New iPad Review: 3 Days With Apple's Hot Upgraded Tablet

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The New IPadAll weekend I've been trying to come up with some glaring weakness in the new iPad. It's escaping me.

Outside of cost, which is sizable, the iPad was reported to do everything fans would expect. I decided to find out for myself.

Inspired by Apple's (AAPL) success with the previous generation iPads, I took my first bite. The new iPad -- my first real foray into the tablet market -- arrived at my door at 10 a.m. Friday. I've had three days to play with the device and hook it up to everything Apple in my home. Here's how it stacks up.

New Features

Since voice dictation is the biggest upgrade to the new iPad, I'm testing its functionality by using voice dictation to write most of this article.

Voice dictationLike Siri, voice dictation is a cool tool, but finding applications for it in your everyday life may be a stretch. Unless you're very averse to using the digital keypad or your fingers are a dirty mess, there aren't a lot of times when voice dictation will be easier than typing on the keyboard. But, it is a lot of fun to play with.

The display is just as good as Apple advertised. HD movies almost look better on the iPad than on a 50 inch TV. I did strain my eyes to try to pick out individual pixels and I can confirm they are there. But unless your face is within an inch or two of the screen you won't be able to see them.

The 5MP iSight camera is amazing, although it's lacking a flash. The built-in motion adjustment is a nice feature for taking movies and it even makes pictures cleaner. I never thought I would prefer shooting video with such a big screen, but in this case it's worth it.

Super-Sizing the Apple Experience

I wrote last week about how impressed I was with the Apple TV and the possibilities this device opens up. When the iPad and Apple TV are paired together, both are taken to a new level. Apps can be streamed straight to the Apple TV and the iPad can be used to control the Apple TV.

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This weekend, I watched a DJ mixing party music, played Angry Birds, and used FaceTime, all on the big screen. The combo really makes Apple the center of the living room, whether they intended it that way or not. It makes me wonder what may be in store if Apple does make a television as the rumors predict.

As an entertainment device and tool for everyday use, the iPad lives up to all of my expectations; the upgrades from the iPad 2 are just icing on the cake. It's no shock that Apple has another hit on its hands and I can't wait to see what the company comes up with next.

The new iPad is a phenomenal tool. But, as with every silver lining, it must contend with some cloud coverage.

What the New iPad Is Not

Like the earlier iPads, the new iPad is not a solution for everything and the latest features don't change that.

  • It's not cheap. The price is prohibitive. With a starting price of $499, the new iPad is going to be out of reach for a lot of people.
  • It doesn't necessarily replace anything in the home. It's more of an accessory than a computer replacement.
  • The upgrades aren't a great leap forward by Apple's standards. Sure, the screen is crisper, the camera is better, and the processor is faster, but it's not like the iPad 2 was a slouch. The real improvement may come when developers begin accessing the power these features hold.

Despite the platform being two years old, developers are just starting to open a world of iPad possibilities. As more devices get out into the market, the number of ways the iPad will be used will continue to multiply. This is where I think the iPad will shine, whether you're operating with version 1, 2, or 3.

So is it worth the fuss? If you can afford it -- or if you can use the iPad in a productive way -- absolutely. But it isn't worth upgrading from an iPad 2, at least based on my experience so far.

Motley Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Autodesk and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.


Skeletons in the Corporate Closet
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New iPad Review: 3 Days With Apple's Hot Upgraded Tablet

These days, it seems almost impossible for a major corporation to get away with a scandal without an onslaught of media coverage. But dig deep enough, and you'll find carefully buried skeletons in just about every corner office closet.

Minyanville dug deep into the sordid pasts of some of the best known names in global capitalism and the skeletons just flew out.

From McDonald's to Volkswagen, click through our gallery to find out what you didn't know about the companies you thought you knew so well.

By Minyanville

When Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's, finally submitted to hiring females in his restaurants nearly 15 years after the founded the chain, he reportedly insisted they be "flat-chested and unattractive women."

A spokeswoman from McDonald's couldn't verify the precise quote, but she did confirm the essence of it. "He wanted to hire flatter-chested women who would be less attractive to men," she said.

Years before we'd come to associate our beloved Bug with the emblem of the peace sign, Volkswagen's long strange trip began with a swastika. The iconic, quirky little car often dubbed the "hippie-mobile" was originally, quite literally, the Hitler-mobile.

The brainchild of the Führer himself, the car was masterminded as a gift to the German common man. Translated as the "people's car," Volkswagen would provide a cheap, fast, and fuel-efficient means of travel to a country where only a wealthy few owned cars. Hitler, however, never lived to see his pet project come to fruition since the Beetle wouldn't be mass produced until after the Nazi surrender.

For the nearly two decades since entering the US market, Red Bull has been running from controversy like a bovine through a Pamplona street. The energy drink has been implicated in a number of serious, even fatal, swigging and swooning incidents all across the globe.

