Why we probably won't get an iPad 2.
March 11, 2011
We say “probably” because if Target doesn’t have a line at 17:00 today, we may be tempted to stop in and make an impulse buy against our better judgment. What’s this judgment based on? Lack of features and a question of hasty integration of those features.
Who wants to carry the iPad around their neck?
We never understood the need for a camera in the iPad, but that’s because we think anyone who needs a mobile phone should have an iPhone already. The iPhone is a pocket-able device and the iPad isn’t. It may be a novelty to use the iPad for taking pictures but it’s an impractical novelty and won’t catch on. Most people will still use point-and-shoot digicams or their cell-phones. Video may see more acceptance on the iPad but most people will stick to shooting HD video with their cell phones or Flip-like devices. Never mind that the cameras in the iPad 2 aren’t as good as the ones in the iPhone 4.
So will developers quickly integrate camera use in their apps? Sure, we’ll see iPad-ized versions of iPhone apps like Instagram, et al, if only because developers will want extra exposure and a few more dollars from paid apps. It’s rather unlikely that a truly killer iPad app will surface that will require the use of a camera (other than FaceTime) but even if it does it probably won’t surface soon, so waiting for the iPad 3 sounds reasonable. Plus, we already have FaceTime on our iPhone.
Who wants these other novelty features?
Video mirroring via HDMI is cool but we don’t see an immediate need for this. If AirPlay were somehow involved and playing iPad games on our big-screen television were possible then this might be a killer feature, but since this process isn’t wireless and we don’t give presentations on our iPad then this is useless to us. We still hold a grudge about not being able to get a white iPhone 4 and besides, the black bezel is easier on the eyes, so this too is useless to us. And GSM devices are better for international travel, so the little international travel we do would be hampered by a Verizon-based iPad which we can’t place a local SIM card into.
Okay, we want the speed and RAM.
Here’s the bit about where we’d want an iPad 2, but only to play around with iMovie and wait some months before games start taking advantage of the speedier performance. The question becomes, “Will there be a game that requires the iPad 2’s performance improvements sooner rather than later,” which is just another way of asking, “Won’t the iPad 3 be out by the time these types of games are widely available?” So yeah, we’d want an iPad 2 if a great game came out that either ran like shit on the original iPad or didn’t run on the legacy iPad at all. Because we don’t want to feel like we’re missing something cool. And that poses a thought that sounds something like this: Assuming another year before the iPad 3 comes out, it really only makes sense to get the iPad 2 early on, because if you wait to buy it when ueber-cool games requiring iPad 2 speed boosts are available, four-plus months may have gone by and at that point you’re either only going to have the iPad 2 for a half year or so before you upgrade again, else you’ll feel guilty and won’t upgrade to the iPad 3 at all. And really, everyone’s expecting the iPad 3 to be a bigger improvement in the line than the iPad 2 was to the legacy iPad.
Storage is what we really want.
And that last thought plays into this one: Since the iPad 2 has no storage bumps and is still maxed at 64GB, it’s not going to give us any breathing room for our apps, photos, and videos if we upgrade. We’re already about five gigs below capacity and expect to hit the ceiling within a year, which means that we will be looking at the iPad 3 come next year (or daresay, in the autumn like Gruber proposed. Since we use the iPad as our main computing device at home and on the road, scaling back what we carry on the device is annoying, so even jumping to 128GB is a major boon. So however we look at it, the iPad 2 is going to cost us over $800 in one year and then we’re going to dump it. If the iPad 2 had a greater storage capacity then the upgrade would probably be a no-brainer, but since storage capacity is the device’s Achilles heel (for us) it makes more sense to wait.
And if we wait even a few months then we may as well wait the rest of the year for the iPad 3 which will most certainly have a larger storage capacity.
Waiting is a calculated game.
Holding out for the third generation iPad is a gamble. It’s a gamble that the hardware boosts in the iPad 2 won’t be mandatory to the full iPad experience. Already, iMovie requires the iPad 2 and games are already being announced that will make use of the iPad 2’s hardware. If the legacy iPad can stay in the game for the next six months or more then it shouldn’t be a huge deal to wait six more for a proper upgrade. And hell, maybe we won’t have to wait even that long.