It’s Here, the New iPad is Here!
On March 7th like countless others I was glued to my computer screen to listen as Apple announced the new iPad. I was an early adopter of the iPad when it was initially released. The tablet form factor was intriguing and I wondered whether Apple could pull it off?
Not only did they “pull it off” but they redefined a market segment and brought truly portable computing to the masses with a simple interface and a powerful ecosystem of applications that allowed the user to personalize the device to do exactly what they wanted.
Fast forward ahead a year and Apple held a similar event where they introduced the second-generation iPad, the iPad 2 which took everything they learned from the original and extended the capabilities to include cameras for video chatting, faster processing, and a sleeker tapered case.
With the introduction of the iPad 2 I underestimated the pent up demand for a device such as this. I erroneously assumed I would be able to walk into a store the day they were released and buy one. Boy was I ever wrong. After standing in line at multiple stores I left dejected and iPad 2-less. It would take nearly two months before stock was sufficient that I would be able to buy the new device.
My existing iPad would be relegated to my wife as part of the technology refresh trickle down effect. I get the new toys and she gets the older model. Yeah that might sound like a rip-off but considering that I am the one who has to do all the technical support for the family that’s the price you pay.
When Apple announced the third generation iPad which came without a numerical designation and is referred to simply as “the new iPad” I wondered whether I would have the same issue getting one as I did with the iPad 2.
As soon as the introduction concluded I rushed to the Apple online store to attempt to pre-order the device. Given the difficulty I had I was obviously not alone. It took me two iPhones, an iPad, and three innings of Spring Training baseball before I was finally able to pre-order. I was surprised to find out that even with all the difficulty in ordering that the delivery date remained March 16th. Clearly Apple has been manufacturing these devices for a while to have that much stock built up for delivery.
I would check the Federal Express site daily for updates on where my new iPad was. Finally on the morning of March 16th it showed it was out for delivery. When the Federal Express truck pulled up to our house I ran out and met him at his door signing for the package before running back inside.
The box was rather discreet with no markings on the outside to tease you of the magical contents. I opened it up and immediately began charging the device so that I could start using it. The battery life was a promised 10 hours of use but the recharge took less than 90 minutes for the initial charge.
As a customer of the original iPad with 3G support on AT&T’s network I had an unlimited data plan. By the time the iPad 2 arrived AT&T had done away with unlimited data and went to a tiered pricing model. I was grandfathered in to the unlimited all I had to do was change the SIM card from the old device to the new.
With the new iPad I assumed that would be a similar process so to circumvent the set-up I exchanged SIM cards between the iPad 2 and the new iPad. The device booted with the old SIM and I began the set-up process. When I got to the part of setting the cellular network I was given a warning that the card I had in the device was a 3G card and that I needed a new 4G to take advantage of the cellular network.
Great, it would appear that I would have to move to a tiered pricing model on the new device or so I thought. After putting the 4G SIM back in the new iPad I again tried to set the device up. It recognized that I had an account with AT&T and asked if I wanted to transfer my data plan to my new device. Clearly Apple and AT&T had anticipated my scenario. A couple of clicks later and the new iPad was using the 4G network for AT&T and I had unlimited data usage. The iPad 2 could then be added to my plan but did require me to select one of the limited data choices.
The new iPad is noticeably thicker than the iPad 2 and it does weigh slightly more. I didn’t think I would be able to tell but it was pretty obvious. The retina display really pops when looking at photos that I had downloaded they were much crisper and cleaner than they looked on the iPad 2.
While the iPad 2 was very responsive and quick to recognize the user’s gestures the new iPad is just slightly faster. For most apps that rely on user interaction the speed increase will likely be negligible but if you are doing any sort of processing such as using iPhoto, Garage Band, or iMovie it seems much faster.
The image quality of the new iPad’s camera is very good. It has built-in image stabilization, which seems to work well, as the photos are crisp and in focus without any signs of movement by the user.
Reading on the new iPad is much nicer looking better than most printed books. I’m very impressed with how easy the text is on the eyes and I have begun moving all of my magazine subscriptions to their digital equivalent.
Overall my first impression is that for a lot of current iPad 2 users the speed differential for things that reside on the iPad is not as noticeable. For those who use processor intensive applications or who pull things from the Internet or are more interactive the new iPad is a hands down winner.
The speed of downloads whether it is on an existing 3G network or the new LTE 4G is substantially better. It is definitely worth the price and slightly extra weight to get the speed upgrade. Battery life seems to be on par with my existing iPad 2, which is impressive given the faster networking and processor.
It looks like Apple has a winner with the new iPad. The new features at the existing price point will ensure that Apple stays the market leader in the tablet space. Developers are already updating their applications based on the number of upgrades I am seeing on the App Store. This means that as each app is updated it will look better and take advantage of the new device making the user experience that much better.