iPad 2 vs. the New iPad: Here is Why You Should Wait to Upgrade

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.


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About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • bolthouse

    Crapple upgrade indeed

  • Appleok

    I don’t think Apple Will be doing major upgrades.they don’t need too. Did you see how well, the iPhone 4S sold and still sells? They keep you wanting more and give you just enough for many to upgrade and many to try for the first time. They don’t need to wow everyone everytime, just give you nice job. Apple has built such a loyal following and has such good products that they will let the other companies try to wow everybody. They will just add a bit here and there and dare the others to play catchup. Android has taken over the phone world because they need to sell so many different types of handsets to do it. Apple has one and people love it more than android users love their phones. They do more with less.

  • nicolas

    “There was no significant change in the form factor,…” were you looking for a triangular or circular screen? How much of a change in form factor can we expect?

    • Juli Clover

      Well, there could be less of a bevel. Or it could always get bigger – iPad Deluxe?

      • http://fitzvillafuerte.com Fitz

         The Office fan here also. LOL.

  • Fiestaprawn

    Very well said. As I have been trolling with the same thoughts everywhere….. Lol!

  • http://www.facebook.com/JesseDJ Jesse Diaz

    Although I mumbled ‘What?” when I read your article and knew I would have objections (becuase Im a fan of almost everything Apple does ), the one thing I cant fight you on is the exclusion of SIRI personal assistant.  Really?  Apple doesnt see how much MORE SIRI would help on the iPad?

    But including this on your list is a little premature….you are assuming that SIRI will never come to the New iPad…theres no reason to think it wont.  AFter all, the New iPad is more powerful than the iPhone 4S and it has it…..so if thats the case, we know that hardware wont the restricting factor.  Therefore, I can conlcude that it can later be added via software…..Am I off on this?

  • http://twitter.com/meredithbjones Meredith Jones

    Don’t forget, some of us still have the iPad 1 !  And Siri will likely be integrated into a new version of iOs this year (my prediction).

  • http://sikosis.com/ Sikosis

    Well I didn’t buy the iPad 1 or 2, so for a first time buyer, I think it’ll be awesome. You failed to mention the new iPad has 1GB of RAM. That’s 4x the original and 2x the iPad 2. iOS devices with more ram run better as they don’t have to keep dumping apps out, which translates to a better performance experience.

    • http://www.facebook.com/JesseDJ Jesse Diaz

      Yep…1 GB RAM is pretty significant…but not yet confrimed

    • Juli Clover

      Yeah, I didn’t touch on RAM because I’m just not sure yet, though it stands to reason that it was upgraded. 

  • mn2k2shox

    I think the upgrades are more than enough.. I mean Siri and A6 chip as well.. How much money do you have. It would cost a fortune. All year long everyone are disappointed and angry with Apple for not lowering the price to compete with other Tablets… and yet everybody wants the world in the palm of their hands.. Seriously.. Any faster i.e A6 chip would make iPad 1 and 2 obsolete as they just won’t be able to cope with the high level apps. Thats why Android apps are so shit as there are just way to many tablets with too many diff specs. SIRI? Do you really want to be holding your iPad to your face at the middle of the street? I mean that’s when you are prob b using it most if at all. Don’t forget The new IPad comes with dictation. The new camera not much of an upgrade? Again for a year everyone wishes the iPad 2 had a better camera.

    • http://www.facebook.com/JesseDJ Jesse Diaz

      Im with you but dont forget that some of us use the iPad at work or in a home office so SIRI will be a little more useful to those people……

  • Bill_PadGadget

    We wanted to cover both the pros and cons of the new iPad.  Be sure to check out our other post for reasons why we think the new iPad is worth upgrading to => http://www.padgadget.com/2012/03/08/ipad-2-vs-the-new-ipad-why-you-should-upgrade/      

    • Man314

      Yes, I saw that. Couldn’t believe it was the same author. I thought someone hijacked your site. ;). It’s just my preference would be one fair and balanced post. All good.

  • jonnyohio

    I don’t see enough there to sell my iPad 2 and buy this one. I love my iPad 2…I just don’t see any reason for apple to make it much better though than the improvements they made….it works great like it is so why make big changes? I had an android tablet for a year before i bought an ipad, and the ipad blows it out of the water. Sure it would be nice to make a way to expand storage but so far the 16gb works fine for me and 1gig of data from Verizon is plenty for the few times I’m without wifi (which is rare anymore). It works great for I want it to do, and I’m happy they didn’t make huge upgrades so I don’t have to spend a bunch of money to keep up. People who have been thinking of getting an iPad should get the new one, and people still using their iPad 1 might want to upgrade, but iPad 2 owners, unless money is no object, should probably wait for something better.

  • Willy

    Hmm. Well, I upgraded, but then I only have the iPad One and have noticed some apps are a bit slow now. That plus the screen  and the faster CPU (vs the iPad One) make it worthwhile for me. My old one goes to the grandkids. As far as the other features:

    1) I will not use the camera much as there is no camera on any portable device that is worth crap. When it comes to real photos, go DSLR or go home. Tiny bits of glass are no substitute for a real lens that costs 4X what an entire iPad does. Like phone cameras, useful for only casual photos. You may get the occasional great photo but they are the rare exception, not the rule.

    2) Siri:  More annoying than useful. A recent survey showed that a very large percentage of 4S owners started using Siri and just stopped after a while as it is not all that useful or reliable. Besides, who wants to go into a store or restaurant and have to listen to a bunch of morons blathering to their phones?

    3) 4G: Nice if you need it and the hot spot feature is very nice. I can see myself signing up for vacations or something but that is about it.

  • Alfiejr

    of course the new iPad is not a “must have” purchase for iPad 2 owners. that is posing a very silly question. that would be terrible. any hardware you buy at these prices should have at least a two year full-feature lifetime for heavinnsake. 

    thus the most important consumer features shown yesterday were the new/upgrade Apple apps for both the new iPad and iPad 2. iPhoto is a knockout, and the iMovie improvements are great. plus the upgrades to the AppleTV software as well, which ATV 2 owners also get. they’re all parts of the continued evolution of the Apple ecosystem, which is the real story here.

    btw, everyone forgets, Siri is still a beta. the official release will very likely come at WWDC in a few months, with the iOS 5.2 update for the iPad and probably OS X Mountain Lion too.

    too much instant gratification going on …

  • Nn81

    Was good to see to see this kind of article instead of the usual apple cheerleading of everything they do on this site

  • jarland

    I stopped at moderate performance enhancements. You’re forgetting that this is still the computer market. The rest of us are using them to run apps and apparently you’re using them to decorate. If huge performance upgrades don’t inspire you to upgrade, you probably never justified a pc upgrade until they did a redesign of the tower.

    He iPad design is perfect, don’t fix what isn’t broken. This upgrade was huge. Preordered two, because this has replaced a laptop for me (making it extremely cheap relative to my use of it).

  • Gregory Gray

    I am more in agreement with your pro upgrade article.  I don’t think the argument that the screen upgrade is not a game changer holds water.  Side by side it will be the same as putting the iPhone 4 next to the iPhone 3.  It is night and day.

  • Juli Clover

    You may be able to sell your current iPad, but several hundred dollars still isn’t pocket change for a lot of people.

  • http://twitter.com/dementia Karen Ang

    Steve Jobs must be turning in his grave :(

  • ruddyman

    The ram upgrade alone was important in the iPad 2 for a few of my most important apps, like file managers and pdf readers (many of which had ram warnings). Add to that the ability to do Skype and Facetime, and it really made sense for a lot of people.