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Third-gen iPad shipping times improve

Apple has lowered the estimated shipping wait for new orders of the third-generation iPad placed on its online store. While the wait for new iPad orders had ballooned to 2-3 weeks just days after Apple began to accept pre-orders, that wait is now quoted at 1-2 weeks, a quick turnaround when compared to the iPhone 4S launch last fall. While Apple announced record-setting launch weekend sales of over three million units yesterday, the company appears to have been better prepared for the rush, as anecdotal reports have indicated that many retailers had stock throughout the weekend, and the company remains on schedule to launch the device in an additional 24 countries this Friday. [via Cult of Mac | SlashGear]

Apple sells 3 million third-gen iPads in four days

Apple today announced that it has sold three million units of the third-generation iPad since the device’s launch on Friday. “The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold―the strongest iPad launch yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can’t wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world this Friday.” Schiller is referring to the second wave of launches scheduled for later this week, which will see the third-generation iPad go on sale at 8:00 a.m. local time in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

iLounge’s third-gen iPad tests reveal new pros and cons

iLounge has completed its extensive testing of the third-generation iPad, and while you can read the full details in our comprehensive review, we wanted to highlight some of the more noteworthy positives and issues. On the plus side, the LTE-enabled iPads are beyond impressive when running on true fourth-generation networks, with speeds on Verizon’s network in the US reaching speeds up to 30Mbps down, and speeds on Bell’s network in Canada reaching an eye-popping 47Mbps down and 28Mbps up. Unfortunately, Verizon units are also hampered by the carrier’s slower 3G network when away from LTE coverage, languishing on 1Mbps connections, while AT&T units enjoy speeds of up to 8Mbps on the company’s HSPA+ network, despite AT&T’s serious lack of LTE coverage throughout the United States.

We also found the new iPad’s screen to be incredibly detailed, with not only improved color saturation, but also improved color reproduction, particularly noticeable at higher—85 percent and up—brightness levels. As with some past Apple products, however, we found that the color temperature can vary from screen to screen, likely due to variations in screen manufacturers. Headphone port audio sounds a little better on the new model, with a reduction in clicking noises that were evident in the iPad 2, alongside small improvements to treble and mid-treble definition, while speaker performance remains unchanged from the prior model. Finally, we found that as a result of its new, higher-capacity battery, the third-generation iPad takes a significantly longer period of time to charge than its predecessor—in some cases, over six hours, compared to 3.5 hours for the iPad 2—and also noticed that all of our units became physically warm in the bottom left corner during normal use, seemingly due to the new A5X processor.

Many more details and over 100 photographs are in our full review.

Third-gen iPad display tested versus iPad 2, iPhone 4

DisplayMate has posted an exhaustive display technology shoot-out pitting the Retina Display of the new iPad against the screens found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4. Giving the display an overall grade of “A”, the report calls the new 2048x1536 panel “excellent”, with a lower average screen reflection than the iPad 2, and higher maximum brightness. Black levels were found to be slightly better on the iPad 2, although still “very good”, as was the contrast ratio. Notably, the report claims that the new iPad sports a color gamut of 99 percent—a figure that seems too good to be true—and similarly grades the color temperature as slightly too blue, a finding that seems to ignore the differences in color temperature found in iLounge’s own test units. Ultimately, DisplayMate gave the new iPad the Best Mobile Display Award, as well as the Best Mobile Picture Quality Award title, which was previously held by the original Motorola Droid.

Apple CEO Cook reports ‘record’ iPad sales (Updated x2)

During the company’s conference call to discuss its dividend and stock buyback plan, Apple CEO Tim Cook indicated that the company was very happy with opening-weekend sales of the third-generation iPad. “We had a record weekend, and we’re thrilled with it,” Cook said; the company similarly declined to share exact launch weekend sales numbers for the iPad 2 after its launch last year. During the same conference call, Cook explained that the company felt extremely confident in its future product pipeline and potential growth opportunities, and also joked that the company loves to announce new products, just not during conference calls, after being asked about the product pipeline.

Update: AT&T has announced that it saw record iPad sales and activations on launch day, Friday, March 16.

Update x2: Verizon has also commented on its early sales. “We are quite pleased with sales, which have been brisk through the weekend, and we are excited to offer customers an alternative that lets them enjoy their new iPad on the nation’s largest 4G LTE network,” a company representative told AllThingsD.

