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. Apples 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. Ive seen (and owned) many tablets over the last couple years, but the new iPad is the best-looking option Ive 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. Apples 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 devices screen is the very best Ive 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 didnt 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. Verizons LTE network is incredibly fast and its available nearly everywhere I go. Not bad for $20 a month.
3. I dont 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 wouldnt make much sense. Sure, the Retina Display is great and the LTE is a welcome addition, but theyre 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
Apples iOS 5.1 comes bundled with the new iPad. And although its a solid operating system with few quirks, strong security and responsiveness, its 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.
Theres No Reason for a Major Design Refresh
5. A major design refresh wasnt necessary
Apple was criticized for not delivering a major design refresh with the new iPad. But after I broke it out of the box and started using it, I realized why it hadnt. Apples new iPad is still the best-looking device on the market, even though it looks just like the iPad 2. Until another company can come close to matching the new iPad with its own tablet design, theres no reason for Apple to push the envelope.
6. Few apps are optimized for Retina
Within the first few hours using the new iPad, I tried downloading nearly every Retina Display-ready app out there. Unfortunately, they are currently few and far between, and it appears the developers havent taken full advantage of the technology just yet. Lets hope that changes soon.
7. The Smart Cover concept is great
Although Apples Smart Cover has come under fire for being somewhat expensive for what you get, its definitely a great concept. The cover only protects the devices screen and keeps its minimalist and ultimately mobile design intact. Add that to its use as a locking and unlocking option, as well as a stand, and I think the Smart Cover concept is second to none.
8. Its a price Id pay again
Although Ive been critical of Apple’s pricing in the past, and I fully realize that paying between $500 and over $800 for a tablet is outrageous, its a price Id pay again. At the end of the day, buying tech products is about finding value. And in the three days Ive owned the new iPad, its already exceeded my expectations. Say what you will about the new iPads lofty price tag, but I think it might just be worth it.
9. 32GB is not enough
I bought the 32GB new iPad version. And although I have enough room on the device to house all my music, apps and videos, its really not enough. I should have bought the 64GB option to give me enough space to do what I want with the tablet. Instead, Ill be forced to delete some content as time goes on.
10. Apples engraving needs work
For the first time ever, I decided to buy an Apple product with some engraving. Unfortunately, Apples engraving leaves much to be desired, leaving only my desired text inscribed toward the top of the device. For a company that prides itself on design, wouldnt it have been nice if the company showed some care for what its engraving on the back, as well.