Apple has just announced the New iPad, going on sale March 16th, leaving many who just purchased the iPad 2 over the holiday season feeling a bit duped. But if you’re an iPad 2 owner, don’t feel bamboozled quite yet. We’ll go over everything the New iPad brings to the table – as well as everything it doesn’t – so you can make an informed decision on whether or not to upgrade.
On The Surface
Not surprisingly, the New iPad looks nearly identical to the iPad 2, and even the original iPad. Compared to the iPad 2, it features the same screen size, 9.7 inches, and the same width and height as well, 7.31 and 9.5 inches respectively. They even come in the same color choices – white or black.
Where they do differ, though, is the thickness. The New iPad is actually slightly thicker than its predecessor, by a full .8mm. It’s enough to notice when comparing the two side-by-side, but the new model also features more tapering along the edge, giving the illusion of a thinner body. That .8mm may not seem like much, but it may render many iPad cases and skins incompatible. If you’re thinking about upgrading, remember that you may need to invest in a new protective case.
The greatest incentive to upgrading to the New iPad is the new display. With a pixel density of just 264ppi, it doesn’t quite make the 300ppi cutoff Apple previously set for “Retina” displays, though it still calls it one. Still, it has a resolution of 2048×1536, which is currently unmatched by any other tablet. Compared to the iPad 2’s 1024×768 (a mere 132ppi), this is a major improvement. The New iPad will be able to play 1080p content at its native resolution. Text and images will appear much crisper, and fine details will be perceptible where they weren’t on the iPad 2.
The New iPad also comes with the A5X processor, a more powerful variant of the A5, found in the iPad 2. This may seem like a compelling reason to upgrade to the New iPad, but it’s actually not.
First, the A5X’ CPU is a dual-core CPU nearly identical to the A5’s. General processing power had not been significantly increased compared to the iPad 2. Where the A5X has seen major improvements is in its GPU.
The A5 uses an SGX543MP2 GPU, while the A5X has an SGX543MP4 GPU (the same GPU found in the PlayStation Vita). In short, the New iPad’s GPU 2 to 4 times more powerful. Ultimately, this results in nearly the same real world performance since the New iPad has 4-times as many pixels as the iPad 2 which requires about 4-times the GPU processing power to run.
If a performance upgrade is what you’re after, you’re better off waiting until next generation.
Apple finally has a 4G product for us, and with LTE, you can expect data speeds over 25Mbps. This works well in tandem with the HD display since HD content requires a fast connection. If you don’t stream much in HD, you won’t notice much of a difference between 4G and 3G, though. Most people prefer the Wi-Fi only version since it’s significantly cheaper anyway.
The Lack of Siri
Many people were looking forward to getting Siri on their tablet, but it looks like Apple has opted to keep Siri restricted to the iPhone 4S, at least for now. The New iPad is just as Siri-less as the iPad 2.
In order to stay competitive with other tablets, the New iPad actually has a pretty attractive price tag, starting at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version. What this does, though, is push the iPad 2’s price down to $399 – now that’s a bargain. Anyone in the market for a new tablet, should definitely consider the iPad 2.
What it really all comes down to is whether or not you can live with a 1024×768 resolution display. If you can, stick with your iPad 2.
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