you audio/video experience will be similar on the iPad. You can watch videos via the YouTube app, which has been updated for the iPad to show YouTube HD videos beautifully. While the 2048x1536 resolution of the iPad is a standard 4:3 aspect ratio, not a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, the HD videos as well as other video (including downloads from the iTunes store) display just fine, albeit with black bars. Some may not like that though, but I don't see a wide-screen iPad coming to market for a while.

The Netflix and Hulu+ apps are great for members of those online video streaming services. Netflix videos stream quickly and even moving the play position back and forth in the timeline, the movie starts playing very quick without much time rebuffering the video. For those who want to watch live TV, I also recommend getting yourself a Slingbox and snagging the SlingPlayer app to stream live TV to your iPad. I do that, and it works quite well!

===== Photography and Video =====

The new iPad brings a phenomenal new high-quality 5MP camera to market that picks up where the iPad 2's half-megapixel camera left off. 5 lenses inside the aperture, and the more powerful processor, combine to create the sharpest iPad image yet. Even low-light pictures are better than ever, though there's still room for improvement there. There's also a new iPhoto app from Apple (for five bucks) that lets you organize, edit and share your photos right on the iPad!

As if that's not enough, there's built-in Picture Frame mode that lets you use the iPad's gorgeous Retina display to showcase your favorite photos, using clever transition effects like "Dissolve" with "Zoom in on Faces", or the nifty multi-photo "Origami" effect. In this review's comments, I'll include a helpful link to an article that shows you how to set up and use this mode.

Plus, you can now record full-HD (1080p) videos, instead of just the previous 720p videos. Though I must warn you, in you plan to shoot a lot of video with the iPad (or even the iPhone 4S), you'll want to go with a 32GB or 64GB model! These incredibly high-quality videos take up an incredibly large amount of storage space!

===== Productivity =====

Productivity carries numerous definitions. Usually its "getting something done" though some people tend to believe that it's the ability to focus without being distracted, which I see as one of the iPad's strengths because of its one-app-seen-at-a-time multitasking approach.

In the context of software though, applications that allow you to edit office documents are commonly referred to as productivity software. Apple's own suite of productivity apps, collectively called "iWork", has been re-created from the ground up just for the iPad. (Previously it was only available for Macs.) For work-minded individuals, it will probably one of the most popular uses of the iPad. There are three apps in all: Pages is a word processing app that allows you to create and edit word processing documents. Then there's Numbers, which allows you to create and edit spreadsheets. Finally there's Keynote, which lets you create or edit presentations and slideshows (including PowerPoint files). So far, I've found the latter to be pretty invaluable in giving personal presentations within small groups or one-on-one meetings.

However, there is a whole category of iPhone and iPad-specific apps dedicated to productivity, and they're naturally located under the category titled "productivity" in the categories section of the app store. Remember, any app that works for the iPhone will run on the iPad, but do note that there are some exceptional productivity apps made or updated for the iPad specifically. Some notable iPad-specific productivity apps include Bento (personal organization/information management), Things (project management), iTeleport (remote desktop/VNC), Layers (drawing/painting), and GoodReader (best PDF+ reader around).

===== Gaming =====

If you're like me, you probably don't have time for games. Ultimately, I still see the iPad as a productivity device more than as a gaming console. Regardless, the iPhone and iPad changed the game on that. Millions of people use their computers for gaming, and with the iPhone and iPod Touch having taken on a clear role as a gaming console that has been as revolutionary for mobile gaming as the Wii was for living-room gaming, it goes without saying that the iPad is, and will continue to be, a decent platform for playing games. Most Android games look terrible on tablet-sized screens, but iPad game developers have taken care of us with good quality iPad versions of most iPhone games. Board games and lap-friendly games are also perfect for the iPad. Meanwhile, I suspect that games heavily dependent on device-rotation and other accelerometer-based interaction may quickly wear you out do to the weight of the iPad. I got tired of playing EA's Need For Speed: Shift after about 5 minutes. Resting the iPad on my knee didn't help much.

===== Printing =====

Printing with the iPad is really hit-or-miss. The ability to print documents right from your iPad came along last year, with the iOS 4 update, but there are some caveats. Your printer must support "AirPrint" or, if yours doesn't, you might have some success working with some software called Printopia (if you have a Mac with a shared printer). Google AirPrint or Printopia for more info and device compatibility. From there, printing is easy. The iPad will walk you through the process of locating the printer and setting up the printing options the first time around. For more information about printing with your iPad, I'll linked to some informative off-site pages in the first comment for this review.

===== Security =====

With portable devices, there should always be some level of concern regarding the safety and protection of your data. The iPad deliver surprisingly well in the area, providing several layers of security to protect your data. You can require complex passcodes to securely access important information, encrypt data whether stored or transferred over WiFi, and even remotely wipe everything from your iPad instantly in the event of theft or loss (with subscription to Apple's MobileMe service).

===== Praise =====

+ Apple continues its trend of creating the best multi-touch experience around. Android doesn't even come close
+ The Retina Display - Phenomenal! Kudos for bringing it to the iPad as well as the iPhone and iPod touch
+ High performance 1GHz A5X processor - provides performance power for cutting-edge gaming and multitasking
+ Multitasks like a dream with iOS 5 and the powerful dual-core central processor
+ Rear camera - 5 megapixel photography goodness, plus it can do 1080p HD video (up from 720p)
+ 4G LTE option - It's clearly the next big thing for improving connection speed when away from WiFi

===== Dissappointments =====

+ The 10" model is not very portable, it's often just too bulky and heavy to tote around or hold up for long durations
» UPDATE: a 7.9" iPad Mini has now been released, see my in-depth review of it here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R18KRNCDSS963I?tag=1pad-20&ie=UTF8
+ No true GPS - IP-based location just doesn't cut it, and GPS has no subscription fee or contract to use like assisted (cellular) GPS does
+ No 128GB model - would have been useful for high-res videos that look great on the Retina display, or hold more of those huge 1080p videos
+ No USB or SD card slot - for storage expansion, or more importantly, importing pics from your external camera to the new iPhoto app
+ Front facing camera - great for FaceTime communication, but it only works over WiFi, Apple isn't even letting it work over 4G!

===== The Bottom Line =====

If you already have an iPad 2, perhaps there isn't enough new to warrant purchasing the new model, unless you really want the Retina display. If you have the original iPad, it's probably worth getting though, seeing all the new additions that have carried over from the iPad 2.

Overall, the iPad still sets the pace for most other tablets in its 10" class, but I personally find all 10" tablets to be a bit bulky and somewhat unwieldy. Particularly, I find it awkward to use the iPad where I want to use it most: lying in bed, or sitting on the couch with it in my lap. On the couch, where a laptop is comfortable resting on your lap, with the screen parallel to your face, whereas the iPad needs to be angled up, and your head angled downward. This can be tiring after a while. In bed, it's just too heavy and bulky, and I've dropped the thing square on my face several times.

