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iPad 2 vs iPad 1 – To Pad or Not To Pad, That is the Question March 6, 2011

Posted by ronannarbor in Apple, Gizmos.
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Ron’s expert advise on the iPad 2 vs iPad 1 dilemma….

Apple this week announced that, beginning March 11, their newest version of the iPad, named iPad 2 will be available at the same prices as the current iPads, in the same memory and wi-fi/3G configurations. What’s new? A faster processor; front and back facing cameras, and a thinner design.

What does it mean for most of us? Nothing. This is an incremental update with a redesigned chassis but otherwise the same screen size, same OS (the new iPad 2 OS will also be available for free download for current original iPad owners), and for all intents and purposes the same power.

Faster Processor: Seriously, have you heard any iPad owner complaining that their iPad was TOO SLOW?  Unless you plan on using the new iMovie or some other high-graphics video game, then the increased speed will be meaningless to 99 percent of iPad users. Faster is always better — except for this case, where it’s the same.

Front Facing Camera: this is designed for video and FaceTime. It’s real-life resolution is .93 megapixels…..seriously, good only for FaceTime and other quick shots. If you plan on using FaceTime, then it might be a selling point for you. I have never, even once, used FaceTime on my iPhone 4. I would never use it on an iPad.

Back Facing Camera: this is 5 megapixels. The same as the iPhone 4. Are you going to use an iPad to take photos? Really, point and shoot with a magazine sized slab? I suppose I can think of a few applications: take a quick photo of the materials on the table in front of you when working on a project; take a photo of the Board in a classroom….all of which you can do with your cellphone as well. Camera on iPad does not mean Quality Camera on iPad.

A New Cover: yep – clips on magnetically, and is a thin cover for the front of the iPad 2. Does not protect from falls, only from screen scratches. Chances are great you will be investing in a new cover/sleeve for your iPad2. Some older folios might fit, none of the form-fitting clip-on covers will fit. Most sleeves probably will fit. Add a good cover to your investment, and you’ll find that new iPad 2 looking a bit more expensive again.

New Design: yeah, you got me there — it looks amazing. That’s always been Apple’s highpoint — make it look better, sleeker, thinner, more modern. If there was a single reason I might move to the new iPad 2 it would be the opportunity to hold the coolest, sleekest, most conversation-starting new technology in my hands every day.

So, what do I recommend?

If you are a new buyer: Get the iPad 2 — it’s the same price as the current iPad, and you’ll have the latest and greatest. If you want to save some money, get the older iPad right now this week: it is discounted substantially in Apple retail stores so that they can sell out their stock — this is your chance to get that fancier 3G model at the same prices as the old wi-fi version. But you have to buy now — the prices return to full price on the 11th and only the new iPad 2 will be available.

If you have an iPad — do not upgrade. Wait. There will be another refresh 6 – 12 months from now. In tech, especially in the world of Apple, there will be changes and upgrades galore in that time. Now is not the time to update your investment. If you must have the latest and greatest, then be aware that you will find that re-selling iPad prices will not return your investment as much as an iPhone (for example) on eBay — prices have already dropped — expect to lose about 150.00 – 200.00 on your original investment. It will still sell, but not for what you might expect.

Insider tip: There has been rumor for some years now that Apple is trying to change their update-cycles to occur in late Fall and coincide with holiday purchasing season. This hasn’t happened yet, but it might soon. Keep that in mind — your new iPad2 might already have a refresh in November.

What do I plan to do? I have been an Apple user for 11 years now, and live and breath by their latest-and-greatest.  I have always been very happy to be an early adapter and get their new stuff the day it is available. That being said, I am NOT upgrading. I love my current iPad for what it is. I find I can not use it as a full laptop replacement, but I love it for reading, the internet, travel, maps, eMail, and some productivity. It’s great at work for fast note-taking, calendars, and the like. I also love the cover I found for it that makes it feel great in my hands. This cover will not work with the new iPad 2. And I have never, ever, not even once, thought “wow, this is just too slow, I wish it was faster.”  I WILL upgrade with the next update which will probably bring new features that will be desirable. For now, there is not enough there other than the design factor. Because I always carry my iPad in a folio case, there will be no difference in the “coolness factor” to the outsider, since they can’t see my ipad anyway – it’s tucked inside it’s folio and you only see the screen.

I do continue to advocate that the iPad is a fine PDA for my Brain Injured patients — which model you choose it up to you. How much money you spend is also up to you. For most of my patients, the standard entry-level Original iPad is the way to go, and probably more power than most need. And now is the time to get it for a discounted price.