The new iPad is here next week. It has sexy specs and cheaper pricing than ever before -- but it also doesn't support Australia's current version of 4G and it has no name to call its own. Will the editors at Gizmodo, Kotaku and Lifehacker be buying or upgrading? Let's find out.
ANGUS KIDMAN, LIFEHACKER: For me, it's a pass. I'm impressed that Apple has kept the price dropping while improving the technical specifications. (Yes, that's what happens with all tech, but it's still something to celebrate.) My single biggest reason for resisting iDevices -- having to use the satanic binary fart that is iTunes -- is no longer a problem. But at the end of the day, I just don't need another tablet in my life, even at a sub-$500 price point. I haven't owned an iPad yet, and I don't see myself starting now.
Alex: you already own an iPad. Does this tempt you to upgrade?
ALEX KIDMAN, GIZMODO: Yeah, I’ve got to admit it does -- but that’s also because there’s hankering from my better half for a pad upgrade, and I can justify it as work; she then gets my iPad 2. Keeping my lovely wife happy aside, I’m pleased but not that stunned by what Apple’s done with the new iPad, and I’ve already got enough of an investment in iOS apps to make it worthwhile.
Giz commenters, you may now start pasting your “Apple FANBOY!” snarks directly into the comment field if you like. Although you may want to read this first. Meanwhile, I'll ask Mark: are you going down the iPad (3rd generation) path?
MARK SERRELS, KOTAKU: Sup gents. Currently I am cast adrift in a tablet-less sea of trying to surf the web on my phone and getting mightily frustrated. This is my lot in life. I’m keen on the new iPad, but most likely it’s because I like ‘stuff’. The iPad is something I’ve always held off on for a number of reasons -- it always seemed like the kind of device I’d get excited about for 10 minutes before picking up a laptop instead.
I think anyone with a pre-frontal lobe knew that Apple would put a retina style display in the iPad at one point, and I've always said I’d hold off on buying one until that was the case. Now it has one, I'm really considering jumping on board.
LIFEHACKER: I think the screen makes life worse. if the iPad is going to get loaded up with high-resolution photos, then it strikes me that more than 64GB of storage would have made sense. The lack of a 128GB model three generations in is somewhat perplexing. That's doubly true when you consider Apple's ambitions for iBooks to be used as textbooks; the oh-so-shiny files for that take up a ludicrous amount of room.
GIZMODO: The new screen is clearly the key selling point for Australian consumers, as it will be a while before we see 700Mhz LTE in any real form, by which time this particular model will be obsolete. Higher definition stuff is always welcome in my neck of the woods, although equally it’ll be fascinating to see what happens with the lower resolution stuff. I’m a big fan of the BBC iPlayer service, and how its compressed video comes through on that higher resolution screen will be fascinating to see. It’s also going to be a potential bonanza for app developers who want to produce “HD” versions of existing apps. Although, now that I think of it, the retina display versions of most apps are usually already suffixed as HD. What are they going to call iPad-3rd-Gen-only HD apps? HDHD?
The other obvious appeal point for that nice new screen will be in gaming, and again it’ll be fascinating to see how games scale. That brings the obvious gaming comparison into view, and for that I’ll pass over to you, Mark.
KOTAKU: Yes, I enjoy partaking in that new pernickity gaming thing. I’ll probably buy one for that alone.
But I still have other reservations: iTunes, ease of use, no drag and drop, blah blah blah. Obviously I’d play games on the thing, but I’d also want to watch video content, is that clumsy, annoying, expensive? These are my issues.
LIFEHACKER: A challenge for each of you. Alex, is there any application right now where the enhanced processor will make a blind bit of difference? Mark, is there a single game you can imagine is only possible with the new retina display?
GIZMODO: For what it’s worth, Apple’s claims of “4x” performance are indeed a bit meaningless without a common testing application, but previous processor jumps have paid off for most apps. As for specific apps, there’s any number, but the proof will be in seeing how they react. Load times have particularly jumped as Apple has upgraded the processors across its iOS ranges; I could see things like iPhoto (or Photoshop Touch, if you prefer things with an Adobe flavour) working more efficiently with a better processor. It does introduce yet another fragmentation flavour into the iPad mix, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a few more apps that leave the original iPad out in the cold from now on.
And Mark, as for video -- leaving aside Apple’s own stuff -- there’s apps such as Air Video, VLC, CineXPlayer -- and that’s without getting into jailbreaking. Plenty of potential, in other words.
KOTAKU: Thanks Alex! As for the games situation, with regards to mega-res, it’s all about the ‘oh-my-god-wow-my-eyeballs-are-melting’ sensation. The kind of sensation I wanted from my PS Vita, but didn’t get.
It’s not about mechanics, or ground breaking methods of input; it’s about a visual, high end experience that is unmatched in handhelds or any other tablet. As a gaming device the iPad is quickly becoming a must-own device in my opinion. The vibe I’m getting from gamers is this iPad is the one to get.
LIFEHACKER: A vibe from the iPad? That will never be an Apple-approved feature! And it won't make me any more productive.
GIZMODO: That's enough bad jokes out of you, 'hacker. And enough out of us. Readers: are you planning to go for the new iPad? Explain your reasons in the comments. (Note: "just because" is not actually a reason, though it may be a popular choice.)