I’ve purchased all three iPads. Each time I felt that there was enough added to the new version to justify buying the next. But then again, I’m not the average iPad owner. Being completely objective, the new iPad may not be the greatest purchase for the iPad 2 owner. But that’s the last time I’m calling it the “new” iPad. That sets us up for all sorts of confusion in the future. So I’m going to get some practice in this post calling it the third generation iPad.
First, let’s take a look at some highlights of what been said about the new...the third generation iPad.
Almost everyone had something to say about the retina display. John Gruber (DaringFireball.net) called reading on the retina display “pure joy.”
“Going back to the iPad 2 after reading a few hours on the iPad 3 is jarring...what you thought looked pretty good before (like text rendered on older iPads) now looks blurry.”
Since Joshua Topolsky from the Verge thinks the third generation iPad isn’t a necessary upgrade for everyone, he makes this suggestion,
“And if you're an original iPad or iPad 2 owner... unless you want to upgrade, just avoid looking at this screen.”
MG Siegler from TechCrunch feels exactly as I do about the screen,
“Web pages look almost as if they’re being displayed in a high-quality glossy magazine. Photos look like photos — the printed out kind. Text is razor sharp and crisp, just like print.”
The Retina display is obviously the selling point for the third generation iPad. But significant upgrades over the iPad 2 include LTE, the A5X chip (with quad core graphics), improved cameras, and upgraded memory (1 GB RAM). The upgraded memory was confirmed after the Apple announcement. Apple didn’t seem to want to mention memory, even on the tech specs page for the iPad. Apparently, Post-PC means rarely ever mentioning the finer points of the hardware. Personally, I think double the RAM is quite important.
Most seemed to agree on what to do about upgrading customers and new buyers. Owners of the original iPad should probably upgrade. New customers should definitely buy a third generation iPad. And it’s a horribly tough decision for iPad 2 owners (that one used to be me).
Topolsky wrapped up with,
“For owners of the iPad 2, this isn't necessarily a slam dunk. While the updated features are a boon to the new iPad, it doesn't offer an experience that is significantly different from the previous version.”
But M.G. Siegler seemed a bit more inclined for iPad 2 users to upgrade,
“If you have an iPad 2, it’s a tougher call since it still seems nearly as fast as the new iPad. But if you choose not to upgrade (or to spend $399 for the 16 GB iPad 2 now), again, treat the new iPad as if it were Medusa when you’re in an Apple Store. Do. Not. Look. At. It.”
I would go even farther than Siegler. Don’t even look at comparisons of screenshots from the iPad 2 to the third generation iPad. That’s what hooked me in. I don’t regret making the purchase at all. The screen is absolutely beautiful. But for someone trying to resist, protect your eyes.
Praises and Problems
I’m going to wrap up with some praises and issues that have recently popped up in the news surrounding the third generation iPad.
Let’s start with some praise. Gary Heiting, an optometrist and editor of All About Vision, says that the Retina display on the iPad helps ease the eye strain from staring at a screen for long periods of time.
“A key factor in something that’s called computer vision syndrome, or just eye strain from computer use, is screen resolution...It’s not just an enjoyment issue or an aesthetic issue, but it’s definitely a visual comfort issue, over time”
I’ve definitely noticed an easier reading experience. I never had major eye strain problems. But the difference in strain was noticeable enough for me to feel confident in that statement.
Some other problems that have popped up are heat issues and charging issues. Some have made a bigger deal out of the heat issues than others. But the bottom line is that the new iPad can and does heat up to a warmer temperature than its predecessor. It isn’t going to catch on fire, it isn’t going to melt, but it is going to feel a bit warmer during gaming (bottom-left corner in my experience). I wouldn’t call the heat uncomfortable. Just noticeable.
As for the charging issues, with some thinking it becomes common sense. Since the charger for the third generation iPad is a 10W charger (the same as both previous iPads) but the third generation iPad requires more power for the Retina display and processor, it cannot charge while active in certain situations. While gaming or using power intensive apps, trying to charge the iPad may take longer or even continue to drain. Generally, I’ve found that I can get through a day of heavy use on a full charge of the iPad. So to get around this, I just make sure the iPad is fully charged overnight before heavy use.
My final words are to iPad 2 owners (since everyone else has an easy decision: buy it). If gaming is important, buy it. If taking pictures or video is important, buy it. HD fanatics, buy it. If the reading experience is a priority, buy it. Otherwise, stick with the iPad 2.