Third-gen iPad rear camera same as iPhone 4

According to a new teardown of the third-generation iPad, the new tablet sports the same camera sensor module found in the iPhone 4. Chipworks writes that the sensor found in the third-gen iPad is the Omnivision OV5650, which features five-megapixel resolution, supports 1080p video recording—likely omitted from the iPhone 4 due to the limitations of the A4 processor—and a backside-illuminated sensor, though it should be noted that the lens system in front of the sensor is larger, and taken from the newer iPhone 4S. The front-facing camera was also found to be an Omnivision unit, specifically the same 640x480 (0.3-megapixel) OV297AA camera sensor found in the iPad 2 and the fifth-generation iPod nano. [via Mac Rumors]

Third-gen iPad discoveries: Verizon on AT&T, data plans

As third-generation iPad units have started to land in the hands of customers in the US, a few new details about the 4G models’ behavior have been discovered. As noted by Mac Rumors forum member jsnuff1, it is possible, thanks to the GSM roaming capabilities of the Verizon 4G model, to install an AT&T micro-SIM and access that carrier’s EDGE, 3G, and HSPA+ 4G networks. Doing so requires applying the AT&T APN carrier settings first, but is encouraging for those wishing to take advantage of the faster non-LTE networks offered by AT&T. In addition, iLounge’s own Jerrod H. has discovered that iPad users who are upgrading from prior 3G-enabled models and currently have grandfathered-in unlimited data plans need not swap SIM cards with their prior units, but instead simply need to sign in with the same account information, and the unlimited plan will appear as an option. In any case, swapping SIMs is not recommended, as older SIMs are unlikely to support LTE service.

Third-generation iPad unboxing, comparison photos posted

iLounge has received its first of several test units of the third-generation iPad, and has posted unboxing and comparison photos of the unit to our Flickr account. As had been revealed earlier in the week, the differences in packaging between the new iPad and the iPad 2 are small, with a different background image for the device, an iCloud badge on the bottom of the box, and the expected changes in the labels on the rear. Inside, the changes are similarly minor, with different, slightly more flimsy SIM card removal tool—included only with Wi-Fi + 4G models—being the most noteworthy difference. Expect much more on Apple’s latest-generation tablet soon.

Third-gen iPad launches in 10 countries to lengthy lines

Apple has officially launched its third-generation iPad in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK, as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. According to a Reuters report, hundreds were lined up outside stores in Asia and Europe for the launch, many of them from outside the respective countries in which they were purchasing their iPads. AllThingsD reports that a healthy, if not “peak level” line was formed around Apple’s flagship 5th Avenue store this morning, while Cult of Mac cites anecdotal reports suggesting that lines at some large Apple Stores—including those on Regent Street in London and on Boylston Street in Boston—saw their lines quickly dissipate, with plenty of stock remaining for walk-in customers.

Walmart to start third-gen iPad sales at 12:01 am

Walmart has announced that it will start to sell the third-generation iPad at 12:01 a.m. local time tomorrow morning. According to the retailer, there will be a “limited supply of the new iPad available” at 24-hour Walmart locations starting at one minute after midnight, giving customers a nearly eight hour jump on those choosing to purchase their iPads at other brick-and-mortar retailers. Apple will officially launch the third-generation iPad tomorrow, Friday, March 16.

Third-gen iPad lengthens charging times

According to an anecdotal report in one of the early crop of third-generation iPad reviews, the new device takes substantially longer to charge than prior versions. “While the new battery clearly isn’t much bigger than the old one, it can hold much more juice (42 watt-hours versus 25-watt-hours)”, MG Siegler writes for TechCrunch. “The downside of this is that I’ve found it takes quite a bit longer to charge the new iPad. As in several hours — you’ll probably want to do it overnight.” Siegler also notes that the new iPad gets noticeably warm—“never hot, just warm”, he assures—in the lower lefthand corner after prolonged use; The Verge noted similar warmth when using LTE for extended periods of time, suggesting that it, and not the battery, is to blame. Expect full test results from iLounge’s independent review.

iFixit begins teardown of third-gen iPad

After acquiring a third-generation iPad at a Telstra store in Melbourne, Australia, iFixit has begun its teardown of the third-generation iPad. The repair manual site/parts supplier is still in the early stages of the teardown, but thus far has been able to check the model numbers on the back of the device’s 9.7-inch display, which reportedly suggest that the part is a Samsung LCD. We will be updating this story with more details as they become available.

Update: As the teardown continues, chips from Texas Instruments, Broadcom, Epocs, Toshiba, Qualcomm, and Fairchild have been found inside the device, as has the silver A5X chip cover; the A5X in this particular unit was manufactured by Samsung in the first week of 2012.

Update x2: As previously revealed, the third-generation iPad’s battery is a 3.7 volt, 42.5 watt-hour battery, and, as in past iPad models, takes up the bulk of the volume inside the device’s case.

FaceTime on third-gen iPad limited to Wi-Fi networks

As part of its testing for its review of the third-generation iPad, The Verge reports that the device still requires a Wi-Fi connection to use FaceTime. This is surprising due to the data speeds of LTE networks, which often times rival standard cable Internet, and are therefore just as capable of providing the bandwidth necessary for a video call. In addition—and as pointed out in the report—the Verizon third-generation iPad is capable of acting as a wireless hotspot, and could therefore likely provide a fast enough connection to an iPhone or another iPad to conduct a FaceTime call with little, if any, degradation in quality.