The solution? I started bugging Apple for a 7" model since the iPad was first released in 2010. Jobs said no, but, with all due respect, he's no longer calling the shots. UPDATE: Thankfully, Tim Cook saw the light and cooked up the iPad mini! The iPad mini is on par with other 7" tablets in size, but uses screen real estate more efficiently and thus sports a screen that's closer to 8" than 7". If 10" is comfortable for you, then the 3rd-gen iPad is definitely worth 5 stars. Personally though, I've found the iPad mini more to my liking. I've posted a more in-depth review of the iPad mini: http://www.amazon.com/review/R18KRNCDSS963I?tag=1pad-20&ie=UTF8 so feel free to browse on over to it and have a read. Some content from this review applies to the other, and vice versa, but there are plenty of differences.

In all honesty, the iPad really is the best 10" tablet around, and I would give no other tablet more than 3 stars. I'll continue to keep mine around simply because it does have it's uses, especially for Web and app development, and when not in use, it still makes a great digital picture frame with the aforementioned Picture Frame mode! (See the Photography and Video section)

However, for reading, surfing and all other entertainment and gaming uses, I've now transitioned over to using the iPad mini most of the time.

I hope you've found my hands-on review helpful. Feel free to keep the discussion going via the comments! :)
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1,643 of 1,730 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but ..., March 25, 2012
By 
Bookenz (Bay area, CA) - See all my reviews
I've been a big iPad fan and was waiting anxiously for the third generation to come out. I bought the original iPad, and when the 2 came out, I happily sold the 1 and upgraded. I was thrilled with the thinner, lighter and improved iPad 2. So naturally, when word came out that the third one was about to be released in March 2012, I was right on board to buy one. Sold my 2 and preordered the 3 from Apple the day it was released.

I was hoping the third gen wouldn't be noticibly thicker and heavier than the 2, but unfortunately it was. I could definitely tell the difference when reading ebooks, which I do a lot. I couldn't really tell any difference between the speed and clarity of the 3, but to be fair, I didn't compare the two models side by side. I've no doubt the 3 is superior in this regard. I don't use the cameras, so don't care about this since I have a very nice digital camera for that.

The one thing about the third generation iPad that concerned me was the heat issue. Shortly after receiving it, I was reading an ebook and noticed the left side was warm. Not hot, but definitely warm enough for me to notice it. This reminded me of laptops I've had that have overheated and shut down, and here I was only reading a book. My iPad 2 never had this problem and I used it a lot. I also had some difficulty backing up the 3 to the cloud, again, something that wasn't ever a problem with the 2.

After reading some reviews of others experiencing the heating problem with the latest iPad, and really missing the thinner and lighter iPad 2 , I decided to return the iPad 3 to my local Apple store and buy a new iPad 2. They had no problem taking it back and I was glad to see the 2 had come down in price. When the sales associate asked me why I was returning the 3, I told him about the heat problem. He didn't seem surprised and said it was because the 3 has a larger battery.

The third gen has a faster CPU and retina dsplay, but I never thought the 2 had any problems with speed, and the clarity of the display has always seemed fine to me. But I'm certainly no expert. I'm very happy I made the exchange and enjoying using my iPad 2 again. For my uses--books, internet, email and games, the cooler, thinner and lighter iPad 2 is a better choice for me.

By the way, I just want to add that I think it's unfair to compare the Kindle Fire and Nook to the iPad. These devices are just ebook readers and they're fine for that--I've tried them both. Rather like saying, okay, you can buy this Mercedes or you can get the Volkswagen. Once you've used an iPad, you're totally spoiled and trying to browse the Internet with a Kindle or Nook is an exercise in frustration after using an iPad.

Update January 7, 2014 - since writing this review for the iPad 3, which I ended up returning, I've moved on to the iPad Air, which is noticeably lighter and faster than the iPad 2.
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800 of 845 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should you upgrade from iPad 2? Should you buy a new 4th-gen iPad instead?, March 17, 2012
UPDATE November 2012

As you know, Apple has just discontinued this 3rd-generation model and replaced it with a 4th generation iPad. This is good news if you're a buyer. You have the option of buying the newest iPad. But you have another option that I think is pretty attractive: buying a used 3rd-generation iPad at a much reduced price.

The differences between the 3rd and 4th generation iPads are mostly minor and won't affect the actual experience of using the device for many folks. The 3rd and 4th gen iPads have the same wonderful retina display, they are the same size and weight, and they have the same battery life.

So what's different? The 4th gen iPad has a faster chip and Apple tweaked the wifi and cellular connectivity. But as an owner, I can tell you that the 3rd-gen iPad is plenty fast and the internet connectivity via wifi or 3G/4G cellular is excellent. Really excellent.

The 4th gen iPad has a different type of connector, so if you have previously invested in speaker docks and other accessories designed for the old connector, it'll be harder to use them with the new iPad (you'll need to buy adapters, and even they don't solve all compatibility problems). I have a new iPhone 5 that has this new type of connector, and while I love the phone, the incompatibility problems with my existing accessories are frustrating.

The introduction of the latest iPad last week is already causing the prices of 3rd-gen iPads to drop--even though they are at most 7 months old. It should be very possible to find a like-new 3rd gen iPad that's maybe 5-6 months old at a much lower price. This is an option worth considering.

As for me, I'm still very happy with my 3rd-gen iPad and I plan to keep it for a couple more years.

My original review follows, with a few minor edits and updates to reflect new information.

----

This review is for iPad 2 owners trying to decide whether to upgrade to the 3rd generation iPad. It also might be helpful for people deciding between buying a 3rd-gen iPad the now-cheaper iPad 2.

I was perfectly happy with my iPad 2, a wifi-only model with 32gb. When Apple announced the 3rd generation iPad, I typed up a long list of reasons why I shouldn't buy it. And then I bought one anyway. (I'll be giving my iPad 2 to my parents.)

You've probably already know what features the 3rd-gen iPad has, and how the specs compare to the iPad 2's specs. But comparing specs on paper is different than comparing the actual experience of using the two products, and the experience matters more than the specs. I can tell you which of those features, at least to me, really makes the experience of using the new iPad better. And there's only one: the display.

I do a lot of reading on the iPad, and this is where the retina display really matters. Text is very sharp, even for very small fonts, and this makes reading on iPad much more comfortable. I've been reading Steve Jobs on my iPad 2 (using the Kindle app); I read the next chapter on the retina iPad and then tried to read the following chapter on the iPad 2 again, and going back to the iPad 2 was unpleasant. I had similar results when I compared reading articles on websites using Safari and when reading a few pages of War and Peace in the iBooks app on the retina iPad vs. iPad 2. After reading on the new iPad, you just won't want to go back to reading on iPad 2.

If you read a lot on your iPad, this to me is a compelling reason to upgrade, and perhaps the only compelling reason.

What about photos? Videos? Games? Here, you can tell the difference, and the retina display is better. But in terms of how much the retina display increases my enjoyment of viewing pictures, video, and games, it is not enough to justify the cost of upgrading.

On both iPads, I compared hi-res pictures I took at the Chicago Botanic Gardens using a DSLR with a good lens. On iPad 2, your eye can indeed discern individual pixels if you look closely enough, whereas on the retina iPad, it's like looking at a real print of the photo. But after looking at the pictures on the retina iPad, and even noticing the differences, it was still quite nice to view them again on the iPad 2. Similarly for video: I watched a scene from the Breaking Bad season 4 finale on both devices, and while it looked a bit better on the retina iPad, it still looked great on iPad 2. Streaming hi-res movie trailers looked better on the retina iPad, but still looked great on iPad 2. For streaming video from Netflix, I could not tell any difference, most likely because the resolution of the source material isn't any higher than the iPad 2's display.

