First, let me start by discussing the way I typically use the iPad. I check email, listen to music, surf the web, look at photos, read books, magazines, news, and blog apps. I also watch the occasional video, check Twitter and Facebook, and check my calendar. The list grows as new apps appear.
Now here is my list of favorite new features (coming from the Original iPad):
1. The gorgeous screen - I have read a few reviews saying that there isn't much difference between the old and new iPad and I have to wonder if these people are just trying to get attention or whether they need an eye test. The screen is better for EVERYTHING! Do you use the iPad to read text? Email, Safari, Twitter, etc? There is a noticeable difference if all you do is read text. Do you use Photo Stream from Apple? Photos look better and editing is made easier with apps like iPhoto that are now available. It is also able to handle 1080p video rather than 720p.
2. Faster - I decided to launch Google Earth on the Original iPad and the new iPad. The speed of loading the app was not even close. It is A LOT faster than the Original iPad.
3. Cameras - While some are complaining about the front facing camera on the new iPad, some of us coming from the Original iPad are happy to have any camera, much less two.
The back camera is a 5 megapixel camera that is used for taking pictures or recording video. I have seen articles asking why anyone would want to take a picture with an iPad. It does seem kind of humorous, but keep in mind that the best camera is the one you have with you. In other words, if you are reading email on an iPad and something interesting happens, you can just fire off a picture or record a high def 1080p video without laying down the iPad and grabbing another camera. Moments in time don't often come back, so having something at the ready, in your hands, is a huge plus.
The front facing camera is a "VGA quality camera". For those confused by the description, it means that the front facing camera is not very good. Personally, I rarely use FaceTime and have never used Skype, so I could care less. However, I bet we will see a bump in quality with the next iPad. In any event, the Original iPad does not have any cameras, so even this one camera is better than nothing.
4. Airplay Mirroring - This is not available on the Original iPad (NOTE: I am not referring to jailbroken iPads in this article). This is an amazing creation that will send whatever is showing or playing on your iPad wirelessly to an AppleTV that is hooked up to your entertainment system.
5. 4G/LTE - For $130 more than the wireless only iPad, you can now get 4G/LTE from Verizon or AT&T in the USA. If you buy this option, you will then need to buy a cellular data plan that you can cancel and/or change at anytime.
I bought a Verizon model. It was a pretty easy choice. They have more coverage than AT&T including the area I live in. They also offer a hotspot with their plans. I have an iPhone with a (3G) hotspot feature on AT&T already. With two services, I should have cellular coverage in more areas.
I decided to go ahead and activate the service since I will be out of town a few days in the next month. I tried it out and it was very speedy. I did not run a speed test because I did not want to waste data. However, it was similar to my wireless setup at home.
6. Size - While some have complained that it is thicker and weighs more* than the iPad 2, it should be mentioned that it weighs less and is thinner than the Original iPad. I should also mention that I never had a problem with the 1.5 pound Original iPad. I am always surprised when I read grown men whining about the weight when my mother and my teenage niece have no problem with their Original iPads.
* The new iPad is .03 inches thicker and .11 pounds heavier than iPad2. Yes, grown men are complaining about this!
7. Battery - the battery life is about the same. However, the new iPad gets a little warmer. I have mine in a cheap pleather case (until we have more choices on the market) and I did not notice any heat until I pulled the iPad out of the case. Therefore, if you keep yours naked, you may notice it.
8. Hard drive space - The new iPad has the same GB sizes and prices as the past generations. Some are worried about the new display being a data hog, but I am not too worried. I use Zinio for most magazines subscriptions and you can delete old magazines if you need to. Amazon books has the same feature. They are available to restore at a later time if you choose to do so.
With iTunes Match, I now keep less music on my iOS devices. For $25 a year, they "match" your music and make a 256kbps AAC DRM free file available on their servers. I have over 20,000 music files ripped from CDs and this makes everything available all the time. When you play the file, it will automatically download it to the iPad. You can then delete it later if you need the space.
I also subscribe to MOG and Jazzradio which fills most of my other music needs. MOG will store a local copy or just stream music from their server.
Photos - with Photo Stream, you can now store 1000 of your most recent photos in the cloud. Photos you take with your iPhone or iPad will appear in your Photo Stream. Also, photos you take with another camera can be saved to the iPad using the camera connection kit and those photos will also be saved to your iCloud based Photo Stream. If you have a Mac, you can have it store those photos locally. This eliminates a need for having tons of photos on your iPad all the time.
Video - I will use most of my space for apps and video. The new iPad can store 1080p, but nothing says you have to use the highest uncompressed bitrate for all your files.
If you have to have massive hard drive space on the go, you can get a terabyte "HyperDrive" for $399 (it is also available with less space for less money). It connects to the camera connector kit and your iPad.
9. Voice "Dictation" - No Siri for the new iPad. I am not surprised since people are claiming to have issues with Siri (which is still in beta) in large cities. If the servers are crashing with the current traffic, I would imagine that Apple doesn't want to make the situation worse. The good part is that they added Dictation which works with Apple's apps and third party apps. It allows you just to say what you want to write.
I would not be surprised to see Siri added as a software at some point in the future once they get the kinks out, but I am not guaranteeing it.
Finally, I am one of the many people that do not update Apple products every year. When I bought the Original iPad, the only thing I wanted was a better display. They added it and many other things to make it a worthwhile upgrade. Personally, if I bought an iPad2 last year, I would sell it and buy the new iPad. The display is a huge part of the overall experience, so having 4x more pixels is a huge improvement. Of course, people have to decide what is best for their wants/needs, but hopefully this blog will give them the information to help make that choice.