Mar 172012
 

We all know the new iPad is a good improvement over its predecessor, still available at the same price. It offers increased screen resolution, 4G data, better camera with HD video recording, and it’s still the ruler of the market with unsurpassed battery life, but what about the missing features that made me leave the iOS platform – are they still missing? Except for the iCloud, you bet they are:

Stereo Speakers

Much cheaper tablets are equipped with stereo speakers (count out the Kindle Fire because they’re too close to each other) so it’s really hard to understand why the third generation iPad is still lacking this feature.

Running Cool

As tested under thermal camera by Consumer Reports and confirmed by some users who push their tablets through long sessions of CPU and GPU-intensive activity, the new iPad tends to reach higher temperatures under heavy loads than it’s predecessors. While 103 degrees Fahrenheit (about 39.5° Celsius) is not too comfortable on the old iPad, parts of the new iPad get as hot as 116 Fahrenheit or 47° Celsius (or Centigrade as wrongfully called). This may be good for the legendary Salamanders, but way too hot for common mortals like us.

Camera Flash

Equipping the device with a better, high quality camera and then leaving it without the ability to take pictures at night is a ridiculous move. Apple only needed to include one cheap high quality LED that could also be used as a flashlight.

Thinner and Lighter

In the everlasting fetish towards thinner and lighter the new iPad is a step back, with 50 grams more weight on a bit thicker device. If I were a snob, I’d pass it. I still will, because I can’t afford it and for some other reasons mentioned here and in some other posts of this blog. I’m aware it’s the new higher resolution that’s possibly requiring more battery juice needed to power all the extra pixels at same great battery life so I wouldn’t take points off, but it’s something worth mentioning.

Siri

A great selling point of otherwise mediocre improvements on the iPhone 4S, the voice recognition marvel Siri is nowhere to be found on the new iPad. And we thought the tablet by definition is a personal digital assistant (remember Apple’s Newton PDA?). Oh well…

Universal 4G Compatibility and Roaming

“4G” works either on Verizon or AT&T (although AT&T is not really 4G). If you’re a subscriber of one and you can’t get their signal at some location, you can’t roam on the other network even if it’s available because it’s different technology, so you’re stuck on 3G, if available at that location. It’s even worse for Sprint users who can’t even buy an iPad compatible with their high speed (WiMax) 4G network and add it to an existing account. This may not be Apple’s fault but it is the situation on the US market which nobody can control because standards and regulation are not popular here (hence the chaos in financial and telecommunications sectors, the latter currently experiencing a sort of a format/compatibility war). To ad more futility to the news, it seems that the new Ipad won’t run on 4G in Europe or Australia.

Micro USB charger

Although Apple agreed to comply to the European Union standards requiring micro USB chargers to limit the overwhelming amounts of electronics waste created by millions of different proprietary chargers that match only one mobile device, the new iPad still has only the proprietary 30-pin port. So besides choking innovation with legal bullying of their patent attorneys and not being friendly to charities, Apple is thus not being environment-friendly either. Having loads of cash without willing to invest in some issues crucial for this planet will make you keep more cash, but it looks like greed to me. No fancy PR stories can change that.

USB and HDMI Ports and SD and MicroSD Slots

Still? You can’t connect it to a TV or plug in a memory card from your camera without a special adapter. What if you took your tablet instead of the laptop on a mountain hiking trip to decide at night what to keep and what to delete to have more space for the next day’s video or photo sessions, only to learn that you forgot the adapter in another bag? Most other tablets have at least a micro USB port, while some have a whole assortment of expansion ports including USB, micro or mini HDMI, SD and microSD card slots, and so on. Isn’t it sort of stuck-up to keep this stubborn simplistic approach when most contemporary users use these ports with their cameras, MP3 players, flash drives, and other devices? Perhaps it would cut too much from the profit if some of these didn’t require special adapters. Whatever the case, it complicates user’s life.

Flash Video

It’s a matter of principle and I know the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod will never play Adobe Flash animations and videos. Moreover, I deeply agree with Apple’s decision not to support this buggy software. However, being able to view Flash animation and videos is the major advantage of browsing the web on Android and webOS tablets – all sites work, including videos in both mobile and desktop mode.

Near Field Communication

Paying for parking, coffee or any similar convenience with your phone is already so last decade all over Europe and it’s still not where it should be in the US. If like many users I have to keep my current smartphone for another year or more, it would be nice to get a tablet with this feature. But no, Apple has been seriously lagging with this technology, possibly because they want to reinvent the wheel again with something proprietary.

Quad Core CPU

This is a feature of many newer smartphones and tablets, but although the graphics is driven by a quad core GPU, the main processor is still only dual core.

Swappable Battery

Yes, I know it lasts the amazing 10+ hours on a good day, but I was able to swap in a spare battery on most phones and laptops I owned. If your battery dies, instead of just replacing it with a good one, your iPad has to be serviced and if you’re not close to an authorized service, you’ll have to kiss it goodbye, ship it and wait.

Use as External USB Storage

At up to 64 Gigabytes of space you’d expect to be able to ditch the flash drives you’re carrying around and save some files via the USB/charging cable directly to your tablet instead. Android phones and tablets have been capable of this for ages.

128 GB Model

You reach the end of the road at 64 GB, regardless of how much you can afford. Seeing a 128 GB unit would have been a natural progression. Not that I need it, but there are people with tons of music and videos out there who like to carry it all on one device.

FM Radio

Many smartphones have this feature. It would be nice to listen to local radio stations while I’m reading newspapers or doing something visual (even where there are no WiFi or cellular signals or when there’s a local event worth following). This is more of a wishlist item, but I know this should be very easy to achieve because the FM radio receiver is usually built into the Bluetooth chip of many smartphones. Sometimes a closed ecosystem needs a breath of fresh air.

Although the new iPad is the one tablet to rule them all, these missing features show plenty of room for improvement. No matter whether it will be called “The New New iPad”, “The New iPad v2” or the “iPad 4”, we now have to wait for the next year’s model to see whether this list gets shorter.

  4 Responses to “Missing Features of The New iPad”

  1. What about the temperature ???

    • Thanks! I was getting ready to add this part when your comment caught me in the act.  The “Running Cool” section is now included.

  2. Very well written article. Stereo speakers, MicroSD support & Quad core CPU are the most important features that the new ipad lacks.

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