"Should I buy an iPad 2?" is a question that many of you seem to be asking yourselves (and me). Well, here are my thoughts ...
First off, let me make one thing clear. This post is NOT aimed at those of you who have already made up your mind to buy an iPad 2 (and who might already be standing in line). This post is also NOT aimed at those of you who hate the iPad, everything it stands for, and who believe it to be a more evil thing than Jar Jar Binks. This post is for those of you who are sitting on the fence with a few hundred bucks to spare, wondering if the iPad 2 is the device for you.
OK, so should you buy an iPad 2? Well, let me start off by asking YOU a question - Do you already own an iPad? Why do I ask this? Because if you do, think carefully about why you think you really want the iPad 2. Is it the front/rear facing cameras? Is it because it's thinner? Lighter? Faster CPU or GPU? The fact that you can get it in white? The ability to run iMovie or GarageBand? Verizon support? I offer these points up really to point out that the differences between the iPad 1 and iPad 2 aren't that spectacular. The iPad 2 is an incremental upgrade compared to the iPad 1, not a monumental shift in design or technology.
That said, if you are willing to sell your existing iPad 1 you might be able to get a good price for it - there seems to be a feeding frenzy for second-hand iPads at the moment. You could use the cash you raised to finance your iPad 2 purchase.
But I'm still going to urge caution for existing iPad owners. The more I look at the iPad 2, the less I see that makes it a compelling upgrade for existing those who already have an iPad. The screen is the same, the speakers don't seem much better, the battery life is the same, and the overall footprint of the device is the same. The iPad 2 is an evolutionary upgrade, not a revolutionary one. Its purpose seems primarily to tempt those who've resisted so far.
Note: We'll have a better idea of what's really changed between the iPad 1 and iPad 2 when we see a teardown.
What if you don't own an iPad but desperately want to jump on the tablet bandwagon? Well, now's a good time to think about buying because you have a number of options. Your first option is to wait for the iPad 2 and jump onto the new wave right from the beginning. Prices are exactly the same as the old iPad lineup so you've lost nothing by holding out.
Alternatively, you could pick up an existing iPad 1 from Apple for $100 less than the sticker price, which offers a remarkable saving. Or you could pick up a secondhand iPad - there's plenty of them out there, but remember that you have no idea what you're getting.
Alternatively, you could take a look at the competition. In my mind much of the competition don't compare well to the iPad (especially on price), but perhaps a Motorola Xoom or an HP TouchPad might be better suited to your tablet needs. If you've waited this long, you might find it beneficial to do a little shopping around.
Note: For existing iPad owners who've bought iPad apps switching to a non-Apple tablet will mean buying new apps, so for most this isn't a viable option.
What am I doing? I'm an iPad 1 owner and find it very useful for both content creation and consumption (whoever said the iPad was only for content consumption was an idiot), but right now I don't see myself upgrading to the iPad 2. The only part of the iPad 2 that interests me is the camera which I might use for FaceTime or Skype, but the truth is that my iPhone 4 is never that far away from me, so I doubt that it would get much usage.
What do you think?