The new iPad is inarguably the best tablet for most people, most of the time. But that doesn't mean it's the best tablet for everyone, or the best tablet for doing everything. One of the huge advantages of being part of a massive mobile network is that iMore can draw not only on our own staff of writers and editors, but on the very deep bench that makes up Mobile Nations, its sites and shows.
So here's what the BlackBerry addict thinks of the new iPad, and the app designer and developer, and the webOS stalwart, the financial whiz, the cell phone junkie, and more.
Seth Clifford, co-host of Iterate, CIO of Nicklefish
The new iPad is - for me - a huge leap forward from my previous experience. As I've said many times, I passed over the iPad 2 after its release because I just didn't see a compelling enough reason to upgrade. I continued using my first-gen iPad well into its second year, and for the most part, my experience was fine. Certainly, I noticed that web pages rendered slowly, that it did feel heavier as time wore on, and that web-based applications (like the App Store itself) were kind of pokey. Eventually, a few months ago, the need arose to have another test device in the office, and I donated it to the pool, content to wait on the new iPad's expected release in the spring.
Well, those few months were both enlightening and trying. I spent a lot of time with my Kindle Fire, and with my TouchPad, using both WebOS and Android 4.0 ICS, courtesy of CyanogenMod. Ultimately, I enjoyed playing with other devices, but I think it's only because I knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. For me, no tablet device fits the space left by the iPad in my life, largely because of my investment both in the App Store ecosystem, and my well-worn workflows, developed over the past few years. It was only a matter of time before I brought the iPad back into the mix, and I think I'm able to appreciate it even more because I really did spend time with a lot of other devices in its absence.
And the newest iteration is just spectacular. Going from a first-gen iPad to the new one is like standing in the cockpit when the Millennium Falcon makes the jump to hyperspace ("loading web pages quickly ain't like dusting crops, boy!"). The processor and GPU bump alone makes a massive difference in my use of the device and how I feel it performs, not to mention the amazing retina display. I loved the change to retina on the iPhone and was prepared to be impressed, but I was taken aback at how profoundly this display changes the overall experience you have with the device. Throw in super fast LTE data (which I eventually caved to, exchanging my original wi-fi only model for a Verizon model a day after receiving it) and (still!) unbelievable battery life and this is a device package that simply can't be beat. The entry price, the compelling features, the upgraded hardware, it's staggering how good this thing really is. I'm really looking forward to the year ahead with it, confident that it's going to easily become a must-have support in my computing life (again).
Marc Edwards, co-host of Iterate, Director of Bjango.com
The iPad is a giant multitouch display, networking and a bunch of sensors, like GPS and gyro. The current task takes over the entire experience, filling the display. With that in mind, the display is the most critical part of the iPad, by far. To users, it is the iPad. The new iPad's display has improved so drastically that there's no need for Apple to ever increase the resolution. It looks far more like a backlit poster print than a computer monitor.
The most important part of the iPad is now so good that Apple may never be able to significantly improve it again. I'd call that a decent update.
Ally Kazmucha, Editor of iMore
I've been using my new iPad day in and day out since I un-boxed it. I also used my iPad 2 on a daily basis. Even though my usage hasn't changed, my experience has and "how" I use my iPad. I've been more drawn to reading on my new iPad than I ever was on my iPad 2 because of the retina display. I've always been a fan of reading actual books. The iPhone is too small of a screen to read a book on comfortably and I just never took to eBooks. The new iPad may be changing that for me. I find myself picking it up to read everything from news feeds to actual books.
I haven't really noticed any speed difference between my old iPad 2 and new iPad but I didn't really expect one. I assumed the new processor and bigger battery would mainly be dedicated to the retina display and graphics processing. My iPad 2 was fast enough for me. For anyone upgrading from a first generation iPad, you will definitely notice a boost in speed and overall performance.
I haven't found myself using the camera in the iPad since my iPhone 4S has a better one. And I still think using an iPad for a camera makes you look idiotic in public so I refuse to do it. But it is nice for FaceTime when at home if the need arises. I also haven't experienced any of the overheating issues many have been reporting. Then again, my most graphics intensive game is probably Bejeweled Blitz so that may be why.
