First off, if you don’t own an iPad and can afford to do so, get in line or online March 11th. The iPad is a revolutionary piece of hardware, a must have device with no legitimate competition.
As for owners of the first generation iPad, are the new features worthy of an upgrade? Let’s review the new features.
A new processor, the A5, twice as fast as the A4. Is the iPad slow? I’ve never known anyone to complain about the speed. I’m not running Photoshop on the iPad, I’m playing Plants vs. Zombies, searching the web, or writing articles. I would love to be able to do Photoshop on the iPad one day, but we are likely a few generations away from that becoming a reality. I’m sure the new processor makes the experience zippier, but I would never call the A4 processor a slouch.
Cameras on the front and back, just like the iPhone 4. This to me is the add-on that means absolutely nothing, and I’m a photographer! It’s a bullet point for the back of the box. I couldn’t imagine a more awkward camera. Now, if it was the only means of taking a photo or shooting video, it might be viable. But guess what, your iPhone does the same thing. You always have your iPhone with you, you won’t always carry your iPad, and your iPhone is a much easier device for photo and video.
The last major upgrade is the most exciting to me, it’s thinner and lighter. I’m an ultralight hiker and traveler and I count ounces. If I can shave ounces off my iPad by upgrading to the next generation, I would likely do it. In this case though, I’m going to wait. I have a 6 month trip coming up in 2013 so I have the luxury of waiting a few generations. That being said, if I was leaving for my trip next month, I would upgrade without hesitation.
The rest of the upgrades are software related, plus a HDMI out. These apply to the original iPad as well, so there’s no need to discuss them.
What didn’t get upgraded? The screen remains the same, and there is yet to be an in device SD reader or a way to attach a USB device. I would give anything for the iPad to replace the Epson P-7000 Multimedia Photo Viewer. Every photographer would buy an iPad on the day that happens.
Apple put so much time and effort into developing a polished first generation product that the iPad is extremely difficult to improve. Apple will inevitably find ways, but in small steps, not leaps and bounds. For me, the iPad 2 is not compelling enough to upgrade. I already can’t wait to see what the iPad 3 has in store!
What are your thoughts? Are you going to upgrade?