The iPad has become a basic part of my life. The ability to be on the Internet on the couch, in a parking lot in front of Marshalls, or driving down the street getting audible turn-by-turn navigation while driving is hard for me to overemphasize—but I will try. If I did not have it I would die. It is the only thing in my life that is working. I must buy the latest model, no matter what.
Er, um, not so much.
While the iPad has filled a niche I did not know even existed, the latest and greatest model is not really that much better than the last model. My transition from the iPad to the iPad 3 (technically they called it the new iPad) was not what I expected. I followed my usual iDevice procedure and skipped the iPad 2 and bought an iPad 3. The screen was better, but not that much better. On web pages it really does not matter. If I was watching a movie on my iPad, maybe the improved screen resolution is better. But I do not watch movies on my iPad. If I happen to do that, I push a button and the movie is instead played on my TV.
The original iPad actually had better Wi-fi reception than the new one—one of those couches in my house I mentioned earlier is not a good choice for iPad usage—poor signal. The old iPad in the same spot works fine. The original iPad's battery life was superior. You had to power that snazzy new screen somehow. For me from the iPad to the iPad3 battery life dropped from 9 hours (a little short of the promised 10) to 8 hours. The old iPad's battery life has now dropped to 7. This is normal as the battery ages. But that is not a problem, I just pop open the back and put in a new battery ... oh, wait, you cannot do that. None of the iPads have user accessible parts. While the stated rationale for this is to make the iPad look cool and thin (and to be fair, it is cool and thin), its real reason is to reduce the product cycle so you have to buy a new one—now with the A7 chip!
I am not saying not to buy one. If you do, you will be surprised how much you use it. It is an essential part of modern travel. In fact I use it so much that I no longer need—no, that is not right…I never needed one—no longer want an iPhone. But while I am not saying not to buy one, I am saying not to buy the newest and latest as long as the one you have works. Do not buy into the Babylon mindset. The one who dies with the most toys does not "win." In fact there is a good chance they "lost." Since Apple products have a good life span (I booted up a "fat" Mac from the 80's a few years ago and it still worked), my next iPad will not be a 4, nor a 5. There is no need.
On Friday I talk about my next computer. Tomorrow I have a music video, Leonard Cohen Meets the Man From Uncle. In the meantime here is some Kool Aid—Steve Jobs hype.