I'd have to say I'm happy with my purchase and couldn't go back to my iPad 2 after using the retina display. I didn't expect a complete overhaul or design change. I feel like I got exactly what I expected and that made it a worthy upgrade for me personally.
Derek Kessler, Editor-in-Chief, webOS Nation
The iPad 3, err HD, err... the new iPad is quite the impressive tablet. It doesn't do much to change the iPad form - for all intents and purposes you won't be able to tell the difference picking one up unless you have another iPad sitting nearby to compare. That is, until you turn it on. That screen, oh that screen. It's absolutely astounding how many pixels Apple managed to cram into that panel, and the result is simply the most gorgeous screen on practically any device.
I have to commend Apple for a number of design decisions. First is just straight pixel-doubling the display instead of going for something bigger or smaller or widescreen or whatever. Second is actually sacrificing thinness for usability. The new iPad is barely thicker than the older iPad 2, but that flies in the face of conventional wisdom amongst Apple's competitors that each new device must be thinner than the one that came before it. With the ridiculous screen, faster processor and graphics chips, and a power hungry radio, Apple made the conscious decision to make the new iPad just a smidge thicker to maintain the comparable battery life as the older iPads.
Is it competition for my beloved HP TouchPad? Are you kidding? As far as the hardware is concerned the new iPad bludgeons the year-old TouchPad into a zillion pieces. But it still runs iOS, with all of its advantages and handicaps. Multitasking on iOS is still the 2012-equivalent of Palm OS (quick save and restore, an app switcher, and limited background activity were all hallmarks of the Palm OS multitasking system), and to any dedicated webOS user it's utterly frustrating. But oh, that screen...
Leanna Lofte, App and Photography Editor, iMore
I have been asked a countless number of times if the upgrade to the new iPad is worth it; if the new iPad is worth the extra $100 over the iPad 2. And my answer is -- absolutely. The screen alone on this thing makes it worth every penny, but the quad-core graphics, LTE availability, and improved camera make the new iPad absolutely worth upgrading to. I don't care that the design remained unchanged, this was no incremental upgrade.
Gary Mazo, Senior Editor, Mobile Nations
I hate my new iPad. Well, I don’t really hate it…I love it...and that’s what I hate about it! Let me try to explain. Every year I shell out lots of money for the latest and greatest from Cupertino. Every year I tell myself that this will be the last time – I prepare myself to be disappointed in the product and resolve to “cut back” on my Apple purchases.
Enter the new iPad into my arsenal of Apple devices. I can’t put this thing down. The screen resolution is truly unlike any device I have seen – or will see (until the next version of the iPad next year!)
I love reading on this device; the New York Times, iBooks, websites – whatever I read just looks so much better than anything I have seen before. Movies, games and optimized apps also just look stunning on this device.
I would go as far as to say that the new iPad is as transformative to users today as the original iPad was when it first came out. Why this device matters is that it not only makes everything you do seemingly “come alive” and jump right out at you – it restores your sense of wonder.
I can’t help but look at the new iPad and thin ”what’s next?” I’m excited about the promise of what can be in the new iPhone, in a new Apple TV product or in a new Apple computer. I’m also excited because I think the new iPad will force other manufacturers to step up their game and deliver some truly stunning tech products in the near future.
So, I’m hooked again. I’m already saving up for next year’s version. I was the first to think this would just be a modest upgrade and I am not too proud to admit I was wrong. I hate that Apple has wowed me again, but don’t even try to pry my new iPad from my hands.
Kevin Michaluk, Editor-in-Chief, CrackBerry.com
I owned the iPad 1 and 2 and I bought the new iPad literally the second it went on sale. it's a slightly better iPad. Cool, but not exciting.
Mickey Papillon, co-host of Android Central Podcast, thecellphonejunkie.com
The new iPad has reinvigorated my interest in tablets once again. While I didn't actually miss having a tablet for the week between when I sold my iPad 2 and when the new iPad arrived, the new model still makes me say "wow". Think what you will about your original iPad or iPad 2 screen, I am 100% sold on retina. The new display just makes using the iPad so integrated into your workflow or downtime that you won't even think you're looking at a screen. Add into it that app developers are quickly updating their apps to take advantage of the new display, and things get even better.
