Yesterday there were two big Apple announcements. The first was the new Apple TV, and the second (and probably most anticipated) was the New iPad. No, not the iPad 3. Just the “New iPad”. There was much excitement in the geek family house as we watched the live blog coverage of the event, interested to see how many of the rumours would actually turn out to be right, and eager to see if we would fall in love with the new iPad. I have to say I love my iPad 2. I use it every day, primarily for reading (blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc) and for watching videos and TV. So I was really hoping for some great features that would make me keen to upgrade…
So what’s new in the “New iPad”? Well, it’s about the same size as the current iPad 2, marginally thicker, but the general consensus seems to be that you don’t really notice that. The big upgrade is the screen – the new “retina display” means a great improvement in resolution, similar to the upgrade between the iPhone 3 and 4. There’s also a faster processor and a greatly improved camera, which is now comparable to the iPhone 4 camera (but not as good as the one in the iPhone 4S). Battery life appears to be about the same, and the prices are the same too. There’s a big deal being made in America about the addition of LTE technology, which basically allows 4G data connections (if you buy the 4G model), but there’s not much news yet as to which of the UK carriers will support 4G. It must be said I currently have a WiFi only iPad, and I believe that using either a smartphone as a personal hotspot, or a MiFi is a better idea than buying a specific data connection just for your iPad, so 4G is not a big factor for me.
Now, much as I’m sure the screen improvements are nice, I’m not sure I need them. Even though I watch HD movies and content on my iPad, the display I already have is fine. I don’t use my iPad camera at all – it’s too big and bulky, and I’m far more likely to grab my iPhone to take pictures with. From what I can tell my iPad 2 will run all the apps on the app store (perhaps slower than the new iPad, but I can live with that). So I have to say I find myself feeling distinctly “meh” about the new iPad, much as I did about the iPhone 4GS last year. I think for the moment I’ll be sticking with my trusty old iPad 2, and perhaps save my money in the hope that the iPhone 5 is a nice big upgrade for my iPhone 4 when it is inevitably announced in the summer.
If you’ve got an original iPad, this new one will be a much more significant upgrade for you, and in fact Apple’s new iPhoto photo editing and organising software (which the camera-loving geekdaddy says is really rather good) will not run on the iPad 1. So perhaps the answer with Apple technology is to upgrade only ever other year, not every time there’s a new model available.
Perhaps the best deal of all is the new low price for the 16Gb iPad 2 – you can grab a WiFi only one for just £329, a saving of £70. This to me is now the best value iPad in Apple’s stable, and I wonder how many people who were holding off buying an iPad 2 to see what the new iPad would offer will decide that they don’t need the features of the new iPad and will save themselves some money instead.
Oh, the iPad 2 isn’t going anywhere just yet, that’s for sure!