I'm less of a gamer than most iPad users, but I did try Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy (a game supposedly optimized for the retina display) and Plants vs. Zombies HD (an older game). PvZ looks exactly the same on both, Sky Gamblers looks better on the retina iPad but it still looks very awesome on the iPad 2.

In short, you can notice the difference the retina display makes for photos, videos, and games. Yet, the experience of using the iPad 2 is still quite excellent. The fact is that, even at a lower resolution, the iPad 2's IPS display is exceptional.

What about the other specs? Is it worth upgrading to get a newer processor, for example?

No. I really don't notice a difference in performance. The 3rd-gen iPad is super fast, but so is iPad 2. Some apps load a little faster, others I can't tell. But the speed difference, if any, isn't enough to make the 3rd-gen iPad more enjoyable to use than iPad 2.

What about battery life? The retina display has 4x the pixels of the iPad 2 display and requires a lot more power, which would drain the battery faster. But the new iPad also comes with a much bigger battery inside (that's why it's 1/10 of an inch thicker and an ounce or so heavier than iPad 2). Apple says battery life is about the same, and that seems to be true in my experience in seven months I bought it.

What about the improved camera? Sure, it takes better pictures than the joke of a camera on iPad 2. But do most people use their iPad for photography, anyway? If you have an iPhone 4 or newer, your camera is just as good or better as the camera on the 3rd-gen iPad, and taking pictures with the cameras on iPhone and most smart-phones is more convenient than using the iPad. Ditto for most smartphones. And only the rear-facing camera was improved; the front-facing camera is just as crappy as before. And that's a shame, because the front camera is the one I'd actually use (for skype and facetime).

What about dictation? I find it works about 80%, less in a noisy room. Sure, it is easier to dictate and then edit the few errors that result than to type something from scratch on the iPad's on-screen keyboard. But I don't think most people will use the dictation feature enough for it to matter in the upgrade decision. People who write a lot on the iPad will already have an external keyboard (or should get one).

So, for me, the only new feature that matters enough to justify the upgrade from iPad 2 is the retina display.

But there's one other reason you might upgrade: If your iPad 2 is a wifi-only model and you think it would be handy to also have 3G/4G connectivity. (Or, if you bought an iPad 2 with 3G and you never use the 3G, now is your chance to buy an iPad without it and save $130.) I bought a new iPad with 4G so that I could use it when I'm traveling and away from a hotspot. Which isn't very often, but I figured it would be handy to have.

What about 3G vs. 4G? If you have an iPad 2 with 3G, should you upgrade to enjoy the faster speed of 4G? The answer is only if you use it a lot.

4G on the new iPad is very fast. My iPad 2 doesn't have 3G, so I can't say how much faster. My verizon iphone 4S has 3G and it's way slower than a wifi connection, but 4G on the new iPad is at least as fast as a good wifi connection.

That said, the cellular service is not cheap, so most people use it only when wifi is not available, which is not very often. You have wifi at home, at work perhaps, at most coffee shops and libraries and hotels. The exception would be people that have an expensive plan with a high data allowance; if that's you and you use cellular connectivity a lot, then you have a good reason to upgrade. 4G is crazy fast.

A reader emailed me another good reason to consider an iPad with cellular connectivity (4G on the 3rd-generation iPad, 3G on the iPad 2) instead of just the wifi-only model. iPads with 3G or 4G also have a true GPS receiver built-in that will work anywhere you can get a cellular internet connection.

(Actually, the GPS radio inside the 3G/4G ipads will pick up a signal anywhere, even if you're not in a location with service; but you can't see your location on a map unless you either (1) have internet access so that the maps can be accessed from the cloud, or (2) pre-download the maps to your device, but they will take up a TON of space, at least a few GB, depending on the app you're using.)

The wifi-only model can estimate your location when you are connected to a wifi hotspot based on the location of the hotspot. But it's less precise than the true GPS that comes in the 3G iPad 2 or 4G new iPad. And, the location features of the wifi-only iPads don't work when you're moving (as in a car, plane, or boad) or away from a wifi hotspot.

But the 4G model contains a true GPS chip. It is very precise, and combined with 4G connectivity, your iPad can take advantage of some great navigation apps. For example, your iPad can effectively become a Garmin with a huge 10" display. And there are lots of apps for hiking in the national parks, or fishing, or aviation, that take full advantage of the GPS inside the iPad models with 3G or 4G.

Thanks very much to the reader who emailed me this info; I'd forgotten to include it, even though I use and love the GPS mapping on my iPad.

But back to the main point of my review, whether to upgrade from iPad 2. Upgrading is a tough call, because it's expensive. The difference between what you'll get if you sell your iPad 2 and what you'll spend for a similarly configured retina iPad is probably around $250, maybe a little more. And if you upgrade, you might want more memory since apps designed for the retina display take up more space than standard apps designed for the iPad 2's display.

I recommend that most iPad 2 owners upgrade only if they really want or need the retina display, especially for people who do a lot of reading on iPad. Or, if they bought a wifi-only iPad 2 and always regretted not getting cellular internet, now's their chance.

If neither of these is true for you, stick with your iPad 2. It is still an absolutely great device, and still a very worthy purchase for people who want an ipad but can't afford or don't need the retina display.

----------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE APRIL 22
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Still very happy after 5 weeks. Excellent battery life, and no heat problems as some have reported.

In case you're considering a 4G iPad with Verizon, you should know that Verizon offers two types of service plans. You should know the difference between them before you buy. I didn't, and it was a hassle and unnecessary expense.

The two plans are "post-paid" and "pre-paid." Pre-paid has no activation fee. Post-paid has a $35 activation fee. The cheapest pre-paid plan is $20/month for 1 gig. The cheapest post-paid plan is $30/month for 2 gigs. So if you use wi-fi as much as possible and don't use 3G/4G a lot, you've got 2 reasons to choose pre-paid.

The pre-paid plan also has an option for 2 gigs for $30, same price as the post-paid plan, and you can pre-pay for larger amounts of data for the same prices you'd pay with the post-paid plan. So you really don't give up anything by choosing the pre-paid plan, as far as I can tell.

You control the pre-paid plan from the ipad itself (under settings > cellular). You can easily set up the account, choose the option you want, buy more data if you need it, and do all this without any help from Verizon customer service. Furthermore, you can purchase data only when you'll need it, with no activation fees, ever.

You control the post-paid plan from the verizon website. You can "suspend" service when you don't need it, for a limited amount of time, and you won't be billed during this time. If you suspend it, better write down in your calendar when the suspension will end, because you'll start getting billed automatically on that date. I think there are restrictions on how many times per year you can suspend the service, and how long you can suspend it for. There are no such restrictions on the pre-paid plan.

I bought my iPad at a Verizon store and, without explaining the differences between these plans, they set up my iPad for the post-paid plan before I left the store. I didn't find out about the different plans until a month later when I got my first bill and saw the $35 activation fee and the $30 charge for 2 gigs. I thought I was going to be paying $20 for 1 gig.

