The iPad 4 has recently come out and it’s not a bad piece of equipment. It’s really not. It’s just a lot like the iPad 3 in a number of ways. In fact, in nearly every way. The upgrade to the 4 really is about speed. It eliminates the 30 pin adaptor, improves dual-band capabilities for download speeds of up to 150Mb, and the A6X processor speeds up an already speedy tablet. If you’ve ever booted up a modern Android tablet next to a 1st generation iPad, then you know what I’m talking about here.
I’m not the biggest fan of the 4, however, because even though the extra speed is nice, the comparative speed between what the processor in the iPad 2 does and what the iPad 4 does isn’t much. If you’re a mega downloader who runs life through the iPad instead of a computer/laptop platform, ok – I get it. You’re throwing stuff around your new iPad at this article right now because I’m being ridiculous.
For the average person, however, of which I consider myself to be apart of that demographic, I still love the iPad 2. Here’s why:
#1. It’s Cheaper
I needed new hardware thanks to a 2 year old, a cranberry Red Bull, and an ill-conceived burrito for breakfast. I was gung-ho for the iPad 4 because it was a chance to upgrade, but as I began to compare what my needs where with what the whole line of iPads could do, the justification of more than $200 extra for the 4 just didn’t make sense. That’s right – I got a brand new 2 for less than $300 without the risks of going through an unknown discount e-supplier.
#2. I Can Still Teleconference
When your business means working with people from London to New York City to Thailand, you need the ability to teleconference while still being able to work to meet a deadline. The iPad 2 was the first generation to offer front and rear cameras that allowed for this capability. Does it offer the 720p HD video of the 4’s front camera? No… but I don’t need that. That’s what my awesome DSLR is used for and that’s a lot more convenient to carry on a walk with four preschoolers than an iPad.
#3. It’s Getting iOS 8
Apple has a strong commitment to a 3 year level of support for their technology before it gets left in the dust. That’s twice as long as Google products in most cases and it leads the industry, beating Android by a full year. What’s in it for the iPad 2 for this update? Tim Cook spelled it out recently spelled out a whole list of benefits and there’s 18 good ones that will work well with the 2 when it’s ready. I’m mostly excited about the phone call feature. Lost phones are a way of life for me.
#4. No Retina Display? Oh Well…
The main step up from the 2 to the 3 is the retina display, which means owners of 3’s aren’t really going to see any display improvement at all. For my needs, the apps that I use that stream video don’t even offer the HD streaming through the app anyway, so the retina display is pretty much useless. Now if the apps upgrade and I end up with fuzzy pixels, I might change my mind on this one. For now, however, there’s no real difference in what the 3 or the 4 puts out compared to what I get from what I use on the 2.
#5. I Can Still Produce Music
For $29, I was able to purchase a 30 pin to USB connector, otherwise known as the camera connection kit. I can route my MIDI to USB connector into this camera connection kit to record live music through a number of music apps. I can even route a USB microphone through it when the batteries in the mic are good, but that’s hit or miss. The internal mic on the iPad 2 works for a lot of my needs, however, so one way or another I can get my production needs done. Is it as complete as a DAW that’s Mac or even PC based? Not really, but you can’t beat the ability to record a hook while your wife is driving and the kids are screaming about the fact they just saw a squirrel.
#6. Maybe If I Had 4G LTE…
This is the one place the 4 definitely has an advantage for many people. There’s some limited 4G connection points a couple miles down the road from me, but it’s a good day if I can pick up a 3G signal at the house. When I do, it’s usually when I’m upstairs near the uppermost point of the house where I keep my office. Even then it’s hit or miss… and it’s usually more of a miss. If I traveled more on business, I can see upgrading to the 4 to get the faster mobile service. As it is, I pretty much use my internal WiFi and that works just fine for me.
#7. Star Trek: Trexels is Awesome
Seriously. I probably waste more time playing this game on the iPad 2 than I do working on content of giving piano lessons to my kids. My twins argue about who gets to order the Redshirts to their deaths and then they yell at me if I save the virtual life of a Redshirt.
So yeah – the iPad 2 might not be at the forefront of modern technology, but it is still good enough for the average person and that means it is good enough for me. Fire photon torpedoes!