New iPad: 10 Lessons Learned During the First Weekend

NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple's new iPad is now firmly in the grasp of columnist Don Reisinger. Here's what he learned about Apple's new tablet during the first weekend.

It was a quiet Friday afternoon for me on March 16 until the UPS delivery person arrived with a fresh package. It was small, not heavy, and I was asked to sign for it. Those who had similar experiences know that it was my new iPad. Apple€™s latest tablet and the device that could very well go down as one of the most popular consumer electronics to hit store shelves this year.

Nearly immediately, I popped the device out of the box and marveled at its beauty. I€™ve seen (and owned) many tablets over the last couple years, but the new iPad is the best-looking option I€™ve seen yet. The set-up was simple and easy, and after inputting some information for my 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) service through Verizon Wireless, I was ready to use the tablet as I saw fit.

What follows are my initial reactions to the new iPad after my first weekend with the device. Apple€™s new iPad is by no means groundbreaking and will not prompt a seismic shift in the tablet market. But the device is notable, nonetheless.

1. The Retina Display is pretty great

The most striking thing about the new iPad is its Retina Display. The device€™s screen is the very best I€™ve seen in the tablet space, and while not the huge shock that some said it would be, was enough for me to get excited about the possibilities. What sort of apps and games will take advantage of the screen? I look forward to finding out.

2. 4G LTE is a must-have

When I bought the first-generation iPad, I decided to get only the WiFi model, since I didn€™t see myself traveling with the tablet. It was a mistake. With the new iPad, I decided to get the 4G LTE option, and I can say it was the smartest move I made. Verizon€™s LTE network is incredibly fast and it€™s available nearly everywhere I go. Not bad for $20 a month.

3. I don€™t think iPad 2 owners should upgrade

I have several friends and family that currently own the iPad 2. And as one might expect, they wanted to find out if they should dump the old option to get the new one. I told them without thinking twice that jumping to the new iPad wouldn€™t make much sense. Sure, the Retina Display is great and the LTE is a welcome addition, but they€™re not worth another $629 and up. Current iPad 2 owners should stick with their favored tablet.

4. iOS 5.1 is great, but not groundbreaking any longer

Apple€™s iOS 5.1 comes bundled with the new iPad. And although it€™s a solid operating system with few quirks, strong security and responsiveness, it€™s no longer groundbreaking. In fact, for current iPhone or iPad owners, moving to the new iPad with iOS 5.1 cuts down on the awe felt the first time you boot up an iOS-based device.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...