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Apple iPad – What,Why and How Much

  • Carried by Optus, Vodafone, Telstra
  • 4G connectivity not available
  • Faster processor, retina display, same iPad goodness
Written by Adam Wajnberg
16/03/2012

I’m an iPad junkie. I picked up the first one in the US while visiting family in 2010. I lined up on the day of release for the iPad 2 (with my boss, who looked uncomfortable sitting on a floor in JB Hi-Fi wearing a three piece suit). I use it only for productive, healthy activities- reading blogs at 4 in the morning while in bed, playing Tetris for several hours, and reading comic books. My wife, who inherited my first iPad, is so important to me that she’s been upgraded from ‘wife’ to “Flesh-iPad”.

ipad offering

Offering the iPad the traditional tribute of a sandwich and several batteries.

But I’m not gonna get this one. I like a nice display, but content is more important to me than how ridiculously sharp it actually looks. The 2nd iPad got a significant bump in processing power, and I’m just not sure the bump in the new iPad (which is not called the iPad 3) is worth the trouble. It does have a better camera. I played with it, and was suitably impressed by the quality. Of course, my iPhone 4 has the same camera, and fits into my pocket.

Some apps that I really like will probably be able to take advantage of the new resolution – namely Infinity Blade and The Elements. But really, I whip those out once a month for fun. For browsing the web, reading eBooks and writing (which I do with the Bluetooth keyboard), I don’t personally need all that fuss.

That said, the new display is gorgeous. The hype is justified – the sheen on icons and text is almost eerie. Movies (especially cartoons) are blazingly sharp and pleasant on the eye, capable of full 1080p playback.

Internals

It doesn’t yet feel snappier than the iPad 2 – though it will. Technology abhors a vacuum. With the extra  processing power, heavy-duty apps (like the aforementioned) will upgrade to take advantage of the extra capacity, and the iPad 2 will look sluggish after a while. That’s ok, as long as you can ignore the little floating update reminders on the App Store. But newer apps will come, ready for newer iPad goodness, and that will preclude dinosaurs on the iPad 2 or the ancient, hand cranked, steam powered original iPad.

That’s alright. Within a year, we’ll have a proper upgrade, and the cycle will continue. The new iPad isn’t a necessary upgrade – but for people still in the market for a tablet, nothing else much compares.

Data connectivity

Actual 4G connectivity won't be available in Australia, though the new iPad is backwards compatible with the existing 3G networks. While the device is available as a subsidized unit on a plan (like a mobile), those getting an iPad as their main internet access device are better off buying the device outright and then getting a good value SIM-only plan. The short term pain of buying outright is the price you pay for greater flexibility and prices.

Here’s a list of providers with excellent value SIM-only plans that can be used with a freshly bought iPad+4G. The best plans are highlighted in red, and a hi-res version of this chart can be downloaded here: New iPad sim-only compare.

ipad 3 internet mobile broadband sim only price compare

Conclusion – If you already have an iPad, or for that matter, a good tablet, you probably don’t need to upgrade. If you’re in the market for a new tablet, then the new iPad only has one true competitor: the iPad 2, newly discounted by $100.

The new iPad is now available from Apple Stores, major electronic retailers and through all major mobile broadband carriers (subsidized on plan). Prices start from $5399 for a 16Gb model with Wi-Fi connectivity only, all the way up to $899 for 64GB, Wi-Fi + 4G/3G. Call us on 1300 106 571 for more information on Vodafone plans.

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