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The New iPad

I was anxious to test out the new iPad, but like the rest of the world, I had to wait until March 18 to get my hands on it.  By mid-afternoon there was a lull in the hubbub and I quickly raced over to take a look.  There it was.  No one close by.  I had the iPad all to myself.

It felt the same as the old iPad.  (I was still a bit confused by the new terminology.) I pulled up a YouTube video of a poodle that had been trained to make margaritas, then one of a banker who’d learned the same trick.  The image looked great.  To be honest, the poodle’s margarita looked a little weak.  I rubbed my chin and thought about plunking down my $514 (out the door) right then and there.  But no sooner had I opened up the New York Times newspaper on the screen than a salesperson asked if I wanted to see the new one.

“There’s a newer one?” I asked thinking Apple had outdone itself with rapid consecutive product announcements.

“Yes, the New iPad,” he said, nonplussed.  “It’s over here.”

Sure enough, the new iPad looked remarkably like the old iPad. I’d been fooled.

“It’s really a great product,” he continued. “The colors are much more vibrant.  In HD, videos are super crisp. And there is a whopping 5 Gigs of pixels in the back-facing camera.”

He also went on to mention the larger battery needed to power the screen and 4G LTE (if you went with a wireless model), souped-up iSight software with image stabilization and multiple face recognition.

“Why not just get the old iPad,” I asked.  “It’s $100 cheaper and I can’t tell any major differences.”

“Side by side you might though.”  With this he called up trailers for the Transformers movie, running them side by side.  One on the iPad2 and one on the new iPad. And yes, you could tell the difference.  The colors were a bit fuller, the blues have a deeper hue and the crisp edges of Optimus Prime and Hot Rod (aka Rodimus Prime) as their trailer rigs contorted into the friendly Autobot shapes.

Which is to say: if you already own an iPad 2, there’s not a big reason to cash it in for the new iPad.  Yes, the screen is tighter and is a bit faster overall.  But nothing that hits you over the head.  By the same token, if you are in the market for your first iPad, spring for the extra $100 to go with the new iPad.  If you are looking to connect it for wireless service, then 4G LTE is definitely the way to go.

Apart from price, the only other downside might be the battery.  But even here, the enhanced battery seems to have done the trick.  Rated at nine hours, it can comfortably run a couple of days of high use.  You need the larger battery to power the LTE (since it consumes more wattage) as well as the larger screen.  But most reviews online felt the increased capacity did the trick.

I planned to watch more Netflix on my mobile device, so the larger battery and enhanced screen were perfect for me.  I couldn’t really tell any differences in speed, even though a quad code graphics processor powered the new graphics capability.

It still left me wondering if there was an iPad 3 in the works.  Should I wait?  Should I plunk down my savings?  I replayed the Transformers and contemplated my decision.

[continued…]

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