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« The New iPad - First Thoughts | Main | OnLive vs. CloudOn: Finally Working in Word on the iPad »

The New iPad - The Prognosticating is Over, Finally

If there's one thing I hate about technology, it's predicting new features of a product that's soon to debut. For the past 3 months, those of us who pay attention to this sort of thing have been treated to endured an endless tidal wave of predictions about the features the latest iPad would have when was eventually unveiled. I get it - some people like to make predictions.  It's what stokes interest in a product, and gives the journalists something to write about while they're waiting.  But I hate them - the predictions, that is. 

Yesterday, I was mercifully relieved of this suffering when Apple unveiled the new iPad.  Not the iPad 3. Not iPad HD.  The new iPad.  Or maybe we're supposed to just say iPad.  Whatever.  It's here.

The Apple site calls the new iPad "Resolutionary," which means a couple of different things.  First, it refers to the fact that the iPad now has a Retina display, like the iPhone.  This means 2048x1536 resolution, with 3.1 million pixels - that's a pretty awesome display.  

But Apple's choice of words means something else as well - this new iPad is not "revolutionary."  While the changes made are pretty significant, they do not represent a re-invention of the iPad.  In other words, the changes aren't so big that all iPad2-toting lawyers need to rush out and upgrade - but read ahead for more of my thoughts on this.

In addition to Retina display, the new iPad comes with a couple of other nifty features:

  • iSight Camera - the iPad 2 captured images at less than a megapixel.  The new iPad offers a 5-megapixel camera, which isn't as good as the iPhone's 8-megapixel offering but still pretty darned good.  (Although I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would actually want to take pictures with something as big as an iPad.)
  • HD Video Recording and Viewing - you can now record high-definition video in all its 1080p glory. Further, all movies and television stores sold by Apple are now available in HD format.
  • 4G LTE support - the iPad finally supports 4G, which is great for those of you who have access to it in your area.  

There were a few things the pronosticators were hoping for that we didn't get - you can read more about them in this article at PC Magazine.  It's the missing things like these that make the new iPad more of an evolutionary device rather than something that's truly transformative.

I've been asked "should I upgrade to the new iPad when it comes out?"  a lot in the past few months. Now that we know the new iPad's features, here's my take on that question:

  • If you have an original iPad 1, I think you should take the leap and upgrade - when you include the improvements made in iOS 5 available only in newer iPad versions, it makes a lot of sense to move on up to the newer version.
  • If you have an iPad 2, the decision is tougher - it's going to depend on a couple of things: 1) Do you need/want 4G speeds on your device?  2) Do you plan to take movies/pictures with the iPad? or 3) is it just too cool not to upgrade?  If you answer Yes to any of these, then give some thought to upgrading.  If those things aren't important to you, you might want to wait until next year, when the "next" new iPad comes out.

For those of you who don't have an iPad yet - whether you get one now or not depends on how (or whether) you use technology in your practice.  If the iPad won't substantially improve the way you work, it's not worth the investment.  But if you want to explore different - and often better - ways of taking notes, drafting/revising documents, holding meetings, doing legal research, and trying a case in court, you might want to give the new iPad a look.  It's as good a time as any to take the plunge.

And yes, I ordered mine yesterday.

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