More Fun with Apples – the new iPad

I started with the first-generation iPad, and loved it. That iPad was a life-altering experience, because it actually changed the way I do things, in a big way.

I quit buying hard-copy books, thereby saving trees, space, some money, and the foundations of our house (yes, I read a lot). I ditched my various HP calculators, replacing them with the excellent PCalc program, iPad version. (You can read a funny story about PCalc here).

Blessings of the iPad include the fact that most iOS software is way cheaper than desktop computer versions. This is true of games and books as well. With iBooks and the Kindle program on there, I’m covered for reading material.

I carry around the 6800 plus pictures of my family to bore and annoy my friends and relatives. I use it in my job for countless bits of information. I play games on it. Anywhere. I have ALL my music on it.

The desktop or laptop computer still has its place. But the iPad has usurped about 80% of that functionality.

So, now; the new third-generation iPad.

Well, to be honest, it’s not a life-altering experience for me this time, but only because I’ve already owned one. From the perspective of already being a convert, the new iPad (hereafter referred to as just iPad) is a very nice upgrade of the old version. I bought the 64 MB Wi-Fi only version, just like I had before. I have a Verizon 4G hot-spot that handles my portable needs, and at home and work I’m bathed in Exede12 internet on WiFi. So I’m covered just fine without a built-in 3G/4G LTE experience. The only benefit I might get from that would be the true GPS functionality; but I have that on my iPhone.

The processor is significantly faster than the first iPad’s. I understand it’s not a huge leap from the iPad 2, but things now happen with noticeably more enthusiasm than they do on the old iPad. Which is really saying something since I wasn’t disappointed with the old one.

I understand graphics performance is supposedly radically better, as well; I was not prone to watch videos on the old one, but I got on iTunes Store and downloaded and watched the “Celtic Woman – Believe” SD version (a bit over a gigabyte download), and watched it last night with the earbuds from my iPhone for sound, and it was truly awesome. Much sharper picture than on the HD version playing off my DVR. I could see the hairs on the hand of the drummers, and see the brand names on the cymbals and drums; and that was not even the HD version of the video. The HD version file was between 3 and 4 GB in size, and for some reason, you can purchase the SD but only rent the HD version, in the iTunes store. Go figure.

All graphics on the new iPad are noticeably better. Icons, text and other art are more detailed, photos are beautiful and very sharp, if they started out life at a high enough resolution to begin with. I have a 27” iMac at work that has a beautiful screen. This iPad screen packs about 80% of the pixels that huge 27” iMac does.

I like it!

The reviews online tell me this one is a bit heavier and thicker than the iPad 2, but for me it’s a fair bit lighter and thinner, compared to the first generation iPad.

I’ve seen some reports online about the iPad running hotter than previous version. While this is true, it is also a non-issue. It does not get hot. It does get warm. Not a problem, not even noticeable unless you have a basis for comparison. Put your mind at ease on this subject.

The new iPad has cameras front and back, for taking pictures and doing FaceTime. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to test FaceTime, but I expect it to be a step up from FaceTime on the iPhone 4. I have played with the camera some, and while it does make a big camera, it makes a really big viewfinder, too. About those cameras; iPad comes with the PhotoBooth program. Hand it to a kid, and he/she will be entertained for hours. It’s a hoot for all ages.

As a book reader, it is just like the first generation iPad except noticeably sharper. Not that the iPad 1 was bad, but you notice the difference.

It may be my imagination, but I think they have improved the glass in some way that helps with fingerprints. I’m noticing (and cleaning) fingerprints a lot less on the new iPad.

I bought the 64GB version, because that is what I had before, and it was almost half full. Since I moved all that information over to the new iPad, I am starting out with it half full. I expect the higher definition graphics files related to the new screen will take up more space, as well. One thing about an iPad or iPhone; you can’t add storage. So if you bottom out the storage space, you are buying a new device. Go big to start with and don’t worry about it. An extra $100 or so now may save you $700 or $800 later. Of course, your mileage may vary.

One other thing about storage space; notice the video file I downloaded above. The SD version of that movie was over 1 GB. If you want to use the iPad as a movie player, and you want to store them on the device – well, you do the math. Probably 50 or 60 movies and you’re done. HD movies, maybe 20? Fortunately, I probably will never have more than three or four, as I am only interested in keeping exceptional videos such as the Celtic Woman concert I mentioned above.

One feature of all the iPads is that they feel to me like I’m walking around with a delicate pane of glass. It is almost like jewelry. You watch where you set it down to avoid scratching it. So I bought the Apple cover for the front (in leather), and I bought a separate BlueLounge cover for the back. I like the magnetic Apple cover; no comment yet on the BlueLounge cover since I have only had it a few hours.

I have not thoroughly tested the battery life, but it seems to be about the same as the old iPad, depending on what you are doing. It does take longer to charge, but it’s not a problem; I put it on the charger at bedtime, and I have another charger at work if I need it.

The advent of the original iPad felt like the transition from slide rules to pocket calculators (yes, I lived through that – I’m old). The new iPad feels like moving from the first four-function electronic calculator to one of the Hewlett Packard programmable calculators (again, yes, I’m old). It’s no longer an incredible new experience – but it is significantly better!

The new iPad is an evolutionary improvement that I can say is worth the investment if you have a first-generation iPad, or especially if the iPads are completely new to you. If you have an iPad 2, it’s really close to the same except for the incredible new screen, so that is a judgement call.

All this, and I haven’t even touched on just how much pure fun it is to use the thing!

I’m glad I upgraded. I like it!

-Popgun

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