iPad New or iPad2?

by Colin Berkshire

Apple’s price reduction of the iPad2 was a brilliant marketing move. It positioned a product at a price point low enough that anybody considering an Android tablet would likely buy the iPad2 instead. It did it without offering a smaller screen, without crippled features, and it preserved the market for higher-end and higher-value iPads.

So should you buy the iPad2? The answer is “yes” if you have budget constraints. It is a better product in almost every way than Android tablets. From the polished user interface to the wealth of apps available, the iPad is the safe, excellent, choice.

But my advice to friends is to not buy the iPad2. Buy the new iPad with the retina display. Pay the extra $100. You won’t regret it.

I have been using IOS devices since the iPhone 3. I also have and travel with my ePaper Kindle. I bought a Kindle Fire (and returned it.) I can say pretty certainly that you want the new ipad with the retina display.

I use my Kindle whenever I need to read outside. The reality is that you will not and cannot use the iPad outdoors.  You can use an iPhone outdoors because it has a transfelective display that illuminates using sunlight. But the iPad does not have a transfelective display (a point the press has remarkably not picked up on.) So if you are in daylight, or sunlight you need the ePaper Kindle. I love my Kindle. But the Kindle sucks as a bedside reading device and it isn’t all that good in an airplane. The non-illuminated display is a prescription for eyestrain.
I use my iPad for book reading, but after half an hour of reading I have had enough and I put it down and scratch my eyes. For a long time I wondered why this was. Amazon’s Bezos describes it as a flashlight shining in your face. But that isn’t it, really.

The issue is the clarity of the print on the screen. When you are up close to a tablet and are reading text, it is grainy. The brain is a marvelous signal processor and it smoothes the characters on a tablet. But it takes a lot of brainpower and after a while you will feel it. You just want to put the tablet down…you don’t know why but that is the reason.

The new iPad (3rd Gen) has a retina display. This means the text is not grainy and you don’t see the pixels and dots. This means your brain works less and you don’t fatigue as much. This is not a subtle effect.

I ran into this when I upgraded from my iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4s. I already had an iPad which I loved. After a while I found that i was reading my emails on my iPhone and replying to them on my iPad. WTF? Then, it struck me. My brain had voted that the text was easier to read on the iPhone 4s which had a retina display, but the larger keyboard of the iPad won out for writing replies.

For the past 6 months it has become clear to me that the clarity of the retina display has a profound effect on the usability of the device. It is not a frilly cosmetic. It will allow you to use your device for longer periods of time and have less fatigue.

Now, consider that extra $100 you will spend to get the retina display. If you keep your iPad just one year it works out to about 25 cents an hour if you use your tablet just 90 minutes a day. if you use your tablet for 90 minutes you will be fatigued without retina. Now, care to spend 25-cents an hour to not get worn down.

Retina is so profound that I believe we will see all laptop computers and probably all desktop computers migrate to this technology.

This bodes very well for Apple. Apple’s software is already retina-ready even on the Mac. Android hasn’t yet addressed the technical challenges of retina (a very different programming methodology.) Poor Microsoft. Poor Google.

So use common sense and give up fuzzy, blurry print with jagged lines. You would pass over a book with blurry print. Buy the new iPad with the retina. You will like it.