Nearly two years ago, Apple took the stage and introduced the world to the iPad – the first major step in modern, high-end tablets and the very first step towards the end of the PC era. At that point, the vast majority scoffed at the idea of spending upwards of $500 for an in between device that barely had more functionality than their pocket-sized smartphone. Since then, however, a slew of other manufacturers have jumped on the tablet bandwagon with their own little twist. Tablets have finally started to gain traction and have begun encroaching on the PC market.
In just two days, Tim Cook will be taking the stage to announce Apple's third-generation iPad, presumed to be called the iPad 3 (or maybe the iPad HD). What we actually know about the next iPad is very little. But if rumors hold true, it should feature a Retina Display (2048 by 1536 pixels), either a dual- or quad-core processor, the same memory options as the iPad 2, Siri, a slightly modified design, 4G LTE connectivity and a larger rear camera sensor. There is also some floating (and far less likely) speculation that it will come bearing iOS 6, thanks to some web logs that have picked up on some iPad traffic with iOS 6 installed.
All of this considered and despite the it (seemingly) shaping up to be one sweet piece of hardware, I'm not all that interested in the iPad 3.
For starters, I willingly admit that I said I might be offloading my Kindle Fire for a little extra cash to put towards the next iPad. I still may. However, that would simply be to test the waters, maybe for a review. I don't know yet. But it doesn't mean I'm all over myself and dying of anticipation for Apple's announcement. I'm not. At all.
One of the main reasons, though, is because this time around, Apple is behind the curve. Okay, maybe not behind the curve. But they're no longer leading the tablet efforts in terms of specifications. ASUS was the first to out a tablet with a quad-core with the original Transformer Prime and the first to announce one with a display resolution beyond WXGA (1280 by 800 pixels) with the Prime TF700T, which will sport a WUXGA (1920 by 1200 pixels) display.
Sure, if the iPad does actually come with a Retina Display, it will pack quite a few more pixels in a slightly smaller display – over 100 more horizontal pixels and over 300 more vertical pixels in landscape. But for the majority of users, this bit is trivial. I, for example, am perfectly fine with the WXGA display on the Prime, though I may consider the TF700T when it arrives later this year, simply for the improved display and Wi-Fi connectivity.
Truth be told, specs don't really carry as much weight when it comes to the iPad. Performance, battery life and the display were already sufficient enough for most people. More cores in the processor would only provide even better gaming. And a better display is just icing on the cake.
But the iPad 3 only being an evolutionary upgrade to its predecessor is hardly the reason I'm not interested. I have owned both the original iPad (twice, actually) and the iPad 2. I had both of them for an extended period of time and their luster wore away quickly. After a couple weeks – with all three models – I was no longer using it. I would use my phone or computer to browse the Internet instead. And after buying the iPad 2, I decided to go back to an Android tablet.
What's more is something I've covered a couple different times now. Between Android phones and Android tablets, there is a mental context switch. Menu buttons, notifications and several other interface elements differ greatly between the two. This is something I like, though, seeing as I use and hold my phones and tablets differently. The iPad's interface, on the other hand, is almost identical to the iPhone interface. It's not necessarily a bad thing. But I prefer the interfaces to accommodate for different screen sizes more appropriately.
All things considered, I'm not saying Android tablets are better than iPads. I don't want to start that war. Android tablets, however, are better for my needs than any iPad is. There are probably millions of Americans who would disagree with me on that matter, but I am a heavy user of several Google Apps accounts, and Android tablets simply suit my needs without the need for paid, third-party apps. And with the recent introduction of Chrome for Android, there's no going back now.
Like I said, I will probably buy an iPad 3 ... eventually. I will also probably sell it in due time, like I have with the other three that I have owned. They're cool. And they're fun for a while. But no iPad I've ever used has served my needs without a hitch. I need a better balance between work and play with my tablet, and a keyboard dock like the Transformer Prime.
Maybe an iOS overhaul – one that makes it more OS X-like – with another ZAGGmate would do the trick. But I'm not holding my breath.
All of that said, I know I'm the minority here. There are a ton of you out there who can't wait for Tim Cook to take the stage Wednesday or to begin lining up to place your pre-orders. Tell me, readers, how you feel about the most recent iPad 3 announcements and whether you're excited in the comment section below!
Image via Engadget