I called VZ customer service, learned about the two plans, and asked to switch from post-paid to pre-paid. This turned out to be a hassle. The two types of plans are managed by completely separate departments that don't communicate well with each other. One department turns off your post-paid plan, which fries the sim card in your iPad. Before you can start a pre-paid plan, you have to get another sim card. Some verizon stores believe that they are not allowed by corporate to give you or sell you a sim card unless they install it and activate it to a new account, and you don't want that if you're switching to pre-paid; I had to go to two different stores with calls to customer service in between to get my sim card. Once I had the sim card, it was super easy to replace the fried one and then set up my pre-paid plan.

I learned that Verizon stores make a commission when they sell you a post-paid plan. That's probably why the guy set me up with a post-paid plan when I bought the iPad. He acted like he was doing me a favor by setting up my device. That's shameful, and all of this is a huge surprise to me - I've been with Verizon for 8 years and generally had excellent customer service, both on the phone and in Verizon corporate stores.

Despite these hassles, I still recommend Verizon to folks considering an iPad with 4G cellular. Verizon's 4G service covers way more of the U.S. than AT&T's 4G service. And you can avoid the hassles I experienced by telling the Verizon store NOT to set you up on a post-paid plan when you buy the iPad - or, better yet, buy it from an Apple store.
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140 of 150 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perspective from an Android and Windows User, March 20, 2012
By 
I realize I must have been living under a rock for the past few years since I've never owned an Apple product. I've been using PCs since I was a kid in the early 90s and Android on my smartphone for three years (Blackberry before that). So it was not an easy decision for me to take the plunge on the New iPad. Below are my findings thus far, some of which I knew before buying and some that I've learned since. I won't spend time reviewing technical details or comparisons to the iPad 2. There are dozens of professional reviews out there that have done as much. Instead, this is my perspective in using the iPad after so many years with non iOS products.

Positives:
+ Beautiful design, form, fit, etc. Always seems to be the case for Apple products (sometimes to the point of diminished functionality as noted below)
+ Best screen. I've always worked with large, high resolution monitors (current is 1440 27"). This screen is gorgeous as everyone has called out.
+ Best battery life at 10 or so hours; I've only had it 6 days but nothing leads me to believe 10 hours is overstated
+ Best selection of tablet-specific apps. There's really no comparison here and it will likely take years for Android and eventually Win 8 to catch up
+ Tons of 3rd party products such as cases in every possible style
+ Easy to use content via iTunes
+ Compared to laptop, instant on and long battery life are ideal for videos and entertainment on the go, quick surfing, etc. Touch of course is very intuitive (love to watch my five year old use it on her own)

Negatives:
- Big Brother In Charge: Locked factory home screen, really? I guess I've been spoiled with all the freedoms that Android includes (no iron curtain there). But if I want to get rid of an Apple factory icon, I can't. Instead, only secondary screens are up to me. In general, there is very limited ability to tweak settings. Way too controlling for a $700 device in my opinion.
- No guided turn by turn navigation and GPS struggles to get location where my Android phone picks it up instantly; standard on even $50 Android phones
- Having used the Android Market (now Play) for years, I am accustomed to trying out ad-supported apps for free, and then buying ad-free versions of the ones I find the most useful. Now I'm still early into iOS, but I am finding a lot more paid only apps and far fewer ad-supported free apps. I'll keep looking but this is my initial impression.
- No SD and overpriced memory upgrade only available at time of purchase
- No USB to connect camera and other accessories to, and Apple OEM only camera kit for a high price for what it is.
- Occasional stutter or delayed response. Generally very smooth as reviewers have said, but both my wife and I have seen this happen once or twice an hour.

I'll do a follow-up in a couple weeks when I've had more time with it. I still wouldn't consider an iPhone over Android. But for tablets, Apple is the game in town right now both for hardware and ecosystem. If Android/Win 8 tablets approached the hardware quality of the new iPad (screen, battery life, etc), and their respective app stores built up a good base of available apps, I probably would choose one of them over iOS due to above negatives. I realize some of the reasons Apple has been so successful is that they lock their products down fairly tight. But they also clearly are gaming the customer to drive additional purchases, expensive upgrades or future product replacements, etc.

In summary, I think the new iPad is an amazing product that I wouldn't have imagined only a few years ago. For that, I'm willing to part with my hard earned dollars and enjoy it. But I'd also gladly swap it for an Android/Win 8 tablet in a couple years when those markets mature.

Update 1 Month In:

+ Battery life continues to be amazing
+ Form/weight/screen all a delight
+ Compared to using laptop, find that we use more including short-bursts; instant on is great
+ Awesome as a digital photo frame for sharing photos
- 10 Watt power supply is somewhat ridiculous considering iPad contains laptop size battery; charges take about 6-8 hours, depending on how far one lets it run down; for comparison, typical laptop comes with 40-60 watt power supply and charge in 1.5-2.5 hours
- Lack of Flash is bigger drawback than I anticipated; Kids sites/games especially depend on Flash
- Wi-Fi is considerably slower than on laptop and even Android phones; SpeedTest confirms speeds 50-60% slower
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122 of 131 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The New ipad, to be or not to be?, April 21, 2012
By 
My review is divided in to 2 parts. The pre purchase and the post purchase review.

The prepurchase review:

The release of the new iPad has left many of us in a state of indecisiveness. People who own, and those who have never owned an iPad are facing the same dilemma, to be or not to be. Most of us had high hopes that the new iPad would put an end to our life-long quest for an ideal tablet. Unfortunately, it did not. It now seems that the new iPad is more of an option rather than an upgrade to its predecessor. The market for iPad 2 therefore has not closed. In fact, even before the release of their 3rd generation tablet, apple had already announced that they will continue to manufacture iPad 2 and sell it at a reduced price.

The purpose of this article is to help you decide whether you should buy the new iPad or stick with its predecessor. So, let us take a look at different scenarios where one version may be preferred over the other and vice versa. But first let's summarize all the important issues that have made the new iPad center of criticism.

In the order of preference:

1. overheating: it is now a common knowledge that the new iPad is running 13 degrees hotter than its predecessor. There can be two important implications of this issue. First, many people have pointed that they feel uncomfortable when holding the warm tablet for prolonged lengths of time. This feeling might become worse in the hot weather, especially when there is no AC to cool you and your iPad down. Imagine holding a sick child who has a fever of 102 degrees, but this baby is running a temperature of 116 degrees. Second, many have raise concerns over the effects of the high temperature on iPad's delicate hardware.

2. Wifi connectivity: there are enough whiners on apple forum complaining about the new iPad's noticeably inferior wifi reception. For some this problem is more annoying than the heating issue.

3. Battery: it takes twice the time to charge the new iPad to full than iPad 2. It has also been seen that the new iPad is falsely displaying a 100% charge figure when in fact it is continuing to load its battery for at least another hour after the percentage is displayed. Another, even bigger disappointment is the fact that the new iPad's battery does not charge when it is plugged and simultaneously running some 'heavy duty' app, such as games, videos or multitasking.

