I was all set to buy the new iPad. It was a no brainer.
I figured I’d sell my 3G-enabled 32 GB iPad 2, either on eBay or to my husband. Buying the new iPad would probably even qualify as a business expense. My wallet was on the table and I was ready to spend.
But once Apple announced the new iPad, I decided I could wait another year. Why? Because I didn’t see any remotely tempting upgrades.
Yes, the retina display is attractive, but I’m not a gamer and when I watch videos, it’s usually standard definition stuff on a plane. I don’t even typically buy high-def video, since they take up so much more space. Occasionally I show friends photos on my iPad, but more often than not I just use my iPhone, which I always have with me.
4G might be nice, but I barely use my current 3G. And when I do, it’s for a quick Internet search or to load some books onto my Kindle app.
Upgraded five-megapixel camera? No thanks. I once saw someone try to take a picture of Hugh Jackman coming out of a back stage door after a performance with her iPad, but all she succeeded in doing was blocking everyone else’s view. My father-in-law recorded a funny video of an elephant trying to step over a wide walkway in Botswana on his iPad 2 on a trip last fall, but it was mostly because it was the only device he happened to have to catch the moment. The iPad is pretty great for FaceTime, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who uses the iPad regularly to take photos or record video.
Finally, the new iPad is thicker and heavier than its predecessor. Not by much, but it feels like a step backward.
When I said all this to a WSJ colleague, he asked me, “What would have gotten you to buy it?” That’s a tough question. It’s one of those things where you can’t really know until you see it. In fact, I think of part of me had counted on Apple to show some new feature that I didn’t know I needed, but now absolutely had to have. But even a slight change in form factor would probably have caught my interest — something lighter weight or thinner. Or both. Also longer battery life. Even though I just dissed the camera, it would have been a different matter if it had let me do the one thing I can’t easily do now: record video and take photos of FaceTime conversations. When I’m on Face Time with my little niece and nephew, they’re often doing cute things that I wish I could capture permanently (yes, I know you can take a screenshot of a Face Time moment and there’s a third party app that offers the ability to record video, but the latter costs a lot and neither solution is really the same as having those features integrated into the app).
So now I’ve still got my wallet out, but my interest is now centered around the next iPhone. I passed on the 4S, so I’m counting on Apple to come up with a new model that is so clearly better than the iPhone 4 that I absolutely have to have it. That’s not expecting too much is it?
NOTE: Several people have pointed out that text is the main differentiator for the retina display, but I’ve never felt that was a problem on my iPad 2. It may not be as good as the iPad 3, but as a consumer who doesn’t own an iPad 3, it’s not something I feel is lacking.