Apple's newest iPad came out last week, and, as expected, it's a gorgeous device. With more RAM, a beefier processor and that super-shiny retina display, the third-gen iPad is certainly a powerful tablet. And a great gaming system.
But for gamers, all that glitz and glamour isn't worth the entry fee. Not yet.
Today I compared my new iPad with a co-worker's iPad 2. Though there are a few minor aesthetic differences (textures look a tiny, tiny bit better!), games like Infinity Blade 2 and Mirror's Edge run just as smoothly on both devices. The old iPad looks and feels exactly the same way when you're playing games, to the point where you probably wouldn't be able to tell the two tablets apart.
In other words, if you already have an iPad 2, there's no reason to upgrade. Yet. Remember, publishers like Electronic Arts have promised to develop optimised versions of many of their iOS games, while Epic Games has already announced a new Infinity Blade game that will likely look stunning on the newest iPad. Within the next few months, I expect that we'll start to see games that only work on Apple's newest piece of mobile hardware, much like iPhone games started to adapt to the iPhone 3G, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, rendering their predecessors obsolete. But none of that has happened yet.
Of course, if you don't already have a device that can play iOS games (an old iPad, the iPhone or the iPod touch), this is a good time to get one. The iTunes library is growing larger and larger every day. Mobile games for Apple's ubiquitous devices can be cheap, addictive and surprisingly deep.
But if you have an iPad 2 and you're wondering whether enhanced gaming justifies the $US500-$US700 it will cost you to upgrade? It doesn't. Not yet.