Apple is expected to release the iPad 3 in a few weeks, at an event held in early March.
We already have a good idea about the specs, including a new Retina Display with a super high-resolution, a 4G LTE connection, better camera and even a quad-core processor that gives the iPad more power.
(Read: What to Expect from the iPad 3)
With these improvements, we still don’t know if Apple will increase the iPad’s durability, something that is increasingly important as Apple aims for iPad equipped classrooms.
What’s Wrong With the iPad 2?
“skyrocketing rates of broken screens.”
When Apple introduced the iPad 2, they made a big deal about the new thin design. While we love a thin gadget as much as the next guy, a thinner iPad comes with a price.
In the case of the iPad 2, the price is a thinner glass display, 23% thinner to be exact. While Apple uses a chemically strengthened glass, similar to Gorilla Glass, it hasn’t held up as well as Gorilla Glass in several drop tests, like the one shown below. While Gorilla Glass didn’t save the Xoom, the Tab fared better.
According to Vince Tseng, VP of Marketing for SquareTrade, a company that sells third-party warranties for many devices, the thinner glass has caused, “skyrocketing rates of broken screens.”
Additionally, Tseng shares that while the iPad 2 hasn’t resulted in an increase of manufacturer defects, the accidental damage rates are, “much higher.”
Based on customer stories and anecdotal information, this increase in damage may be partly due to users picking up the iPad 2 by the Smart Cover, which then slips off, allowing the iPad to drop.
How The iPad 3 Could Be More Durable
One of easiest ways is for Apple to use a stronger glass. We saw Gorilla Glass 2 shown off at CES 2012, where we watched many demonstrations of strength, but no drop tests.
The new Gorilla Glass is 20% thinner and retains the same strength as the first generation of Gorilla Glass. Apple doesn’t name the glass used in the iPad 2, but Tseng believes that it is not Gorilla Glass. Instead he suggests that the iPad 2′s glass is likely made by Asahi Glass.
Below you can see a Gorilla Glass 2 strength test demonstration.
With the introduction of the Retina Display, we might see a new glass on the iPad 3, which gives Apple a chance to provide more durability, especially if it intends for school kids to carry around iPads all day.
Another way that Apple might improve the durability is not with changes to the iPad itself, but with a smarter Smart Cover. If Apple can find a way to keep the cover on the iPad 3 when it is grabbed haphazardly or to keep it closed when it is dropped, we may see fewer broken screens on the iPad 3.
How would you like to see Apple make the iPad 3 more durable than the iPad 2?