Unfortunately, I still haven’t had the chance to review the actual iPad event (it is already available for streaming). We are in the last days of school before our Spring Break (which will actually be a Spring Break here in Minnesota where we’ll be seeing temperatures in the 60s and 70s over the next week–March is often one of our months with the most snow!). We’re also at the end of a trimester, so we have designated testing days. As a result, I was not able to watch very much of the iPad news as it rolled along. I think I’ve caught up with most of the news, and here are some of my initial reactions:
- New iPad. Retina display, better cameras, faster processors, slightly thicker, LTE (4G) available if you want it, at the same price points as the previous generation. Yes, I’ll get one, but I’ll do so when they are available at Target (I have some connections). That might be a couple of months, and that is okay because most of the apps I use won’t be taking advantage of the retina display or power for a little while. The new iPad also has Bluetooth 4.0, when those low-power devices become available. If I don’t have a new iPad by May, I would be surprised.
- Apple Care + for the iPad: basically, $99 for two years, and $49 for each of two replacements for an iPad should something happen to your device. IT DOES. My iPad dropped in my Zaggfolio case in January, while I was at our school “fair” for incoming 8th grade students. My iPad 2 has a dent on one corner. It’s still useable, but the Apple Care + would have covered that. I didn’t know if the old Apple Care was worth it, but if you’re buying a $500 to $700 device, think about it.
- iPad 2: Still around, now $100 (or more cheaper) less than it was. Entry level price: $399 (You can buy a refurbished unit from Apple for $349). The iPad 2 is still a fantastic device. Many people bought Kindle Fires because they thought $500 was too much for an iPad, or bought a $399 Android Tablet. Maybe a $399 iPad hits closer to the mark for those people? I have nothing wrong with Kindles or Nooks…just don’t try to sell me on the idea that they are equivalent to an iPad, because they are not.
- Apple TV: It’s a great device, only better now at 1080p, and it is $99. I was a little disappointed that Apple didn’t include a Thunderbolt port so you could use either HDMI or VGA (better for schools). I’m starting to think that a Mac Mini with Reflection installed might be a better option for schools. I need to think that process through a bit further before I recommend this as a course of action.
- iOS 5.1. Go get it now. Remember: you can update from your device without having to connect it to a computer.
- GarageBand: It has string sounds now; and you can have a jam session with others over wi-fi. I often experience some lag with GarageBand’s audio over wi-fi (wireless mirroring).
- iPhoto: If you use PhotoStream like I do, the ability to delete those pictures is worth the $4.99 alone. I bought the app and haven’t had the chance to interact with it very much.
- Configurator: A new app to configure devices for business or education. I expect to see a post by Fraser Speirs about this app sometime soon.
- iBooks, Keynote, Pages, iMovie, etc.: All of the iWork suite for the iPad have been improved for the new iPad’s display and more features have been added. From first glance, it appears that annotation has not been added to Keynote (a pressing need for education). I was looking through the iPad tutorial today, and there are a number of features that can be used to animate objects as on a SMART Board (actually, individual animations on SMART Notebook have been disappointing in my opinion). Take a look at the “how to” in Keynote for more information.
- Most of these apps continue to work on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPad, and iPad 2.
In summary, it’s a big day of improvements for users of iDevices. If you have an iPad (original), it might be a good time to update. If you have an iPad 2, you may not need to update. My wife and I both have the iPhone 4, and chose not to update to the iPhone 4S. Although my iPhone is going on two years of use, it does not feel slow and I’m not in dire need of the improvements (although they would be nice). We will, however, be purchasers of the next iPhone. You may find the same to be true with your iPad 2. If you want to get into the world of iPad, a $349 iPad 2 might be the right solution.
I wonder which device schools will go with?