The bad thing about having a new Apple device delivered to my office is that I have to wait to get home before I can sync it up to my iTunes account. That was a long afternoon. But it was an even longer evening as I spent the hours messing around with the new iPad (when I wasn’t watching the DVRed episode of Community, of course). Now that I’ve spent a good deal of time with the iPad 3, as it were, I have my initial thoughts ready to go…and in convenient, easy to digest bullet points, too!
- I continue to love Apple’s packaging. This is partially because I’m seeing it influence third-party developers, but mostly because I’m used to opening my kids’ toys, which are a mess of tape, plastic, twisty ties and rubber bands.
- You won’t have to get past the opening splash screens to see just how (I’ve used this word a few times now, and I’m going to stick with it) glorious the new Retina display is.
- Syncing two iPads is a dream. Apple has been making this process simple since OS X has been around, I continue to be impressed by the fact that even my in-app save games are retained by a simple load from backup. The sync took about 10 minutes, and I’ve only got a half-full 16GB iPad. That may seem like a lot, but I’m used to restoring my Mac from Time Machine, which takes considerably more time.
- I did, however, have two problems in the iPad setup. First, the initial sync to iTunes stopped functioning at one of the initial screens. Unplugging the iPad and plugging it back in cleared this up, and it was smooth sailing from there. Second, Mail forgot my passwords on the two connected accounts (.Mac and Appletell). Perhaps this was done on purpose, though, as I had to reenter my network password, as well, after telling it to which network I wanted to connect (apparently, one my neighbors is either a fan of the Cleveland Browns or just particularly enjoys the color).
- That giant new battery inside that powers the Retina display’s quad-core graphics and A5x processor take significantly longer to charge. I’ll be curious to test whether devices such as the Gum Max can still fully charge this monster.
- The new iPad seems to run hotter than the iPad 2.
- Although Apple’s Smart Cover works on the new iPad, the Cygnett Lavish folio case I’m currently testing does not, despite the fact that it does work on the iPad 2. I expect there’ll be similar instances with other third-party devices due to the slight size difference between these two iPad models.
- Again—and although I’ll go into more detail in our official review of the new iPad—the Retina display is stunning. I’m the kind of guy who hates watching DVDs now that I’ve seen Blu-ray, so I expected to notice the difference. My wife, on the other hand, will still watch VHS tapes when necessary. When I showed her the new iPad screen, her first words were, “I can finally read books on this now,” and she promptly made her first purchase in iBooks. Something with witches in it, I think.
- The processor upgrade is significant, especially in games. I don’t expect it’ll be long before we start seeing “for new iPad only” on a lot of titles, and I’ll welcome that. Since I’ve been playing Chaos Rings II, which isn’t even optimized for the Retina display, I’ve had no desire to go back to my 3DS…which I eventually will because the iPad game controls still infuriate me 90% of the time.
- The camera is fantastic for both still photography and video. Not as good as the iPad 4s, but comparable to that of my iPhone 4, and heads and shoulders above that of the iPad 2, which was next to unusable.
- My model is WiFi only, so I can’t offer thoughts on the 4G LTE.
Despite all of these selling points, I still wouldn’t have a problem recommending the iPad 2 for those who seek my buying advice. If you don’t need high end gaming and won’t be using the camera, the previous model will serve as a great introduction to iPad use at significant savings. Likewise, not everyone will need to upgrade.
If, however, you passed up on the iPad 2 because that crappy camera didn’t warrant an upgrade, the new iPad will reward you for your patience. Make it your first or make it your first upgrade from the original. Either way, you’ll be thrilled.