Apart from the lack of 3G and GPS in Apple’s Wi-Fi only iPad 2, the rest of its internals are identical to those packed into its 3G-capable counterpart, so you’ll be surprised to find that iLounge have discovered differences in the quality of audio recorded by each device. The Wi-Fi only iPad 2 achieves higher quality audio recordings, and it’s believed that it’s the differences in materials of the two tablet models that makes the difference.
In both models of the iPad 2, the microphone is housed at the top of the device near the FaceTime camera. On the Wi-Fi only device, the housing around the microphone is aluminum, and is said to offer “markedly cleaner audio than that of the 3G,” which has its microphone embedded within the plastic antenna strip. Audio recorded on this device is said to sound “slightly muffled and echo-prone.”
iLounge noted in their report:
“Curiously, we found the GSM 3G model’s audio to be slightly preferable to that of the CDMA model, which seemed to suffer the issues more severely. The problem is particularly evident when the iPad’s screen is facing the user, as is the case when using FaceTime and a great many other apps.”
On the first-generation iPad, the microphone is located close the headphone jack and housed in aluminum in both the 3G and Wi-Fi models, so the quality of audio recording is identical on both devices.
Although iLounge claims that this is a “particularly evident” problem for the 3G iPad, it’s hard to establish at this time whether it’s enough of an issue to avoid this model for the time being. It’s possible that Apple will modify the iPad 2′s design mid-production if this proves to be a significant problem, however, if you’re an early adopter, you may be stuck with it.