4. Voracious appetite for data: being an HD model, understandably it needs more fuel to run than the previous models. I wish there was some kind of 'standard mode' that people could switch to inorder to conserve data, unfortunately, there isn't.

5. Higher demand for memory: since most of its apps must be HD, and therefore 'heavy', the need for both static as well as Random Access Memory is naturally higher. Unfortunately, this entire HD concept has transcribed in to rendering the cheapest member of its family, the 16GB, more or less dysfunctional, at least for the aggressive tablet users. So if you want to buy anything 'functional' you must pick 32 GB or higher version.

7. Few more ounces: This is not really a major issue but people who are used to holding the previous versions argue that the additional ounces further decrease the number of hours they could support the tablet on their palm. I personally believe that the heating factor would have kicked in way before you felt the strain from those few extra ounces.

8. Same old dorky front camera: even though the rare camera has been upgraded the most functional camera of the iPad, the front camera, has been ignored. I completely fail to understand the logic behind this idea.

9. Lack of Siri: most people were expecting to receive this iPhone 4S feature in their new iPad. But all they got was disappointment. Some people think that apple might have intentionally saved Siri for their next launch. However, apple has added a brand new feature to the new ipad, the dictation, and it may offset the disappointment to some extent. It is noteworthy to mention that both Siri and dictation need Internet connectivity to function.

With this basic information about the new iPad it will now be easier for me to recommend the edition of the iPad that will suit your needs.

So who should buy the new iPad?

The biggest and perhaps the only visible plus of the new iPad thus far seems to be its display. All other features are more or less subdued by its lack of basic luxuries. For instance, the higher RAM feature is neutralized by the higher demand for memory, so on and so forth.

So, if you are a digital photographer, the new iPad is the tablet of choice for you. No other display will give you even the closest visualization of the pixels that you captured.

if you are a low to medium level surfer and like to read books and magazines with colorful graphics and display, the 3rd generation is the way to go.

Game lovers who have extremely sensitive senses for sensing the speed, the new iPad is your gadget.

If you are a big fan of shooting pictures and videos with your tablet (which is kind of odd, though), the new iPad is your tool. But you have to give me a genuinely convincing reason for choosing a tablet over a digital camera or even an iPhone to shoot quality photos and videos.

Beyond this I would seriously recommend to meticulously outweigh risks verses benefits of buying the 3rd over 2nd generation iPad.

And, who should buy the iPad 2? Well, everybody else who does not meet the above criterion. If you are an aggressive tablet user and must hold it for an infinite number of hours without having to bear the discomfort due to its higher temperature or weight or strain to your `retina', you are an born to use iPad 2.

For intense ipad users a sluggish charge time is definitely going to be a deal breaker when purchasing the new iPad. Additionally, the fact that the new iPad's battery does not charge when it is plugged and simultaneously running some 'heavy' apps will add to its disability.

For Navigation lovers, iPad 2 will certainly have an edge because of its quick charge time while you are on the go.

People who live in wifi unfriendly homes should think twice before buying the new iPad.

iPad 2 is light on your pocket if you are a big time GSM user. Since there are no unlimited data plans for iPad so one must use the data prudently to avoid being billed multiple times in a month. Both Verizon and AT&T offer no more than 5 GB of data per charge for iPad. Here again the classification of aggressive vs low to medium user should help you decide between iPad 2 and the new iPad.

If you are low on budget you could save a some money by choosing iPad 2. This is not only because of the recent price slash of iPad 2 but also due to the fact that the new iPad's higher memory requirement has only left you with the choice of purchasing its pricier version that has more memory.

if you are a big time video chatter buying the new iPad will not make your experience any better than ipad 2 since no change has been made to the front camera of the tablet. Second, if you are chatting on a GSM plan you will now be burning more Mb/minute that you would with the previous version.

Conclusion: Consider the New iPad if you are a big time digital photographer (professional or hobbyist) and if you are a low to medium tablet user. For everybody else, there is iPad 2.

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The post-purchase review:

I did eventually end up buying the new ipad. I took a chance and bought the least expensive third generation. I placed an order on the apple website and the item was shipped straight from China. The neat thing about this deal was the free personalized text engraving. I wrote 'Made for ...our names' and added my address to it as well.

So, what is the deal with the New iPad? Well, to be honest, the heating issue was barely discernable but I really did not hag it to the limits so I am probably not the best person to pass the final verdict on the heating issue. But the real issue here was the display. Yes, 'issue'. I was quite disappointed to see how the pictures on various Internet sites appeared on the new ipad. Most of the facebook avatars appear fuzzy and ugly. People say that this effect is similar to the one we noticed when HD cameras first became available. They would magnify even the slightest wrinkle on your face and make you look darn ugly. But I am not the expert here, all I can say is I prefer my ipad 2 over the new ipad for facebook and picture surfing. Another important mention that I would like to make is about YouTube videos. Contrary to what one (me included) would have expected the new ipad is no better than ipad 2 in displaying even the highest resolution videos on YouTube. Infact the colors appear slightly distorted as compared to more natural looking ones on ipad 2. The new ipad does however have a slight edge over the ipad 2 when it comes to displaying high resolution pictures downloaded straight from high pixil DSLR camera.

The next thing that I would definitely like to mention about the new ipad is its dictation feature. I must say that this is a great achievement. The transcription is more accurate than most other dictation apps. The best part is that this feature is integrated in to the keyboard so you do not have to open a seperate app to use it. You can use it almost anywhere where the keyboard pops up. But the question really is how many people will actually use this feature to make it a must-have option, I would say, not too many.

I did not come across any issue with wifi connectivity. And, the thickness and heaviness was completely beyond my perception levels. With your eyes closed you can barely tell whether you are holding an ipad 2 or the new ipad. It even fit into the tragus leather case that is made for ipad 2 without ANY problems.

And now I am sure most of you would like to ask me whether my opinion about the new ipad changed after I purchased it. My answer would be NO. I still think that all the 'yummy' features that the new ipad has been stuffed with are 'optional' and do not justify the release of a brand new version. People could have comfortably lived with the iPad 2 for another 2-3 years.

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56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Retina Display, March 29, 2012
By 
I had the original iPad for a couple of months back in 2010 and really liked to browse the web on it. When I heard the new one is coming out, I preordered the white ATT 64GB from Apple website. I received it on the launch day two weeks ago, and I am really enjoying the new Retina display ever since. It is such an improvement over the first iPad, and I really enjoy reading different things on it.

Color Choice:

My original iPad was black, but this time against all the online suggestions, I went for the white version. My reasoning was, if you really want to read something--either web or text--having black borders only makes your eyes hurt even more. Printed books do not have black borders, and yet they are the easiest to read. I am happy to report that my intuition was right, and the white version is easier on my eyes for reading purposes. Maybe it is not the best for playing video games or watching movies, but the white border actually helps the reading. In addition, it is not completely white and has a beautiful pinkish hue that looks like pearl from some angles.

Connectivity and Speed:

I could connect to both of my router 2 GHz and 5 GHz channels via Wi-Fi. Out of curiosity, I inserted my modified T-Mobile SIM card into the GSM spot, and it did pick T-Mobile internet but worked only on 2G (Edge) mode. It works very well with Apple TV 3, and I was able to duplicate the iPad screen with my 40" LCD. However, the screen aspect ratio was only 4/3 and not 16/9.

