I must confess that I didn’t want this week’s column to be on the iPad 2. Most of what has to be said about it has already been said. Almost all of the instant reactions are in, it’s already been debated from every possible angle and highly emotional verdicts are flying in quick and fast from both ends of the spectrum. I didn’t really think there was much left to be said. I was wrong.
There is a big question that has been left hanging and one that I am now asked multiple times a day. Should I buy the iPad 2? The reason it’s an intriguing question is because it’s asked from diverse categories of people. Those who own the original iPad (now unfortunately called the iPad 1), those who own some other Tablet and those who don’t own any kind of Tablet device at all (apparently there are some). To answer these questions, we must enter the arena where the iPad 2 was actually unveiled.
The Mac Fan Boys were being boisterous, the question being asked openly was whether Steve Jobs would be on stage, the rumours and speculation around the iPad 2 were reaching ridiculous proportions – when all of a sudden; it was standing ovation time. On stage was Mr Apple himself. Steve Jobs looked pretty good and immediately laid to rest some of the gross exaggerations around his health (including the one where he was said to have 60 days to live). And he was in typical Steve-ish form. Self-congratulations poured out, sales numbers were machine gunned in and competing products were quickly hacked to pieces. So far, so good – this was vintage Jobesque. Then came the reason why half the world was tuned in. The iPad 2.
It’s thinner (just 0.34 inches), lighter (starts at 601 grams), faster (dual core processor), whiter (yes, will actually ship in white and black) plus has gained two cameras – front and back. It has grown a HDMI port which needs a proprietary cable and has a chameleon-like magnetic cover that is supposed to clean the screen automatically (this I’ve got to see – the original iPad screen requires a brisk rub). What it doesn’t have is also as big. No enhancement to the screen, no bump up on the resolution, no USB port, no memory card slot and the bezel still remains monstrously thick and wide. So, now to the question? Is it worth buying and if yes, who should buy it?
We were about to buy the iPad...
Let’s start with the no brainer. If you don’t have a Tablet and were about to buy an iPad, then by all means – you should buy the iPad 2. But it gets trickier; there are now two options: the iPad 2 and the original iPad at a $100 less (even in India the starting price is down to Rs 24,000) – which makes it a fantastic bargain. So, let me go out on a limb and say that even if you don’t own the original iPad you should still buy the iPad 2. For a 100 (American) bucks more – you’re future ready for the next one year, plus facetime and photo booth with the two cameras is a sway factor.
The Fan Boy Question
If you own an iPad and you’re thinking of buying an iPad 2, then ask yourself this one question. How much of an Apple fan boy are you? If the answer is not the silly ‘leave all logic at home Jobs is God’ kind, then there isn’t a very major compelling reason for you to ditch the original. The iPad to iPad 2 upgrade path is typical Apple – just incremental. It’s usually in upgrade no. 3 that it pulls out all stops. Thus the iPad 3 will surely bump screen, resolution, processor, camera optics, size, looks, bezel and even move to 4G. Wait it out.
The No Tableters or Non iPadders
Now if you’re already slate-ready or own no Tablet at all and aren’t sold completely on the iPad – here’s a small little exercise for you. Get away from all your emotional hangups and take a good hard look at what you own. If you bought one of those junk no-brand ones, or if you are frustrated with any one major feature (battery life, screen looks hazy, too big, too heavy, hardware issues or software reboots), if you’ve been honest and feel that what you own is a clunker – then do exercise number two. Breathe slowly and repeat this to yourself. Patience will get me the best Tablet in the world. Yes, if you own a non iPad Tablet and are dissatisfied – or own none at all – then just wait it out. Like I’ve said before – in the next 60 days, 15 more Tablets will release. Let them hit the market, let the reviews come out, get your hands on each, test them to the limit and then finally decide on which one is best. Who knows, after all the dust has settled and the war cries are over – it may well still be the iPad 2.
Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3.
Follow Rajiv on Twitter at twitter.com/RajivMakhni
- From HT Brunch, March 13
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