The iPad 3 ships protected with a plastic cover on both sides. This can be removed easily, without leaving any residue on the panel.
I have always loved the Apple finish. Their aluminum enclosures look great and are resilient to everyday handling. My original iPad chassis is still in great condition even though it has been around the world with me. Apple also offer a free engraving service which is a great touch, especially if you are buying it for someone as a gift. There is no longer a delay for selecting this option either.
Along the bottom of the tablet is the speaker and the main connector which hooks into the USB port of a computer or the mains adapter for charging. Our machine arrived with an 81% charge and took an hour to get to 100%. We haven’t had enough time yet to properly analyse battery charging or drain, but in the space of a day, under heavy use our machine is down to 15% charge, after around 8 hours use.
Along the top of the machine is the rear facing camera, ‘silent’ mode button, volume control and power button.
Like before, the iPad 3 only has a single home button on the front of the chassis. I love this minimalist approach because it has proven that you really don’t need a vast array of buttons. The image above shows the differences in mass between the original iPad (right) and the new iPad 3 (left). The iPad 3 is a little bigger than the iPad 2, but it is still much smaller than the first.
The rear surface will be able to withstand handling over the years, but we would recommend a protective cover if you are using the iPad on the move. Apple are stocking these now, but you can buy many third party covers on eBay for a fraction of the price.