This new iPad is much faster than my original iPad. I can even browse the web much faster on this version let alone other programs and games. I ordered the Camera Connection Kit alongside this iPad, and it can import and read my 24MP pictures from Sony A77 without any problems.

Cameras:

My original iPad didn't have any camera, so it is so much fun to use FaceTime and the back camera. Both of them are quality cameras, although I don't see much use of the backside camera. I have my iPhone for that application. Maybe if you want to shoot movies and edit on the iPad itself, it is worth to have a good quality rear camera.

Problems:

I use international keyboards sometimes to enter foreign characters into the search, and I encountered several crashes when changing keyboard in Safari. One time I was writing a paragraph in Notes app, and suddenly the app crashed because I accidentally clicked on international icon. The problem was, I lost all the text I typed. I think the new iOS needs some minor bug fixes.

Verdict:

It is the best tablet I've ever used. It is fast and responsive, light, and it has an excellent LCD which is easy on your eyes. Does it worth the price? It depends. Like any other Apple products, this is made from high quality materials, and it is stylish. Paying the price is hard, but once you start using it, all the fun begins. Hope you could find valuable information in my mini review.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars iPad from an Android Perspective, March 18, 2012
After reading a lot of hype and reviews about the new iPad, I thought I would give it a try, despite the fact that I have been using and mostly enjoying the Asus TFT101 (Transformer) for about a year now. Some quick pros and cons:

PROS vs Android/Asus:

*Retina Display: The screen is very good, but coming from the Asus, which has a higher resolution than the iPad 2, I was not blown away by it. It feels like a larger version of the Retina display on the iPod Touch, a device which I also use frequently. Coming from these two quality screens, the new iPad display was not a massive step up in quality, but I suspect many people who have been using different devices will be pleasantly surprised. Where this display shines is in color saturation and text quality. Images pop off of the screen and reading is the best I have seen on any handheld device.

*App Selection: Many have made this point, but it is worth mentioning again. The App selection on iPad blows Android out of the water. There really is no comparison here. Even the free apps seem to be of higher quality than on Android.

* UI: The smoothness of the UI on the iPad is second to none. The screen registers every swipe and gesture, and pages flip seamlessly and with high quality animation. The ASUS Transformer features the much discussed 2 second "Android lag," which is not a deal breaker, but feels less sophisticated compared to the iPad (although this seems less of an issue in ICS).
s
* Build Quality: The solidity of the iPad is a major plus compared to the Transformer. The iPad is heavy, solid, and the tactile transition from glass to brushed metal is appealing and borderline luxurious. The Asus simply feels like a sheet of plastic (which it is). The Asus also suffers from noticeable light bleeding, the charger also died within a year and the keyboard dock had to be RMA'd and repaired. I don't think these things will be an issue with the iPad.

CONS vs Android/Asus:

* OS: I may be in the minority here, but I find Android to be a more feature rich and deep OS. I like having some degree of control over my devices, and I appreciate the fact that Android lets me get "under the hood" a bit more than iOS. It doesn't trap me within a proprietary "ecosystem" of content, it allows me to use the device as an external hard drive to transfer media, and I can expand the storage via MicroUSB as I see fit (This has been beaten to death, but Apple really needs to allow users to expand storage-even on a proprietary basis). And there are also little touches that I think are well done, such as Android's ability to run many programs at once and allow the user to flip through them- a feature that I miss in iOS. Its Gmail widget is an invaluable and quick way to check email, and its placement of the back button is far superior to iOS. This last point may seem minor, but the Android back button at the bottom of the screen is more convenient as you do not have to remove your hands from the device to go back to a previous screen.

*Weight: I prefer a heavier device but I know this is an issue for some people. The iPad is noticeably heavier than the Transformer (but lighter than other Android tablets, such as the Acer Iconia).

*Keyboard Dock: This is a wonderful, albeit expensive, add-on for the Asus Transformer. The keyboard dock/charger is incredibly useful as it extends battery life, expands storage, and enhances usability. I know that you can use Apple's bluetooth mouse and keyboard with the iPad, but the all-in-one solution from Asus is more appealing as it basically affords you the convenience of a netbook and a tablet. I suspect this will be the future of mobile computing. As I noted above, however, my keyboard was defective out of the box and reviews suggest that the build quality of these units is quite poor.

OVERALL: If you are new to tablets and want the best UI and great ease of use, go for the iPad. If you are technically inclined and want more control over your device, go with a high-end Android tablet. The iPad has the best tablet hardware on the market, but Android as an OS is closing the gap. That having been said, Apple's iPad, while not revolutionizing the act of computing, is instead changing how we consume the internet, and the newest iteration of the iPad is the most convincing example of this vision.

**UPDATE**

I just wanted to confirm that I too have experienced the extremely long recharge times reported various internet outlets (about 5 and a half hours in my case). It by no means detracts from my enjoyment of the product, but planning recharges and making sure to top off the charge at appropriate times does reduce the device's mobility.
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121 of 147 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Verizon (and AT&T) iPad Buyer Beware, June 29, 2012
I want to preface my review by stating that the iPad is a remarkable product that is worthy of a five star rating. My one star valuation is specific to the new Verizon iPad which in my opinion contains a major flaw detrimental to all consumers unwary of Verizon's tactics.

The Verizon iPad is equipped with a sim card that permits cell data usage by subscription. With my AT&T iPad 2 I am able to subscribe and unsubscribe at-will one month at a time. This is the way a cell data subscription should work. The Verizon iPad does not permit this type of usage. If you cancel a monthly subscription for cell data with Verizon that cancellation permanently inactivates the Verizon sim card. The only remedy is to go to the Verizon store to obtain a new card. I have had to do that twice since I purchased the Verizon iPad and each time it is a major time consuming inconvenience and problem.

My first stop at the Verizon store took an hour while the customer service representative insisted that I could not replace the sim card without signing up then and there for a monthly plan. After some argument and consultation with others he recanted but insisted that he could not install the sim card without obtaining from me full personal identifying information (telephone number, e-mail address, home address).

The next time I needed a sim card the Verizon store representative insisted she had to charge $10 for the card. She didn't require any personal information and she didn't make any effort to link the sim card with my iPad. She simply insisted on $10 for the sim card and handed it to me.

It seems as if Verizon is using the expense and inconvenience of forced sim card inactivation in order to discourage a la carte usage of cell data and to encourage people to pay $20 or $30 dollars a month whether or not they need data service.

Had I know about this policy I would never have purchased the Verizon iPad. The Apple Store saleswoman who sold me the iPad was not aware of this flaw and did not advise me that it was an issue. Surprisingly, none of the Apple Store sales persons I have spoken to since then were aware of this issue.

Unless you enjoy spending time at the Verizon Store or unless you intend to use a cellular data plan without interruption, you should stay away from the Verizon iPad.

