I was somewhat skeptical at first when the initial iPad was released. Not that Apple couldn’t use their marketing magic to sell a ton of devices, but that the tablet with a “limited” OS would be that useful. After getting my hands on the first iPad the day it was launched it took me about 15 minutes to convince myself to buy one and a couple of days to fit in my digital life and find the use for it.

The iPad is perfect for some things and not so good at others. Many tech journalists throw around this idea of the iPad being a consumption only device and that creating on it is difficult and/or useless. I sort of agree with this notion, but at the same time say that with a bluetooth keyboard I can be productive on the iPad. Apple made a point at their keynote that the iPad 2 is a consumption device as well as a creation device showing demos of Garage Band and iMovie, both being extremely impressive.

All that aside, with the iPad 2 release happening in a little over 24 hours at your local Apple Store, there are two questions that remain.

  1. Should I jump now and finally get myself a tablet like the iPad 2?
  2. Should I upgrade my months old iPad and get the iPad 2?

Let’s take a look at both situations seperately as they are quite different. Let me remind you I have owned the iPad since day one and have also not had the chance to see the new one in person, only video and photos.

Potential iPad owners

To the new tablet buyers out there I have to say that the options you are given for tablet based devices is pretty slim at the moment with the iPad 2 being the most affordable and approachable. To cut to the chase, I have to say that if you are a new tablet buyer and you have the money to get the new iPad 2 it seems like a no-brainer; get the iPad 2.

You have to remember though that Apple may or may not be upgrading the iPad again before the end of the year (this comes from John Gruber a known Apple pundit that tends to hit-the-head-on-the-nail when it comes to Apple rumors). The reason for this is for Apple to catch the holiday buyers and not put them in the position that they did this year by releasing a brand new iPad only two and a half months after Christmas. Yet, knowing this rumor, I still recommend buying the new iPad 2 as it is the best, most affordable tablet device on the market.

Old iPad owners looking to upgrade

Ahhh, the early adopters, innovators, and geeky types. My hat goes off to you for adopting a product that was somewhat questionable when first released. Now the question is, do you upgrade to the latest incarnation of the iPad or just plug along until the iPad 3 hits the market? This is a really tough call and it all comes down to three different talking points.

1. Do you really need those cameras?

One thing that iPad 2 brings to the table is the front facing and rear facing “HD” cameras that allow users to Facetime and record up to 720p HD video. Many consumers were upset that the cameras weren’t available in the iPad 1, and in the normal Apple fashion “they have found a way” to put the cameras in the gen 2 device.

Personally, I think that the cameras may only be useful for something like Facetime. I can’t see myself actually shooting pictures and video on the thing and if you are a real Apple fanboy/girl you have a iPhone 4 to do that heavy lifting anyways.

2. Shear power of A5

When the iPad was first released it seemed that the device was extremely powerful and quick to launch apps and process information. After about a year of use though, it does seem that the iPad has lost some of its “smoking fast” luster. The A5 is a dual core chip and said to bring up to double the processing speed and 9 times video performance. If that is somthing that you need then maybe the iPad 2 is your ticket. But, just remember that the iPad 1 is no slouch; it streams video beautifully, plays full 3D games like Infinity Blade flawlessly, and browses the web quickly.

To be honest, I can’t imagine a small spec jump in processor speed will make an extreme amount of difference.

3. No screen upgrade

This may be the most disappointing part of the iPad 2 announcement; it is the identical screen from the iPad 1. I’m not saying that the iPad’s screen is bad, but after owning the iPhone 4 with the Retina Display, you really do notice the difference in pixel density. This is the exact reason that I may wait for the iPad 3 as I can imagine that they will finally upgrade the display.

Probably the reason that the iPad 2 ships with the same screen is to keep the cost down to the $499 starting price which is a good strategic move made by Apple.

Conclusion

For the first time iPad buyers out there that are on the fence, I say jump over it and get the iPad 2. Like I said before it is a no-brainer.

For the iPad 1 owners looking to upgrade it is a bit more complicated. If you are really in need of cameras, faster processing, and don’t care that the screen is exactly the same then you may be standing in line tomorrow at 5pm with the rest of the Apple fans. But, if you are happy with your current iPad and don’t see the point this incremental upgrade, you should save the money and wait for the redesign of the iPad 3.

Love this article?