You’ve heard all the praises and maybe even queued up on launch day to get your hands on the newest iPad. Everyone knows why you should get the iPad; virtually every tech blogger and pundit out there is raving over Apple’s newest gizmo.
But if you’re still sitting on the fence, here are five reasons why you should not get the new iPad.
1. You’ve already got an iPad 2
Apple has the largest market share in this category, so a lot of you are probably reading this on your iPad or iPad 2. Take a trip on the MRT and you’ll see more iPad 2’s than any other tablet.
If you’ve already got an iPad 2, there’s really not much more to the new iPad that’s a must-have, perhaps other than the higher-res screen and LTE connectivity (more on those later). I’m just going to ignore the camera upgrade because photography, even the point-and-shoot kind, is just plain silly on a tablet and should not influence your decision to get one.
If you’ve already got an iPad 2, save your money and give this a pass. And if you’ve got a first-generation iPad, you can get the iPad 2 for a much lower price!
2. LTE only works in North America
Don’t buy into the 4G hype. The standard for 4G has not been finalised, but many brands are using it in their marketing, including Apple. The new iPad uses Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, a high-speed stepping stone to the eventual 4G standard.
Here’s the problem with “4G”: it doesn’t work in the same way everywhere. The new iPad supports North American LTE networks, which utilises the 700MHz and 2.1GHz frequency. But the rest of the world usually uses the 800MHz, 1.8GHz, 2.3GHz or 2.6GHz frequency bands for its networks.
In Singapore, SingTel and M1 has confirmed that their LTE networks operate on 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands, while StarHub does not have any specific information on its planned LTE networks to share.
A My Paper report stated that iDA “does not rule out making part of the 700MHz band available for 4G services in the future”. The iPad does tap onto the faster HSPA+ network, but until the blazing speed of LTE arrives, you might as well stick to the 3G iPad 2.
3. The screen alone is not worth the upgrade
Now that LTE is out of the race, we come to the only major upgrade in the new iPad: the so-called Retina display.
Admittedly, the screen is fantastic. Text looks razor sharp and colours are extremely vivid. But a major reason for the hoo-hah over the Retina display is the fact that the original iPad screen sucked, displaying only 1,024 x 768 pixels worth of information. Still, it was functional enough and did not provide any difficulty in reading and browsing.
If you don’t have a problem with the 1080p display on a 40-inch HDTV, and are satisfied with the 1280 x 800 displays on typical 10-inch Android tablets, why fork out extra cash for so many pixels on just a 9-inch screen? You won’t be able to tell much of a difference at a distance anyway.
Plus, developers who want to make their app pretty on the Retina display will have to pack in huge graphics that take up a lot of space. For example, The Verge reports that the Keynote presentation app was previously only 115MB, but its latest version is 327MB.
16GB of storage is starting to look paltry, as you’ll run out of space fast once all the apps start piling up.
4. Still largely the same unexciting hardware
The first iPad had only one proprietary port, the iPad 2 still had one proprietary port, and with the new third-generation iPad, we still get only one proprietary port for charging and data transfer. The iPad is still missing USB ports, and micro SD card slots, among others.
The screen, too, is still the 9.7-inch with no hint of extra enhancements like a piece of Gorilla glass for protection. The aspect ratio is still 4:3, which isn’t ideal for enjoying movies.
In fact, if you put the iPad 2 next to the new iPad, very few people will be able to tell the difference from a distance. Compared to the range of hardware available on Android tablets, and the upcoming Windows 8 tablets, the iPad’s design is getting pretty old.
5. It’s not the only tablet
Most of the new iPad’s features can actually already be found in existing tablets, just not in a slick Apple package. You can also get good Android tablets at lower price-points, or tablets with a full operating system like Windows 7 tablets.
At the end of the day, it depends on what you’re going to use your tablet for, and it’s definitely worth checking out other tablets and not settle on the iPad by default.
(Photo credit: blakespot, Flickr Creative Commons)