The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced plans to file a complaint against Apple for alleged contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) based on the company’s marketing of the third-generation iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G. The announcement reads, “The ACCC alleges that Apple’s recent promotion of the new ‘iPad with WiFi + 4G’ is misleading because it represents to Australian consumers that the product ‘iPad with WiFi + 4G’ can, with a SIM card, connect to a 4G mobile data network in Australia, when this is not the case.” Of course, all third-generation iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G units sold in Australia can, in fact, connect to 4G LTE networks; Apple is not responsible for pushing local carriers to adopt the technology. The ACCC is seeking urgent interlocutory relief to ensure consumers are made aware of the correct technical capabilities of this device, as well as injunctions, pecuniary penalties, corrective advertising and refunds to consumers affected.
In the wake of continued reports claiming that the third-generation iPad continues to aggressively draw power long after it reports a 100 percent charge, iLounge has run its own collection of tests that suggest otherwise. Use of a Kill-a-Watt power monitoring tool showed that the new iPad draws up to 12W of wall power under peak conditions—screen brightness at 100 percent with Infinity Blade II playing—but more typically draws 10-11W under two conditions: active “full-speed” recharging with the screen off, or when being used for less graphic-intensive apps with screen brightness at 100%, after having fully recharged. By comparison, with the screen on and brightness set to 50 percent, it draws roughly 7W from the wall while it’s being used after a full recharge, and 5-7W for slower trickle charging. Moreover, after reaching the 100% mark, it quickly drops to drawing only 1-2W of power when the screen’s off and it’s sitting idle. Notably, we saw very similar numbers for the iPad 2, which drew 11W at its most power-hungry, and fell to 4-5W for slower charging.
There’s no doubt that the new iPad is more power-hungry than its predecessor, and there’s also atypical disparity between when the new iPad reports a 100 percent charge and when its battery is actually charged to full capacity—an error that should and hopefully will be fixed in the near future. However, we are not seeing unusual continued charging times or power drain after it reaches the 100% mark. To the contrary, it appears to be drawing less power at that point, just as was the case with the iPad 2. That’s right in line with what we’d expect from an idling device that’s sipping energy to keep its fuel levels at max for eventual disconnection and portable use.
Apple will include Baidu as a default search option in iOS’ Safari browser, according to a new report. Citing informed sources, Chinese-language Sina Technology News (Translated Link) reports that the search engine will be introduced to iOS users in the Chinese market next month, as part of a partnership between Apple and Baidu. Currently, Google is installed as the default search engine in iOS, with options for Yahoo and Bing. It is unclear whether Baidu search will arrive in a system software update, or if Apple will be able to enable support through other means. [via 9to5Mac]
In an going dispute with Motorola Mobility, RIM, and Nokia over Apple’s proposed nano-SIM card, Apple has made a surprisingly generous offer in exchange for the standardization of the technology. Citing a “perfectly reliable source”, FOSS Patents reports that Apple sent a letter to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) last week, in which it made a commitment to grant royalty-free licenses to any and all Apple patents essential to nano-SIM. The proposal would only become effective if Apple’s proposal is adopted as a standard, and all other patent holders accept the same terms in accordance with the principle of reciprocity.
As noted in the report, the move shows that Apple is serious about establishing the nano-SIM standard, as it should nullify concerns of other handset manufacturers who worried that Apple might eventually own all the patents related to the technology, and thus give it the ability to charge royalties on any nano-SIM-compatible handsets. The new standard proposals are expected to be discussed at ETSI’s Smart Card Platform Plenary meeting later this week.
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.