Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably already know that not only did Apple announce a new iPad (interestingly enough, it is called “the New iPad”) but they actually released it within two weeks of the announcement. So, is this new iPad worth buying, or should you wait for something more interesting like a Windows 8 tablet?
Well, yes and no.
I know, that’s a rather vague answer. No, it’s a cop out answer. But, I have a good reason for giving such an answer.
Why you should get the new iPad
If you already have a decent investment in apps for the iPad OR you have an iPhone/iPod Touch, then, yes. If you have an original iPad, this is a no brainer. There is such a huge difference in performance and the screen is just gorgeous. If you bought the original, then you, likely, also have a good investment in accessories and apps, so going to a completely different platform (like Windows 8 or Android) does not make a lot of sense unless you just hate the iPad.
The new iPad, while a tad bigger than the previous model, still looks like the original, but with a really nice rear facing camera and a forward facing camera. And, except for covers, pretty much all of your accessories should work. The dongles, cables, keyboards, etc. should all still just work, so you don’t have to re-purchase anything but covers and cases (because of the minor size difference and the cameras.)
Now, if you own an iPad 2, the answer is a bit more murky. Aside from a slight performance boost, the only real thing you will notice is the screen. The ‘retina’ display on the new iPad truly is remarkable. If you are going to be staring at it for a long period of time, ditch the old device and buy the new one. But, that is pretty much the only real reason to switch from iPad 2.
Why you should NOT get the new iPad
If you don’t have an iPod Touch, iPhone or iPad, there are other choices that are not only cheaper, but have a pretty robust eco system like Apple. While I am not a fan of Android, there are a few nice Android tablets out there. The Acer Iconia, the Motorola Xoom, the Kindle Fire. Samsung Galaxy S and the Barnes and Noble Nook are examples. I own the Fire and have to say it is very nice. However, each of these will suffer from the same glitches with WiFi and the general lagginess of Android. Price, however, tends to make one over look some of these issues. Also, if you own an Android phone, and chances are that you do, then getting an Android based tablet is also fairly smart as those same apps that you run on your phone should also function on the tablets.
If Android is not something you want, there are still a few alternatives.
The RIM Blackberry tablet, with the 2.0 release, is a good deal at $200. It looks very much like the Kindle Fire and has a nice screen.
HP has a few (though pricey) Windows 7 based tables, but I would not buy them. You might also find a bargain on an HP webOS tablet. webOS is still being developed, but I’m not sure I would go with the operating system, as wonderful as it is. (I’m still bitter over that.)
Lastly, if you can wait until fall, there are going to be a bevy of Windows 8 tablets. Windows 8 Metro was designed with tablets in mind. The current ‘consumer preview’ release is not only rock solid, it is nice to look at and fairly easy to use.
So, what would I do?
Well, having just bought the Kindle Fire, I don’t plan on buying anything in the near future. However, I do want a Windows 8 tablet, so the next tablet I buy will be Windows 8. BUT…had I not bought the Fire (got it a few weeks before the Apple announcement…doh!) I would likely buy the new iPad and not get the Windows tablet until next year. I have a sizable Apple investment now (keyboards, cables, dongles, software…) so it would make sense. (Why did I buy the Kindle then? Well, that’s another story!)
And, if you can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with getting the new iPad AND one of the others. Having several tablets about is handy, kind of like having several laptops or desktops or having multiple televisions. You never know when you will need or want another.