All of us were waiting for iPad 3 and instead we were told the next iPad would be The New iPad. The new iPad did not reveal any huge path breaking feature or innovation, which usually the Apple products are associated with. However, still the new iPad packs a lot punch and new features at the same price — making it tougher for the competitors to catch up. At the same time, Apple lowered the price of iPad 2, making the market tougher for similar wannabes like Kindle Fire and Sony Tablet.
Those of us who had been deferring our decision to buy an iPad so that we can buy the iPad 3 or those of us who were waiting to upgrade to iPad 3 — there is a question playing in everybody’s mind: Which is the best iPad to buy? The new iPad or iPad 2? Should I upgrade to the new iPad? Let’s try and get all your questions answered here:
The new iPad packs in 4 times more pixels in iPad 2. It’s “high-resolution Retina display” packs in 3.1 million pixels.0.8 million pixels for iPad 2. The new iPad 3 screen has a lot of pixels, and it’ll make everything look sharp and pretty, like the Retina displays on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, and current iPod touch. Just for comparison, the new iPad has a million more pixels than a HDTV.
Verdict: It is a foregone conclusion that with 4 times the pixels of iPad 2 — iPad 3 displays much more better than iPad 2. The higher resolution doesn’t affect what apps you can run, but it just looks way better. Just that you know 1024×768 pixels in iPad 2 makes it “eye popping” enough and provide great resolution overall. Hence, if you’re going to buy a new iPad, you should definitely go for the new iPad. However, for those planning for an upgrade, it might not be compelling enough.
iPad 2 has the A5 and the new iPad has the A5X. Both are dual-core processors, but the big difference is that the A5X has quad-core graphics, which is responsible for 4 times the pixels in the iPad. It also makes the new iPad much more responsive than its predecessor. Apple didn’t specify how much RAM the new iPad has.
Verdict? For most users, A5X will not make much of a difference unless you’re into hardcore gaming or designing top notch graphics and animation. The new hardware will feel speedier. But again, if you’re planning to buy a new iPad, you can consider the new iPad and if you’re looking for an upgrade, you really don’t need to because the iPad 2’s A5 is plenty fast and not a reason enough to justify an upgrade.
The back camera on iPad 3 gets a boost and lets you shoot 1080p videos at 30 fps with video stabilization, and also shooting 5 MP stills with autofocus, tap-to-focus, and face detection. In comparison, the back camera on the iPad 2 can record 720p video at 30fps, but for still photos it’s only around 0.7 MP.
Verdict: Depends on what all you do with your iPad. If you use your iPad camera for Facetime, or Skype — the iPad 2’s cameras are fine. I do not prefer to take photos or shoot videos with my iPad as the iPad is not really well suited for shooting videos and taking still pictures, so getting a better camera, videos at 1080p, face detection, autofocus etc do not matter much to me. Those of you, who can make use of the iPad to take great still photos and shoot videos — they should consider the new iPad. Those who are looking to upgrade their iPad need to go for an upgrade only if they can manage to shoot photos and videos with their iPad.
Size and Weight
The new iPad is slightly thicker, at 9.4 mm compared to the iPad 2’s 8.8 mm (Mind it – the figure may look large, but we’re talking about millimeters!). The new iPad is also a little heavier (0.11 to 0.14 pounds heavier in case of Wi-Fi and 4G/3G respectively) than the iPad 2.
Verdict: Tie. Difference is miniscule and hardly felt.
Battery life has been one of the most impressive features of the iPad series, including the first iPad. Apple claims the battery life is comparable across the new iPad and iPad 2. 10 hours of web surfing on Wi-Fi, playing video, or listening to music. Up to 9 hours of web surfing on the cellular network (3G or 4G).
The new iPad supports fast cellular networks the world over — up to 4G LTE (includes 3G and EDGE networks). This means that you can browse the web, stream content, or download a movie at blazing-fast speeds. It also works on GSM/UMTS worldwide network technologies including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA — the fastest 3G networks out there. You’ll see downlink speeds up to 42 Mbps with DC-HSDPA and up to 21.1 Mbps with HSPA+.3
Now for the first time, you can share the high-speed data connection on your iPad. If your carrier supports it, iPad can act as a personal hotspot for connecting up to five devices — such as a MacBook Air, an iPod touch, or another iPad — over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB.
Verdict: This feature is not applicable if you’re interested in the Wi-Fi version like me! (duh). Monthly data charges remain the same, so it makes sense to go for the new iPad if purchasing your first iPad. However, if you’re planning for an upgrade, it really does not justify the need to go for the new iPad unless you are always on a move and use cellular network more than the Wi-Fi network.
Here’s an illustrative chart
(illustrative chart courtesy Engadget)
A feature, which Apple didn’t bring to the new iPad is Siri, the virtual assistant that debuted in the iPhone 4S last year. However, the new iPad will include voice dictation via a microphone button on the software keyboard.
The new iPad reinforces the fact that iPad 2 remains a really great tablet. The new iPad doesn’t pack a powerful feature that justifies the need for an upgrade. If you plan on using Wi-Fi version and do not plan to shoot videos, you anyway won’t be using the new features in the new iPad.
The new iPad will remain a great tablet and will sell off the shelves in no time, but it really does not justify the need for an upgrade. iPad 2 remains a great solid tablet. If you’re planning to buy your first tablet, you might consider the new tablet, but then Apple has reduced the prices of iPad 2 making it more attractive. Going forward, only 16GB version of the iPad 2 will be available (both in Wi-Fi and 3G versions). Apple has stopped shipping the 32 GB and 64 GB models of the iPad2, but Amazon has those models available. Get them before they run out of stock!
The new iPad will launch on March 16. Prices are $499 for a 16 GB model, $599 for 32 GB and $699 for 64 GB. All 4G models will cost $130 extra. The 16 GB iPad 2 will cost $399 for Wi-Fi and $529 with 3G.