Should you upgrade from the original iPad to iPad 2?
We posted our iPad Buyers Guide earlier today but have since gotten quite a few emails asking whether or not original iPad owners should upgrade to iPad 2? There are only a few big differences between the original iPad and iPad 2 so the question comes down to whether or not any one (or more) of them are compelling enough to warrant an upgrade.
We'll take a look at them and help you decide after the break!
If you compare the original iPad to iPad 2 you'll see the screen is the same size and resolution -- 9.7-inch 1024x768 -- and the storage options are the same -- 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. Battery life will be the same -- roughly 10 hours -- and both will have iOS 4.3 so the software will be similar. What's different?
Cameras and FaceTime
The original iPad has no cameras while iPad 2 has two cameras -- a front facing VGA at 30fps, 640x480 and a rear facing 720p at 30fps, 1280x720. It means iPad 2 can do FaceTime and use other video calling software like Skype. These might be great for families and individuals to see their long distance friends, relatives, or special someones. It also means you'll be able to take video and low quality stills in a pinch and use augmented reality apps. You'll even be able to use Apple's new built in Photo Booth app and similar video and picture apps from third parties. Those cold be fun for little ones or grown ups alike. If any or all of that is important to you, you might want to upgrade.
With iOS 4.3 you'll be able to use the existing VGA adapter and the new HDMI adapter to output video from your iPad. However only iPad 2 will be able to use the new display mirroring. With display mirroring anything that's on your iPad 2 will be shown identically on your TV -- the home screen, your apps, your games. That's great for teachers, for business users, for bloggers and reviewers who want to use HDMI capture to record the iPad screen, and for anyone who just wants to get everything out. (Or almost anything, Hollywood companies like Hulu will no doubt block any output they can.) If display out is a killer feature for you, you might want to upgrade.
Black and white
With all the delays surrounding the white iPhone 4 it's surprising to see Apple offering the iPad 2 in white starting on day one. But they are. They really truly are. (The lack of LED flash and proximity sensor might have made it easier.) The original iPad was only available in black so if you've always wanted a white iOS device, or you want to make sure everyone knows you have an iPad 2, you might want to upgrade. (I know it's superficial but it's still a reason!)
AT&T was the only carrier choice in the US for the original iPad (unless you used Mi-Fi or a mobile hotspot phone for the connection). With iPad 2, there will be 6 models (one of each storage size in each color) that support Verizon's CDMA/EVDO network. If AT&T doesn't have great reception in your area but you really want to be able to use your iPad when you're away from Wi-Fi connections, you might want to upgrade.
2x faster, 9x better graphics, gyroscope
The iPad 2 sports an Apple A5 processor which they swear will do 2x faster processing and 9x better graphics. It also adds a gyroscope to the mix. Developers will no doubt take advantage of that to provide smoother, more beautiful, better controlled games for iPad 2. Imagine Infinity Blade or Real Racing HD with more action, crazier texture mapping, and even more immersive play. Next generation gaming requires next generation hardware so if that tempts you, you might want to upgrade.
We don't know for sure but we're hoping iPad 2 has at least twice as much RAM as the original iPad, which was stuck with 256MB. More RAM means you can keep more information in memory so Safari isn't always reloading pages, multitasking isn't dropping apps left and right, and in general everything just works better. If you've been frustrated by the lack of RAM in the original iPad and iPad 2 does indeed have more, you might want to upgrade.
Thinner and lighter
iPad 2 is slightly shorter and skinnier but significantly thinner and lighter than the original iPad. If you carry your iPad around a lot or hold it up to read or play games or have just always found the original iPad too heavy and the iPad 2 seems just right, you might want to upgrade.
iPad 2 has magnets around the bezel that accessories like Apple's own Smart Covers -- and no doubt lots of 3rd party ones once they ramp up -- use to make really light, really cool screen protectors that can even turn your iPad 2 on and off when you open or close them. Who knows what else will take advantage of these magnets? (I'm hoping for stands.) If you want on the next big wave of magnet
Those are our reasons for considering upgrading from the original iPad to iPad 2. If none of those are a big deal to you, stick with the original iPad. If any of them are game changers (like HDMI out will be for many of us here at TiPb) then upgrade away and sell your old iPad or gift it to someone special.
Did we miss any reason for why you would choose to upgrade (or not upgrade?) If so, tell us in the comments!
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