Update on February 4, 2013: I just left my local AT&T store after speaking with the AT&T store manager about this issue. He confirmed that AT&T has adopted the Verizon policy and their new iPads also discourage a la carte usage by requiring the customer to purchase a new sim card if the customer cancels a la carte cell data service. It is clear that both major companies want to discourage at-will cell data usage and promote the more lucrative monthly subscription. What a shame and what a rip-off. They will probably continue to do this until the customers rebel and refuse to purchase the higher priced iPad and/or the monthly cell data service plan.
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55 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Desktop Replacement? Almost there!, March 21, 2012
I've had the pleasure of trying out most of the new Apple products for the last few years. If you have any questions or requests for clarifications you can leave a comment, and I'll be emailed, or you can email me directly by clicking on my name and looking for the link.

I mostly use an iPad 1, but I have the opportunity to use an iPad 2 often.

A lot has changed since the iPad came out, and I wrote my original review (located here:Apple iPad (first generation) MB292LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi) titled with a quote from Woz, saying "Everyone wants things to be simpler, and along comes this simple thing" and its still very true. Tablets aren't like PCs, you don't need to maintain them or worry about software requirements at all. Its wonderful for people who hate that. My friend can tell you exactly what processor his last laptop had, but what processor does his iPad have? He'll say "Don't know, don't care". If you are wondering why to get a tablet at all, I would recommend that you read that review. Its the second review on that page.

So I bought the new iPad, the 2.5, or whatever you want to call it. I'm not going to go into the tech specs, because, they are posted everywhere and unless you are a geek you will also fall into the "don't know/don't care" category. I'm going to try to focus on just telling you what I would want to know before I bought it. This review will be about real use.

I chose a 32GB version. Why?
1) The new apps that will support the retina display are supposed to take more memory, so you should expect that whatever you had on your older iPad will take more space on this new one.
2) I feel that the days of 16GB being enough may soon be passing. With my 16GB iPad I was actually having to start managing my memory. I had to start leaving things off it.
3) The more powerful the iPad becomes, the more I expect to use it. And this means, more memory will be needed. The iPad has never been my primary "computer", but with this iteration it might be there: I can plug an HD screen into it via HDMI now, and use a nice bluetooth keyboard. However, you have to use the iPad itself as a gigantic touchpad, as you can't use a pointing device. It mirrors whats on the screen, so, its clumsy-but-possible. Still, we are getting so close to throwing the ipad down on the desk at work and just... working.
So for the first time I plunked down my hard earned money for the 32GB version. I think the 16GB version will be like having a 4GB iPhone 2G.

I'd also like to point out that despite the improvements and upgrades, Apple is maintaining the same starting price that it did for the iPad 1 and the iPad 2. This is very nice.

The main new things -for me- in order of importance are:
1) The 4G LTE network (I have the AT&T version). We'll skip the cell phone enthusiast argument over whether this is really a 4G device, because 4G was actually supposed to be (clears throat) even better. Because in spite of that, the 4G LTE may be the primary reason I plunked down my change and bought it. I want to be able to do my work remotely without problems.

I ran some tests on the new iPad.
--In my office, which has a 6mbps DSL and wifi, I saw a 3.6Mbps upload and a 512k upload. You might say "who cares?" Ah but wait.
--I signed up for the 3GB Data Plan at $30/mo, and when using the 4g LTE network, I saw a 17Mbps connection.
--And at home, where we have the fiber optic connection, I only saw an 11Mbps connection.
--And finally, my iPhone 4s got a lousy 2.5Mbps on the AT&T 4G non-LTE network.
So there you have the relative speeds. All calculated using the Speed Test app.

So here's the point... the new 4G service is a major upgrade. On the LTE network it is very fast - however, I did experience some latency when just checking emails traveling in a car driving 70 mph. This is typical for this technology, it seems to have problem switching from tower to tower. But if you are sitting at a park downtown then I don't think you'll see those problems. What does this mean? You should see a movie download in 1/2 to 1/4 of the time. And the iPad will be able to act as a wifi hub for all your devices. In other words, I will be able to use the iPad for internet for my laptop too. Now, at the time of this writing, it should be noted that you cannot use your iPad as a wifi hotspot with AT&T. At this time only Verizon supports that feature. (Maybe you want to pick the Verizon version if this is important to you).

Now, I live in a metro area in one of the biggest cities in the USA, so, your 4g service may vary. And they are charging a super premium price: $10 per GB. A full length movie on iTunes is 2GB or 3GB, so it can't replace my home connection, but its great for work and casual use.

Back to the countdown:
2) The "resolutionary" screen. It is true that this screen is amazing and a pleasure to look at. You can't see the pixels, and I love that. I love that on my iPhone 4 too. It will take a while for the App makers to really utilize this to its full extent, so I don't think you need to got all excited and upgrade tomorrow.
3) The faster processor. I actually did not have a problem with my old iPad processor, but soon my old iPad will be like using a 2G iPhone. But it will take a while for the App makers to really utilize this to its full extent. Once again, I don't think you need to upgrade tomorrow, but, a few months after release it should be a lock (I happen to know that many iPad developers wait until they can actually get their hands on a retail unit before upgrading their existing apps, although once they get the retail unit its like a race to finish).
4) Dictation. I have used this with success. However, like most voice recognition software its usefulness is reduced by the fact that I'm seldom in a quiet place. Still, I like it. I think its a valuable addition, and I typically use it when I only would have to type a few words. I don't use it to type long letters, as its not completely accurate and I think editing out all the mistakes would take longer than typing it out. (I do use an Apple brand bluetooth keyboard for serious typing: Apple Wireless Keyboard MC184LL/B [NEWEST VERSION] I have also tried a chicklet style one but it didn't work well for me: Kensington iPad 2 Case with Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for Apple iPad 2 3G Tablet, WIFI Model K39521US.
5) The camera. I don't think I'll use this much. Mostly when taking pictures of things that I'm writing about, which isn't that often. Maybe for some FaceTime. But I don't think this makes it worth it to upgrade from the Original Ipad. (the iPad 2 had a camera, so you can ignore this if you have an iPad 2)

Other usage changes since iPad 1:
1) I bought an HP envy (HP Envy 110 e-All-in-One Printer for the wireless printing from iPad and iPhone. This has worked out VERY well. I think the AirPrint implementation has worked nicely.
2) One thing I was disappointed with the original iPad for was the inability to see what was on the iPad screen on a TV. Since then I have purchased an Apple TV Apple TV MC572LL/A (2010) [OLD VERSION] which is now the old version. And Apple has made it possible to see whatever is on the screen of the iPad on a bigger screen, and you can buy HDMI adapters now: Apple Digital AV Adapter (MC953ZM/A)
3) On my first review I talked about the ability to put your iPhone sim card into your iPad and share your existing data service. I tried this out, putting my iPhone microsim in the new iPad and I was invited to purchase a new data plan. So apparently that little moneysaver has been eliminated.

Other things that stay the same:
You still won't be able to use Flash, a website programming language that allows websites to act more like computer programs. I've read that the reason that Apple won't allow this is that Flash is often the gateway to getting viruses and other nasties. As a result, there is no need to have antivirus software on your iPad, its very very safe. The iPad is rock solid reliable. In fact, the only virus I've heard of for the iPad is where someone had to send you a Pdf via email and get you to open it. And of course, thats threat was removed before I even heard about it.

