…that is the question.
Apple’s second generation thinner, lighter, faster iPad goes on sale at the end of this week in the U.S. and is sure to be another smash hit. The odd thing is, many buyers will be among those 15 million of us who already have the original iPad. I’m not sure I want to join them.
The iPad is available in a number of configurations, depending on whether you want 3G Internet in addition to Wi-Fi, and how much onboard storage you need. Last April I went for the entry-level model: Wi-Fi only and 16Gb storage, with the specific intent to upgrade a year later. Well, here we are a year later and the iPad 2 is just around the corner. I want it, I can afford it, yet I’m considering not buying it. So what’s holding me back?
Well for starters, I really don’t need it. Let’s look at the new arrival’s highlighted features:
- Thinner & lighter — I’m sure it is but I’ve never, ever picked up my iPad and thought to myself, “Gosh, I wish this were a bit thinner and lighter.”
- Faster — I’ve never had a problem with my iPad’s speed
- Front and rear-facing cameras — I’ve got more cameras than I’ve got hands and eyes put together
- FaceTime (video conferencing) — I can already do this with Skype on my laptop, which I take everywhere with me. The ads imply that FaceTime will deliver crystal clear high definition images of your little granddaughter on the other side of the world, but we all know that reality seldom lives up to AdLand. If the FaceTime pictures in the ad were real then I’m sure they were served up by a cluster of FaceTime servers out of shot in the same room. In the real world I expect the camera image to be just as jaggy and stuttery as Skype.
- HD video mirroring — essentially this means you can connect iPad to an HD TV or projector and mirror the display. OK, this is a useful new feature but again, I’d have to invent reasons to use it.
- Smart Covers — now THIS is cool. It’s amazing that the one thing that might tip me over the edge to a purchase is not the iPad itself, but the cover. If they had Smart Covers for the original iPad I wouldn’t be dithering at all.
How cool is that? A cover that attaches magnetically, keeps the screen clean, automatically wakes and puts iPad to sleep, and rolls up into a number of stand options. This is absolutely the thing I like best about the new model. Apple’s official iPad 1 case was a mess, with it’s ugly sharp edges each one looked like a factory reject. But they’ve got it so right this time it makes me wonder what the third-party accessory market will do to keep up.
I am very conflicted on this question. My need to be the first kid on the block with the latest gadget is pulling me towards the Apple Online Store, but Grumpy Old Man doesn’t want to dance to Apple’s tune (again) by wasting my money on something I just don’t need. Another benefit is that, if I stay as I am, I don’t have to decide to which family member I bequeath the old one.
I think I’ll wait for iPad 3. I just have to drag myself away from the Smart Covers video in the meantime.