I’ve had the new iPad for a few weeks now, and unlike the first generation model I bought the day it came out, I’m actually using this one.
I could write a review of this new tablet, but honestly, it wouldn’t be anything you haven’t read somewhere else. Instead, I’ll tell you why I find myself using the new iPad, and why the old one became a glorified paperweight.In a nutshell, it’s the screen. It looks amazing, and it feels amazing to use. Just like I got used to the Retina Display on my iPhone instantly, every device without it feels blurry and archaic. Reading is easier on my eyes. Text is brighter. It pops. And, with the much faster processor in this newest model, it has a smoother feeling that tricks my eye into thinking it’s looking at actual ink on paper.
All the other features aren’t really game-breaking, at least when comparing the new iPad to the iPad 2. Granted this thing is lighter and more ergonomically designed than the original, but it’s actually marginally heavier and thicker that the now discounted iPad 2. The battery remains great, much better than the original, which sat around depleted most of the time.
I’ve used a few of the other features, but just a little. While I don’t see myself lugging around the iPad as a camera or as a video camera, FaceTime video chatting is more fun when it’s on a screen so much bigger than an iPhone. And the 4G is blazing fast, but most of my iPad usage is actually bedside, where I’m only on wi-fi. Just to have the options are a nice upgrade from the original.
Still, it’s that screen that makes all the difference.
Take, for example, Paper, a new app by FiftyThree – it’s the first one I’ve seen to take full advantage of the new Retina Display. A drawing, sketching and outlining tool, it’s elegant in its simplicity. Using your finger (though better with a cheap stylus, trust me), you can bring your ideas to life. Simply. Beautifully. The first tool is free, but for the entire suite of fountain pen, pencil, marker, ink pen and watercolor brush, you’re looking at $7.99, and it’s well-worth it. The app isn’t without its shortcomings, one of which is a very limited color palate, but that will be addressed in future updates.
Paper also exploits the iPad’s tiny screen lag time, which remains a flaw. That 100 milliseconds from when you touch the screen until it reacts is still noticeable, so drawing doesn’t feel as fluid as real pen to paper (a keyboard, for example, as a 8-10 millisecond lag time). But it’s close. And it’s really fun.
Do you need the new iPad? No, especially if you have the iPad 2. If you have the first iPad, you’ll probably notice the difference. And if you don’t have a tablet at all, you’ll probably love the thing.
The new iPad still doesn’t replace my desktop, my laptop or my phone, but in certain situations – like in bed, on planes at or at meetings – it’s great. And watching movies is a thrill.
I guess it depends: is $500 or $600 a deal breaker for you, for a piece of transformational, cutting-edge post-PC technology? If it is, stick with what you’ve got. If it isn’t, pick up a new iPad. It’ll be hard for even the biggest skeptics to put it down.