Should you buy the new iPad?

Whenever Apple launches a new product, hysteria ensues.

Queues stretching around the block, camping out the front of stores overnight, and tears when the product sells out in the first few hours are all par for the course.

We just can’t get enough of the big shiny Apple.

In the last two months alone, Apple launched its new iPhone offering the 5c and the 5s and now, just a month later an updated iPad mini, and new iPad Air.

Apple claims the new iPad Air is ‘dramatically thinner, lighter and more powerful’ than ever before.

But, is that accurate?

Let’s take a closer look at what you’re really getting with the iPad Air as against the iPad 2 across some key criteria:

  • Capacity
  • Price
  • Weight
  • Display
  • Connection
  • Battery life

The iPad 2 was originally available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB – naturally, and slyly, it’s now only available in the 16GB. The Air will be available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. Both models are available in Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi + 3G – the Air with the added bonus of 4G.

Of course, 4G connectivity is only relevant depending on where you live.

On the matter of price, using the 16GB Wi-Fi models as an example – the 2 sets you back $449AUD (RRP), and the Air $598 (RRP).

Straight off the mark, you’re $149 worse off. A cheeky 25% increase.

Let’s keep going.

Again using the 16GB Wi-Fi models as an example, Apple’s specs sheet tells us that the Air is 1.2 mm shorter in height, 1.6 cm narrower in width, and a whopping 1.3 mm thinner in depth.

Yes that’s right – Apple considers a difference of 1.3 mm “dramatically thinner”.

The tech world is just as weight obsessed as that of the celebrity, so it’s worth a mention that the Air weighs 135 grams less than its counterpart. That’s roughly the equivalent of a large apple.

When it comes to the display, the selling point of the Air is the addition of the all-important ‘Retina display’. In other words, it offers higher resolution, and is apparently so high that the human eye cannot detect pixilation at a typical viewing distance.

Whether or not this is a massive improvement remains to be seen.

Ok now onto the connection. For a long time Apple set itself apart by using the same adapter across its entire iPhone, iPad and iPod range.

Then, with the launch of the iPhone 5, they changed the connection head from the ‘30-pin’ to the ‘Lightening’ – effectively sounding the death knell for speaker docks across the land.

In one fell swoop, Apple also created the frustrating (and ongoing) problem of searching for an iPhone 4 cable, in a sea of shiny new 5’s.

Hmmmmpphhh.

Last, but by no means least – battery.

According to Apple’s specs, both the Air and 2 offer around 10 hours of surfing the web if you’re using Wi-Fi, or up to 9 hours if you’re using a data network.

NB: If anyone has got that much battery out of an iPad, please call me. Because that’s a scoop. Seriously.

The final word

For Apple die-hards, you’ll no-doubt be eager to spend a night on the pavement waiting to get your fingers on the iPad Air when it’s officially released on November 1.

For those considering purchasing a tablet for the first time, sure – get the latest version. Or perhaps you’ve got a first or second generation and it’s slowing down – fair enough, upgrade.

If however you’ve been using (and enjoying) the iPad 2, why fix something that ain’t broke?

Image: Apple

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