Survey: Folks Rate New iPad As Best Ever; Hot On Retina Display, Pretty Cool On Heat-Gate

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Another consumer milestone of sorts for Apple, and one more sign of how competitors are going to have to raise the bar yet again: the new iPad is proving to be highest-rated yet of the three versions of the iPad tablet released so far by the company, according to the latest report from ChangeWave Research.

In a survey from the last week of March, more than four out of every five owners — 82 percent, to be exact — said they were “very satisfied” with the new device, with 16 percent saying they are “somewhat satisfied.” And while the high-resolution Retina display has proven to be the biggest hit with new owners, one of the more high profile drawbacks, claims that the device was getting too hot during prolonged use — turned out to be not such a hot issue after all.

The caveat in this research is that it only covers 200 people. 200! That’s nothing, and only a small piece of the 25,000 that ChangeWave says that it has access to for surveys. On the more constructive side, this is one more indicator of how this newest tablet from Apple will progress in sales in the months ahead.

Another are stats from Apple itself, which noted that it sold three million of the new tablet in the first three days it was on sale. And a third is a report out today from Consumer Reports, which has also put the new iPad tablet at the top of its list of best tablets.

ChangeWave says that owners of the new iPad have rated it higher than any other iPad yet, as based on the research group’s surveys. In comparison, when ChangeWave surveyed new owners of the iPad 2 after it launched, 74 percent of iPad 2 owners said they were “very satisfied”, and a further 23 percent said they were “somewhat satisfied”.

This time around, ChangeWave noted that the Retina display was named by 75 percent of users as the best feature of the new tablet, with the extended battery life only coming in at a distant second at 22 percent.

One reason for that may be because users might not have noticed a particularly bad battery life with the older model in comparison. The third most-liked feature was the 4G/LTE capability, although other data from Localytics seems to indicate that this is not a feature much used by most new iPad owners, with only six percent of traffic on the iPad coming from 4G networks in its research. Outside of the U.S., where there is still little in the way of LTE services — and controversially even less that work with the radio equipment in the new iPad — the number of people using that capability might be even lower.

Last month, Consumer Reports made a big deal about the heat generated by the new iPad, a claim that got amplified by others, Apple has deflected a lot of that criticism, and it appears that most consumers have not taken the bait, either.

When asked by ChangeWave what they did not like about the new device, only seven percent named the heat issue as a bad point. Asked for more detail, these users also said that they didn’t see the heat issue as a safety concern.

To put this in context, seven percent is the same proportion that cited lack of integration with other devices as a problem with the new iPad. Apple has taken precious few steps to solve the integration issue — and in some ways has built an ecosystem to make sure that when users do want to “integrate” it will be with other Apple devices and services.

ChangeWave says that no other dislike picked up more than five percent of user response, meaning that heat scored very low indeed, and no one — 0 percent — said heat was a big issue.

Also, comparing the heat issue with “antenna-gate”, the latter issue around iPhone 4’s antenna and cellular reception apparently found a lot more users noting this as a problem — with seven percent calling it a “very big problem” — something even Apple itself had to eventually address.

In contrast, the biggest negative was the cost of the new iPad (26 percent), followed closely by the cost of a new data plan to use it (23 percent). The iPad’s pricing begins at $499 for the most basic 16GB model.

Given that device makers have yet to be able to make anything that has matched or beaten the iPad on a specs level (at least where consumer mindshare is concerned) it will likely be price that continues to be the force that helps competitors like Amazon (with its $199 Kindle Fire) and others compete against the iPad.