This morning the UPS driver delivered the latest iPad to my house and a few things are immediately obvious.
The third generation iPad continues to build on its role as a media syringe. The retina display is truly stunning. You notice how bright the screen is out of the box and the sharpness of the graphics. At first there did not seem to be too much difference between the screen and the one on my iPad 1 but as I get used to looking at the new retina display the differences are obvious. Building on the optical nature of the iPad, the camera is another major advance. Clear, crisp and accompanied by enhanced photo management software
If size and weight were the defining characteristics separating the iPad 1 from the iPad 2, along with the foldable screen cover, then the display quality will be the thing that tells everyone you have the latest and greatest iPad.
The ease of set-up is a testament to both good design and judicious control over the Apple ecosystem. I was up and running within 10 minutes as I was able to update my new device, sign up for a data service and port my date to the new device. The only slight hick-up was the occasional need to enter passwords for corporate email and some individual apps. The upgrade process is so effortless that it really sets the standard for other consumer and technology products.
The 4G LTE is fast and easy to set up. The data plans are a little steep and reflect the fact that apple devices dominate cellular data demands. The combination of wifi and 4G is something that road warriors will appreciate.
Finally, all of my iPad 1 accessories seem to work with the iPad3, with the exception of my iPad 1 case which does not have a camera hole. This is welcome as I have a few accessories that I really enjoy, like the docking station/keyboard and VGA adapter than can transfer over easily. I will have to spring for a new case, which is not such a big deal.
The third generation iPad is slightly heavier and thicker than its iPad 2 predecessor. It is still lighter and thinner than the iPad 1. Some will call this a step back, but given the fact that we are talking about grams of additional weight and millimeters of thickness, the point seems to be moot
Overall, the iPad 3, there I said it, is recommended for people who have been sitting on the sidelines regarding getting a device. While most of the changes are hardware related, the display, the camera, a so-so dictation feature, etc. the iPad3 is enough of an advance that it should meet your needs for the next few years.
For those who have an iPad 1, like me, the decision to wait for the device will pay off particularly if you felt left out with the media capabilities of the iPad 2. I decided to forego the iPad2 when it came out and wait for this device. It was a good decision as the new features mentioned above deliver a different experience.
For those that have an iPad2, the question revolves around the degree to which media plays a big role in using your current device. If you watch a lot of videos, music and the like then the upgrade may well be worth it as the difference is tangible.
If you primarily use your iPad2 for reading, note taking and email, then the differences may not be so great and you may be better off waiting another year for the four. I made that same assessment when the iPad 2 came out and I was happy with the decision, Chances you will be too, if you are not a media hound or someone who has to have the latest and greatest.
Overall, the third generation iPad does exactly what it needs to do, create a new level of hardware performance that enhances the customer experience, enhances the media experience and provides a platform for a new range of applications.