A 2008 Australian study found that Red Bull can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Just one can of sugar-free Red Bull caused the blood of healthy subjects to become sticky and temporarily raised their cardiovascular risk to levels seen in individuals with cardiovascular disease. But Red Bull disagrees with such assertions.

There is a dark truth about the multi-billion dollar chocolate industry: It has yet to eliminate the child and slave-like labor used to harvest cocoa in the nations where most of the world's supply is grown. According to some human rights activists, "Big Chocolate" hasn't even made a noticeable dent in the problem.

The issue is not a new one. For more than a decade, international labor groups, along with journalists from the New York Times, the BBC, and other major agencies, have been reporting on the West African practice of using young kids, many under age 10, to harvest the cocoa that -- after passing through the hands of farming co-ops, exporters, and food conglomerates -- becomes the chocolate used to make the candy in your local deli or office vending machine.

Chiquita & Dole, two top banana companies, stand accused of hiring murderous terrorist groups.

In his ruling to allow a Chiquita suit to proceed through the judicial system, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra wrote that the families of the victims "allege that Chiquita, knowing that FARC was a terrorist organization, intentionally agreed to provide money, weapons and services to it as part of a common scheme to subvert local trade unions, protect Chiquita's farms and shipments, harm Chiquita's competitors, [and] strengthen FARC's military capabilities, and that [the families] were injured by overt acts done in furtherance of the common scheme.

Dole faces a similar suit. Almost a year ago, 73 heirs of individuals who were murdered by the AUC (another terrorist group) filed a legal complaint against the company.

As Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts often reflected the era at the time of it being inked, they sometimes touched upon sensitive issues with an arguably insensitive approach. Although a sparked stick of dynamite and a giant mallet over the head could easily be laughed off by most, shorts centered around harsh African American stereotypes will do more than just raise an eyebrow.

In 1968, United Artists selected 11 Warner Bros. cartoons that the studio determined to be overtly insensitive to African Americans. As owners to Associated Artists Productions and the cartoon library therein, United Artists pulled the cartoons -- dubbed the "Censored 11" -- from distribution and withheld them from being officially aired on television or released on video

For many years, GE had done business in post-revolution Iran through foreign subsidiaries, selling energy-related products and health-care equipment. GE spokesman Gary Sheffer emphasizes that the business was always a very tiny one for the multinational powerhouse: It amounted to less than 1% of the company's revenue, he says.

Still, regardless of how small this bump proved to the company's bottom line, criticism of GE's involvement in the country ratcheted up in the middle of the last decade.

Policymakers and shareholders, upset with the company's involvement in a country branded by the US government as a state sponsor of terrorism, demanded change from GE's front offices.

But, initially, despite public rebukes, GE fought to maintain a footprint in Tehran.

Although we acknowledge that slavery is part of our country's past, few realize how closely it's tied to some of the most prominent companies in our present, like JPMorgan Chase.

The multinational bank admitted in January 2005 that it had discovered ties to slavery through two of its predecessor banks -- Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana. Between the years of 1831 and 1865, the banks accepted approximately 13,000 slaves as collateral on loans and took ownership of 1,250 people when plantation owners defaulted on those loans.

In June of 2009, Royal Dutch Shell, one of the world's largest oil conglomerates, decided to pay $15.5 million dollars to settle a lawsuit accusing it of human rights abuses in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, rather than go to court.

The suit asserted that in the early '90's, Shell became concerned about author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa's high-profile campaign to protest the impact of oil production throughout the Niger Delta's region and sought to eliminate that threat through a systematic campaign of human rights violations.

While Coke represents a wholesome, all-American image to consumers, there are markets necessary to its long-term financial health that don't adhere to wholesome, all-American ideals.

Take Colombia, where a decades-long civil war has resulted in thousands of assassinations, kidnappings, and cases of torture at the hands of right-wing paramilitary groups -- including the killings of eight people who worked for Coca-Cola bottlers.

According to a lawsuit filed in Miami in 2001, after the union (at a Colombian bottling plant) elected a new board, the general manager brought in paramilitary members to destroy the union. On the morning of December 5, 1996, a union negotiator who manned the plant's front gate was shot and killed by paramilitary members on motorcycles.

Chances are, you never saw The Conqueror. RKO Pictures' sprawling epic of a film, The Conqueror won't be found in many classic collections, nor is it considered vastly underrated by critics or cinephiles. No, by almost every account, it was an unmitigated disaster.

To make matters much worse, the film was shot along the red bluffs and scrubby flatlands of St. George, Utah. Unfortunately, production commenced 137 miles downwind from an atomic testing range in Nevada's Yucca Flats. No less than 11 atomic explosions occurred there the year before, two of which scattered ample amounts of radioactive material throughout the area. The nukes, nicknamed Simon and Harry, were several times larger than the 13 kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

91 members of the cast and crew -- including leads John Wayne, Susan Hayward, and Agnes Moorehead, stuntmen Chuck Roberson and Bernie Gozier, and director Powell -- each contracted various forms of cancer in the years following production.

Go to Minyanville for More on the Devastating Exposure Effects


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