Earlier today I reviewed some of the great reasons why it’s worth upgrading to Apple’s latest iPad. Many readers responded saying they were disappointed with the new iPad and wouldn’t be making the jump this time around so I thought I’d explore the reasons why you may want to skip the ‘new iPad’ and wait for something bigger and better.
If you were disappointed by yesterday’s iPad announcement event, you’re not the only one. It seemed rushed, a bit uncoordinated, and most of all, unpolished. Even the new iPad feels uninspired, despite its much-touted Retina Display.
Resolutionary? Really? Would the lousy pun that now decorates the iPad’s main page have slipped by if Steve Jobs were still at Apple’s helm? I’d like to think that it wouldn’t.
Now that the rumors have been quelled, and we know exactly what’s in the iPad, it’s time to take a hard look at the facts and decide whether or not its worth upgrading to the new tablet.
Once again, as with the iPhone 4S, Apple has played it safe. There was no significant change in the form factor, aside from a minuscule 1mm size increase to accommodate the Retina Display. In fact, aside from the high resolution display, there was nothing innovative in the iPad’s release (you can even say the Retina Display was a natural evolution) and nothing to make us say “wow.”
It is, essentially, a re-packaged iPad 2 with a few moderate performance enhancements, and is that truly worth the substantial cost of upgrading from an iPad 2? If you’re a new buyer, are a few minor improvements worth the extra purchase price? After all, you can snag an iPad 2 for the low price of $399 now.
While the Retina Display is impressive, it’s still largely cosmetic. Yes, apps and games will look slightly better, as will written text, but if you already own an iPad 2 you’ve probably never had a problem reading anything on it. Even small text is already crisp and easy to see. 2048 x 1536 sounds impressive, but is it really that much of a difference?
The new iPad received an upgraded processor, but not the A6 we were hoping for. Instead, it’s the A5X with a quad-core GPU, but what does that really mean in terms of apps and games? At this point, there aren’t any apps that seem to test the limits of what the iPad 2 can do, and since many people are going to be sticking with their iPad 2s, you can bet games are going to be designed to run on both platforms, meaning developers won’t truly be able to test the limits of the new processor. Have you seen any games that are only able to run on the iPhone 4S and not the iPhone? I haven’t. It will be the same with the third generation iPad and the iPad 2.
A 5-megapixel camera with 1080p video sounds impressive, but how many of us actually use our iPads to take photos and videos? Personally, I’ve only done so to test apps, and I can’t help but laugh whenever I see someone in a public place using their iPad 2 as a camera. I’ve actually only seen this done twice, once at the zoo and once at the local aquarium, and both times, it looked exceedingly awkward. The addition of an improved camera doesn’t change the iPad’s awkward form factor.
The lack of Siri integration was a major disappointment. There may be new voice dictation capabilities, but what there are a lot of other Siri aspects that would have been nice to have. We use our iPads for scheduling, messaging, and emailing, so why did Apple deny us Siri?
4G LTE is a major selling point, but of the two carriers who offer it, do you know how many have unlimited data support? Yeah, that’s right, none. With LTE, you can download at lightning fast speeds, but how useful is that when your data is majorly capped? The reasonably priced plans from AT&T and Verizon give 3GB and 2GB of data, respectively, for $30 per month. Streaming video and music from places like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify will still eat up that data in no time. In fact, with a 2G data cap, at 72Mbps, you can use that data in four minutes. When your data is gone, 4G means nothing.
Sure, you can go ahead and pay $530 (price of an iPad 16GB WiFi with tax) or more for the iPad’s new bells and whistles, but do you want to know the truth? Your iPad 2 is still going to do 90 to 95 percent of what the new iPad can do, and that’s a lot of cash for a minor upgrade.
Are you going to go for the new iPad, or stick with the iPad 2? Let us know in the comments.