Wolfram Alpha adds image processing

Wolfram Alpha has released an update to the iOS application for its computational knowledge engine adding a new optional image processing feature. Available as a $1 in-app purchase, the premium image processing add-on allows users to import pictures into Wolfram Alpha for quick analysis and processing either from the device’s camera or photo library. The app will provide detailed information on an image including basic characteristics and EXIF data along with other data such as an intensity histogram and colour analysis; users can then perform additional processing functions including making level and colour adjustments, adding effects and performing optical character recognition. Modified images can be shared via e-mail, posted to Facebook or saved to the photo library. The latest update also adds e-commerce links for consumer product queries and weather information and general user interface improvements. Wolfram Alpha requires iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $3; the image processing add-on is available as an in-app purchase for an additional $1.

Watch with eBay helps users find TV show related items

eBay has released Watch with eBay, a new iPad app allowing users to search the popular online auction site for items related to their favourite TV programs. The app provides an integrated, image-rich program guide that users can browse or search through based on ZIP code and service provider to see what’s on TV and then easily shop for items related to the selected program. Users can also search for specific items and bid, buy and pay for items directly within the app. The app also includes eBay Celebrity allowing users to learn about their favourite celebrities charitable causes and contribute to them as well as finding out what they may shop for on eBay. Watch with eBay requires an iPad running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download; the app is focused on buying items only, eBay notes that sellers should continue to use the standard eBay for iPad app. [via Engadget]

Third-gen iPad panel suppliers in doubt?

Following a report from yesterday claiming that Samsung was the sole supplier of touch-screen panels for the third-generation iPad, a second report has been published challenging the assertion. Citing a source close to the matter, Reuters reports that LG Display is supplying panels for the new iPad, refuting a Bloomberg report from yesterday that quoted an analyst from iSuppli as saying that Samsung was the sole supplier of panels for the device, due to quality control problems at LG and Sharp. “LG is also in a panel supply deal with Samsung for the new iPad,” Reuters’ source said. Interestingly, the earliest part leak of a supposed third-generation iPad LCD panel showed it to be manufactured by Sharp, and the company had been reportedly linked to third-generation iPad panel production as early as November 2011, while both LG and Samsung were named in a report from October 2011.

Apple officially confirms 8 am third-gen iPad launch

Apple this morning confirmed yesterday’s report that it will begin to sell the third-generation iPad at 8:00 a.m. local time on Friday, March 16. As revealed last week during the company’s special press event, the device will initially launch in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, and the UK, along with Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. In the US, the third-generation iPad will be available at Apple’s retail stores, as well as Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target, and Walmart. Apple will continue its rollout of the device on March 23, when it launches in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Tweetbot for iPad adds streaming, Retina Display graphics

Tapbots has released an update to Tweetbot adding Retina Display graphics in preparation for the impending release of the new third-generation iPad as well as live streaming and several other smaller improvements. Tweetbot 2.1 now allows users to optionally stream tweets live over Wi-Fi instead of relying on a manual or timed refresh; the new tweet notification also now only sounds for mentions, direct messages, and new tweets that appear following a manual refresh. The update also improves Tweetmarker service integration and fixes a number of additional bugs related to direct messages and other issues. Tweetbot 2.1 for iPad requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $3.

IDC: Despite record sales, iPad’s share of tablets slips in Q4

According to new data from IDC, the iPad saw its share of the tablet market slip in the fourth calendar quarter of 2011, despite selling over 15 million units. IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker claims that Apple’s iPad, which saw shipments of 15.4 million units during the period, faced increased competition in the space, most specifically from Amazon, which shipped 4.7 million Kindle Fires. Based on total worldwide tablet shipments of 28.2 million units during the quarter, Apple held a 54.7 percent share of the market—down from 61.5 percent in the prior quarter—followed by Amazon with 16.8 percent, Samsung with 5.8 percent, Barnes & Noble with 3.5 percent, and budget Android tablet maker Pandigital with 2.5 percent. Overall, Android held a 44.6 percent share of the tablet market, a number which IDC expects will continue to grow at the expense of the iPad and iOS.

AT&T, Verizon to offer third-gen iPad with 4G at launch

AT&T has announced that it will offer Wi-Fi + 4G models of the third-generation iPad starting on launch day. According to the announcement, all models of Wi-Fi + 4G will be available, across all AT&T sales channels. “The new iPad is coming to the nation’s largest 4G network and we could not be more excited,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility. “Our customers will get a widespread, ultra-fast and consistent 4G experience from AT&T on day one, plus unlimited access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network at no extra charge. We’re offering very competitive data plans for iPad and are confident customers will agree that AT&T delivers the best experience.” Apple will launch the third-generation iPad at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, March 16.

Update: Verizon Wireless has announced that it will also offer the third-generation iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G starting Friday, March 16 at all Verizon Wireless stores, as well as online.

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