And then there's 4G. Oh sweet LTE. I can't emphasize how great of an impact this new technology is going to have on our lives. Low latency, faster than home broadband speeds, and all over the air. Yes, this truly is a generational change. And because of the enhanced battery in the new iPad, LTE works like a champ, and there are no battery worries whatsoever. In fact, I find myself going 3 days between charges, exactly what I was doing with the iPad 2.
Bottom line - if you use, want to use, or are thinking about using a tablet or iPad of any generation, the only choice in my book is the new iPad.
Chris Parsons (Bla1ze), Editor-at-Large, CrackBerry.com
Ahh yes, new iPad. I stood in line, patiently waiting for it. Then I got it home, made some sweet technological love to it and then I realized, that while the display is amazing, the extra graphics power is great. I really didn't need it in my life being an iPad 2 owner. Not trying to take anything away from it, it's a glorious update. However, if you have an iPad 2 already I can't wholeheartedly suggest a new iPad purchase unless you REALLY want it. That display though, oh my... so hard to pass up.
Rene Ritchie, Editor-in-Chief, iMore
Allow me to excerpt myself. (From our complete new iPad (2012) review.)
Now go read the rest...
Simon Sage, Editor-at-Large, Mobile Nations
Though the new iPad definitely raises the bar with its Retina display, I don't think there was anything particularly surprising about it. If it was announced without LTE, or a Retina-quality screen, or more horsepower under the hood, folks would have been disappointed, but Apple really covered all of the important bases.
Now that the core experience is locked down, there are a few options I'd like to see included that are available elsewhere in the tablet world. For one, a full-sized USB slot would be really helpful for transferring files without needing bulky adapters. An SD card slot could dramatically increase storage capabilities. NFC would be a nice bit of future-proofing. DLNA support could connect the iPad to a wider range of devices. Of course, physical space is at a premium on a device like the new iPad; if it's not battery or display, it better be really, really important, and these features are ultimately nice-to-haves, rather than essentials. At the end of the day, the new iPad is going to be the tablet to beat for at least the rest of the year.
Georgia, Senior Editor, iMore
The Retina display on the new iPad is absolutely stunning. But most of the time it doesn't make a huge difference to me. I'm the type of person who'll watch lower quality video just so it doesn't take as much time to stream, and I would have much preferred an new iPad with the same screen an double again the performance. I'd also have liked a better speaker and full Siri support.
If I wasn't a blogger who always needs to have the latest and greatest tech, I would have stayed with my iPad 2 and happily waited for the next generation.
Chris Umiastowksi, co-host of Stock Talk
I think Apple has done something really interesting in the marketplace. They've matured the tablet product segment to a degree that people are now complaining about the lack of "new". Yet the market itself is only 2 years old and experiencing hyper growth. I can't think of another example where a tech product hit maturity so far ahead of the demand curve flattening out.
It all goes to show just how strong Apple's position is here. First they invent the tablet market, then they deliver a best in class store loaded with apps custom designed for tablets. Now we've reached the point where it's just the "new" iPad. It's similar to when Apple releases a "new" iMac or "new" Macbook Pro.
More on the new iPad
So that's the Mobile Nations take. If it wasn't enough for you, jump in and leave us your take, or check out the following resources:
- The new iPad (2012) review
- The new iPad (2012) community report card
- The new iPad community forums
Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
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It could easily be argued that, in the current economy, the best tablet is a tablet below $300 like the Fire, or a tablet not constrained to a closed garden like the Android tablets etc.
Saying that the iPad is inarguably the best tablet because if its success is akin to saying that Windows is inarguably the best OS.
But, all the sub $300 can't even begin to touch the functionality the iPad brings. The iPad is easily the best tablet for everyone... Why? Cause no matter who picks it up, whether they like it or not, the iPad can do anything they want it to because of its mass ecosystem with apps and accessories. And, of course, it's ease of use.
Not many other tablets (if any) can say that for themselves.
I like cookies. :p
USB & SD slot? Really? 2010 called, it wants it's review back. You sound like a tool.
If you jailbreak it you can even use an external USB-HDD for storage.
Georgia, good on you to retain a sense of perspective.