Apple iPad: The Retina Display Redefines the Tablet


While this iPad lacks Siri support--an odd omission, given that last fall's iPhone 4S introduced Siri--it does add integrated voice recognition. I really liked using the built-in speech recognition tool, powered by Nuance. That said, I didn't like that I needed to be connected online, since, like Siri on the iPhone 4S, it makes calls back to the Apple servers to provide the service. But it was very accurate and responsive when I tested it. I also wish that the device had a way to perma-hold the microphone button on the keyboard (I didn't stumble across it, if one exists) so that I can dictate more than just a quick sentence here and there. I suppose, however, if that were the intent of the voice feature, I'd be using a dedicated app for that.

For all of my raving about the display, I have to note that Apple broke with tradition and didn't make this iPad thinner and lighter than its predecessor. The new iPad is slightly thicker (0.37 inch) than the iPad 2 (0.34 inch), the (0.34 inch), and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime (0.33 inch). The , which currently holds the crown as the slimmest tablet available, measures just 0.3 inch.

While I understand that the increased girth is to accommodate the new iPad's bigger battery, its 4G radio (on those models), and the Retina display, I'm more concerned about the iPad's weight. I surveyed more than a dozen editors in our offices, and all immediately noticed a difference between the new iPad and its competitors, including the iPad 2 and the lightest of the 10-inch-class Androids, the 1.12-pound Toshiba Excite 10 LE, plus the sleek 1.29-pound Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

The third-generation iPad weighs 1.44 pounds for the Wi-Fi-only version and 1.46 pounds for the 4G version. It's a slight but noticeable increase from the iPad 2's weight of 1.33 pounds for the non-3G version and 1.35 pounds for the 3G version. Heavier is not the right direction for tablets to take, and it goes against the trend among competing Android models, which are becoming lighter.