Is the new iPad worth the upgrade?

It’s not abnormal today for people to upgrade their cell phones once or twice a year, and upgrade computers once every two years or so.  I’ve decided that unless you’re wildly rich and foolish with your money, or scored some crazy contract with a technological company such as Best Buy, though, it’s nearly impossible to always have the latest and greatest in gadgets.

One year of standard time is equal to about four years of technological time. It seems like every other month, a giant producer of technology releases a whole new set of products, which almost always surpass the products they replace by a long shot. The products that we like to see upgraded the most are those produced by cell phone manufacturers such as BlackBerry, Samsung, and HTC; Camera companies such as Nikon and Canon; and the ever-growing computer company, Apple Incorporated.

The cool thing about Apple is that they don’t just focus on one line of products, first came the Mac, then the iPod, iPhone and now, the iPad. Since CEO Steve Jobs’ death last October, Apple has already released two new versions of their most advertised products- the iPhone and the iPad.

Because of the speed that technology gets outdated, Apple must feel obliged to make something that is already amazing better in one way or another. For example, the iPhone 4S released last October is just the iPhone 4 with a slightly better camera and the voice-based “personal assistant,” Siri.

“The new iPad,” as Apple calls it, was released earlier this month and is more or less an iPad 2, but with a high-resolution display, the same camera the iPhone has, 4G LTE connectivity, and an A5X processor (the iPad 2 has an A5).

The high-resolution display, which Apple claims has “more pixels then any HDTV” is nice; it’s just not much better to the naked eye than the iPad 2. To be honest, I was disappointed. Sure, colors are crisper, maybe on-screen text is a little sharper, but in the long run it’s honestly not that much better.

When the iPhone 4 was released, its screen was shockingly better than the third generation iPhone which it replaced. The resolution jumped from 320×480 to 640×960 and it was most certainly noticeable because the pixels were jammed into a space which measured three and a half inches diagonally. The iPad 2 from the start already has more pixels than the iPhone ever had, so perhaps that’s why the new iPad’s screen doesn’t seem to hold a huge difference.

The camera on the new iPad is most certainly an extreme improvement over the iPad 2— going from one megapixel to five megapixels and also incorporating autofocus and other nifty features. The only flaw is the iPad itself. Apple claims this “revolutionary” new camera could replace your regular digital camera, but let’s face it, who wants to carry an iPad to the beach with them? You would be much better off with a compact digital camera because, as far as size goes, the iPad loses.

The 4G LTE feature probably isn’t a huge deal to most people, unless you’re somewhere where your iPhone just won’t cut it, WiFi isn’t available, and you HAVE to download that adorable picture of your loved ones on vacation. Verizon and AT&T currently offer data plans around $20/per month so you have to think to yourself— is it worth it?

I haven’t personally seen the iPad 2 perform next to the “new iPad,” but Apple claims it’s 4 time’s faster than the iPad 2. I don’t run graphic intensive applications as it is, so I doubt I’d see any real difference.

The new iPad is worth considering, but I think it’s a personal choice on which one to buy, based on what you think you’ll use it for. If you’re a first time iPad buyer and have the cash, consider the new one. However, if you already have an iPad 2, I would have to say the revision isn’t that much better in the long run; I’d wait until next spring when the iPad 4 (presumable name) will be released, as it’s bound to offer a bunch of features only Apple would invent.