On my last review, I talked about usage. Apps I use a lot now:
1) Logmein: to do anything on my computer that I can't do on an iPad. This would include Flash based software. I connect to a computer THROUGH my iPad, and control the computer to go to flash sites. Ordinarily I would say this is not worth it, but the computer also runs engineering programs and other programs that don't really exist for the iPad.
2) Gopayment to accept credit cards, although Quickbooks Online usage is hampered by the fact that Quickbooks makes you use a stripped down version through the safari web browser. Once again, use LogMein Ignition.
3) I find the spreadsheet program (numbers) to be highly annoying. However, there was recently an announcement that MS Office programs Excel Word and Powerpoint will soon be available for the iPad with an interface similar to MS OneNote. I'll be buying a copy of Excel and hoping that it doesn't suck.
4) Find my Friends: I see where people are without having to call them and say "where are you?" which is nice. Because I can see where my wife is without calling her, I get less honeydos. Wipe that smirk off your face >:( But also if you know they are driving you don't have to worry about distracted driving causing an accident.
5) I don't end up playing many games on the iPad. I play a lot of games on the iPhone. But thats just my usage experience. Maybe that will change with the new screen.
You can read my original iPad review (linked above) for more usage ideas, if you are new to tablets.

A bit more about usage, someone pointed out in a comment that you don't need the HDMI adapter if you intend to use AirPlay. Airplay includes the ability to wirelessly stream audio and video from your iPad to a TV. Typically this is only from apps that share music and movies, which is the functionality of Airplay (You PLAY things over the air). There are Airplay adapters, including the AppleTV. However, the HDMI connector does more than the Airplay allows: You can share the actual screen of your iPad, no matter what it shows, to a TV as a mirror image. If you were to want to use the iPad as your primary "computer", you would probably want an HDMI adapter for big screen use. I meet more people each month who do use a Tablet as their primary computer, so I felt this was an important point to clarify. I own the AppleTV and the HDMI adapter, and use them in different ways at different times.

Will this Ipad 2.5 make my original iPad as useless as a 4GB iPhone 2G? For the first 6 months, no. But after that, its likely. Overall I am happy I bought it, mostly for the native 4G LTE internet. Followed by the beautiful screen. The faster processor is the 3rd reason, and as soon as the app developers start utilizing it to greater advantage, it will likely become the #1 reason. And I think I'll feel that that has happened in about 6 months.

After MS Excel comes out I may make an attempt to make the iPad my primary computing device, using the HDMI out and a bluetooth keyboard. Wish me luck.
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All that sizzle and no steak, June 23, 2012
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I own an Apple Mac Air, iPod touch, and work on a Mac Pro at school, and I have to say, the iPad is my least like Apple product. iPad is essentially a bigger and more expensive version of iPod touch plus the optional cellular function, which you have to pay at least $20 each month for the service, so that you can use the navigation function (cheaper just to get a GPS with antiglare screen). First, my biggest complaint is the lack of flash function. It is true that I know about that limit before my purchase, but it is only when I started to use iPad, I realized how many things it couldn't do without flash, such as watching Amazon online stream movies. It is really stupid that an iPad, which is targeted as a tablet, could not do flash. Second, I thought it could at least play DVD if I have the right USB adapter, since I have an external DVD drive, but after searching online, I realized it could not do that either, because some format issues. It really drives me nuts, because what is good about retina display if you can't watch movies, and I am not about to pay extra money for movies on iTune. Then, it is the multi-tasking function, I really thought that was a joke. Originally, I thought multitasking means that you can open two apps and have them side-by-side on the screen, and I was dead wrong. First, there is no side-by-side, and second, once you switch to another app, the previous app (such as safari) stops. For example, if I am watching a dateline story streaming on CBS, I cannot have it play in the background and use other apps. There are also small things like I can't use the Apple magic track pad with iPad (wireless keyboard works fine). Overall, the new iPad sucks compares to other Apple device. I feel for the price I paid, I am getting a mediocre device with multiple restrictions (mostly for business reasons such as no flash so that you have to stick with iTuen for movies) and no special talent other than the retina display. Anyhow, I hope my love for iPad could increase a bit after Siri being available on new iPad in OS6.

*UPDATE*: another disappointment about new iPad - it takes ages to recharge. I use the 10W USB power adapter and I closed the smart cover (sleep mode) when I was charging the new iPad. I tested the battery at 3 different times, and it is roughly 10% increase per 35 minutes, which means it will take roughly 5 hours and 50 minutes to charge from 0% to 100% full, which is very close to PC world's report. On another note, the techs at Apple store told me that apps and bluetooth draw a lot of power, so that I should close them if I want to save battery.

*UPDATE 2*: on the postive side - I downloaded the GPS drive app and it actually works without data plan. The catch is that you have to get the direction while you have internet access, and then it will take you to your destination without continuous 3G/4G or wireless connections. However, you won't be able to get another direction to a new place unless you have internet, nor can you find the nearby restaurants, gas station, etc without internet connection.

*UPDATE 3"(8/2/12): Amazon Prime videos are now available on iPad!! The video quality is pretty good, but I don't think it is HD quality.

*UPDATE 4*(9/27/2012): I updated my iOS to version 6, and I like it so far! Siri is now incorporated to my iPad 3, and I've been talking to her ever since. Youtube app is gone from my iPad, Apple says their contract with YouTube is expired. So for now, I have to use Safari to watch youtube. Google maps is gone and replaced with Apple's new map system. It does voice turn-by-turn direction, but I haven't really tested it out yet. As for other newly released apps, for some strange reason, iPad 3 owners did not get to have passbook app. I guess Apple figures that I won't be carrying my iPad around to the airports, concerts, or watching a movie, or going to a ballgame, which I do....

*UPDATE 5*(10/28/2012): Apple just announced few days ago that they have a new iPad (for convenience, let's call it iPad 4) - by looking into the technical specs, I think the only two changes are: the chip (upgraded to A6 from A5), and the power adapter (from the 30-pin to lightening connector). In the future, someone has to comment on whether the lightening power adapter is able to charge the iPad faster than the 30-pin adapter. Otherwise, I don't see any benefit of changing power adapter, as the the lightening charger won't work with previous versions of power docks. People who are interested in buying the mini iPad should also know that the mini iPad does not have retina display (it is 163 ppi), and thus no HD. On a separate note, I've been testing the Apple's new map system recently, and the results are so far so good! I think in some ways it is better than Motion X HD (a paid third party GPS app). To summarize: First, the color system in Apple's map only has four to five colors, but that is not a issue to me, as it looks plain but clear. Second, you can only get one voice: the voice of Siri, but it sounds great, so no complain. Third, Apple's map gives much earlier warning compares to Motion X in terms of the next direction. I had many experience that Motion X was late on telling me to take an exist or make a turn. So kudos to Apple's map. Overall, I don't know why there are so much criticism against Apple's map (most complaint is that the map system is not as mature as Google's). I mean, it is possible that Apple's map won't work for you if you are going to somewhere remote, but you can always double check on Google's map using Safari. I think if you mainly use Apple's map in places other than country side, then you should be fine! After all, you don't need to pay extra (Motion X is $10/year) for voice navigation.
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