Apple has received regulatory approval for the third-generation iPad in China. Computerworld reports that the China Quality Certification Center has given the device the China Compulsory Certification, a mandatory stamp necessary for the sale of the device in the country. According to the report, 3G versions of the iPad will still need regulatory approval for a network access permit, but even with the approval, Apple may face roadblocks bringing the device to market thanks to an ongoing trademark dispute over the iPad name in China. Apple has yet to announce a release date for the device in China.
Apple today launched its third-generation iPad in 24 additional countries, bringing the total number of countries in which the device has launched to 34. Alongside last week’s launches in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the US Virgin Islands, the new iPad launched today 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. Apple announced that it sold three million third-generation iPad units in four days earlier this week.
A new report suggests that the third-generation iPad’s incompatibility is due to a change in the sensor used to sense magnets and not due to a change in placement or some other matter. Blogger Mark Booth claims that Apple is using a new design of sleep/wake sensor in the third-gen iPad that is sensitive to polarity, and that cases which appear not to work with the new model are simply built with the incorrect polarity. In addition, Booth claims that Apple made the change due to complaints from some iPad 2 customers who found that their iPads would go to sleep simply from folding the Smart Cover flat behind the device. According to Booth, Apple modified the design specifications of its Smart Covers sometime in 2011, giving the updated units new model numbers, and fixing the accidental activation problem. For more information, see our Backstage article on the subject. [via The Verge]
SugarSync has released a major update to its universal iOS client adding a completely redesigned interface for iPad users. SugarSync is a cloud-based storage and synchronization service that allows users to easily sync their files and folders across multiple computers and mobile devices including the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with the free, universal iOS app. With SugarSync 3.0 the iPad interface has been completely redesigned to provide better use of the larger screen both for the display of information as well as new drag-and-swipe navigation for commonly used features.
With version 3.0 on the iPad, devices and shared folders are now displayed in a permanent sidebar at the left of the screen along with mobile photos and videos, web archives, recent documents, the Magic Briefcase and more. A sliding and stacking panels interface allows users to more effectively navigate into their folder structures while viewing multiple folders at once, providing quick access to other folders and the persistent top-level sidebar at the left; users can use drag and swipe gestures to move the stacked panels in order keep track of current and related folders as they navigate the file system and view individual files. SugarSync 3.0 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Continuing to look into display- and battery-related questions surrounding the third-generation iPad, DisplayMate has found some noteworthy battery charging-related oddities. In an email exchange with iLounge, DisplayMate President Ray Soneira indicated that the third-generation iPad—when connected to power via the included Apple 10W Power Adapter—actually continued to draw 10W of power for up to one hour after reaching what is reported by iOS as a full 100% charge. In iLounge’s testing, the new iPad switches from a lightning bolt (“still charging”) to plug (“done charging”) battery icon 5 to 10 minutes after reaching 100%; Soneira confirmed that the iPad still charges even when it claims to have been filled.
Notably, iLounge found unusual, non-linear reported battery drain during our numerous battery tests, with the third-generation iPad sometimes reporting a battery loss of just two percent over the first hour of testing, then averaging 10% of loss each hour afterwards while performing the same tasks. It is unclear at this point whether Apple has taken certain liberties when reporting battery levels to give the impression of faster charging and slower loss—similar to its prior treatment of cellular signal levels for iPhones, an issue remedied shortly after the iPhone 4 was released—or if there is some other explanation for the observed battery charging and discharging behavior.
A new report suggests that some third-generation iPad owners are finding their LTE connections help highlight the limited nature of their data plans. The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of users have already burned through their monthly data allotments just days after receiving their new device. Streaming video is given primary blame for the issue, but should be expected by users; since LTE can deliver data speeds similar to—if not faster than—home Wi-Fi, content providers are streaming higher-quality videos to the devices, which in turn uses more data. Confusing matters further is AT&T’s decision to label its HSPA+ network “4G”, as videos delivered over that network still arrive in a highly compressed, 3G-ready form. As noted in the report, AT&T is considering a plan through which app developers and content providers would cover the bill for customers’ data usage; the charges would likely be passed on to the consumer in the form of advertising or in-app subscriptions.
A number of third-generation iPad users have taken to Apple’s support forums to report issues with Wi-Fi connectivity. The thread, which has reached seven pages in length, suggests that quite a few users are seeing poor Wi-Fi performance on their new iPads, with the signal staying lower than comparable devices—including the original iPad and iPad 2—and subsequently dropping the signal a shorter distance away from the router. iLounge has seen little evidence of this in our testing of multiple iPads, but our editors have seen past and current iPad units experience normal signal weakness related to increased distance from wireless base stations, and attenuation related to antenna blockage. It’s unclear whether some third-generation iPads have faulty wireless hardware, or whether software updates for iPads or routers will be able to remedy the reported issues.
In a continuation into reports of third-generation iPad units running noticeably warmer than prior models, Consumer Reports has conducted its own thermal tests. When running the popular game Infinity Blade II for 45 minutes straight, the third-generation iPad reached temperatures as high as 113º F — and 116º while plugged in — compared to the iPad 2, which was 13º and 12º cooler under the same conditions, respectively. The report does note, however, that even at those temperatures, the iPad is not necessarily uncomfortable to hold. Apple earlier today released a statement claiming that the new iPad runs “well within our thermal specifications.”
Apple has issued a statement on the heat generated by the third-generation iPad during extended/demanding use. “The new iPad delivers a stunning Retina display, A5X chip, support for 4G LTE plus 10 hours of battery life, all while operating well within our thermal specifications,” Apple representative Trudy Muller said in a statement to The Loop. “If customers have any concerns they should contact AppleCare.” As noted in our prior report on thermal images comparing the new device to the iPad 2, the measurements taken during the imaging process showed that while the device was indeed warmer than its predecessor, it was within Apple’s normal operating temperatures as listed on its iPad Tech Specs page.
New thermal images of the third-generation iPad show that the device does indeed heat up in the bottom corner. Dutch site Tweakers.net reports (Translated Link) that it sat a third-generation iPad next to an iPad 2 and ran GLBenchmark on each device. After five minutes, the temperature at the hottest point on both devices was measured, with the iPad 2 heating to 28.3º C (roughly 83º F) and the third-gen unit reaching 33.6º C, or roughly 93º F. Apple quotes the third-generation iPad’s operating temperature as 32º to 95º F, so while the unit is indeed getting warm, it is still within normal ranges. [via Engadget]
Update: As noted in the comments, the operating temperature as listed on Apple’s site pertains to the environment around the iPad, not the unit itself.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.