iPad or iPad 2: Which One Should You Buy?

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The New: iPad 2

With the introduction of the new iPad 2, Apple changed things again: put simply, it’s thinner, lighter and faster; adds two cameras, and an assortment of new features included in the latest version of the operating system. Like many of Apple’s products, the new version is priced at the same price point as the previous version: starting at $499. Most visible of the new features would be FaceTime, which utilizes the two built-in cameras to enable live video calls between other iPad 2, iPhone 4, or even Mac users over a Wi-Fi connection. With the camera on the front facing you, you can show yourself – and with the camera on the back, you can show others what you are seeing: for example, showing an out-of-state Grandma the new baby.

For many people, this is the feature that seals the deal: with the beautiful large screen providing a crisp clear picture of your loved ones, what better way to stay in touch? Depending on what you like to do, the new iPad 2 also features an accelerometer, gyro, and compass that work together to know which way the iPad is facing and turning – for games and many apps, this means your iPad 2 can provide some wild new games that respond to your movements. If you’re lost, this not only shows you where you are on a map, it knows which direction you’re heading: if you’re one of those people that can’t read a map to save your life, your worries are over.

Like with any new product, there are definite improvements over the previous version. If you’re considering buying an iPad, the question now is if you need the new one, or will the “old” iPad be enough?

The Old: iPad (from way back in 2010)

During a test of the speed of the iPad 2, CNET UK found something quite interesting. When they first compared speed tests of the iPad and the iPad 2, they found that the iPad 2 was four times as fast as the original iPad. However, when they installed the new version of the iOS onto the original iPad, the speed difference was much less: Jason Jenkins reported: “Once we’d updated the software on our iPad 1, the gap between the two devices narrowed considerably, with the iPad 2 coming out at just 1.5x faster than the iPad 1.”

What exactly does that mean to you? Well, if you don’t care about the cameras or the enhanced gaming abilities of the new iPad 2 – if you just want to surf the web and check email – the difference between the two models is not so great anymore. And with the reduced pricing, as well as even lower rates on refurbished and clearance iPads on Apple.com, you can get great value for your dollar – go to store.apple.com and scroll to the bottom, then click on “Refurbished iPad.” As always, it comes down to what you want. And if you don’t play fancy games either, then you should seriously consider taking this opportunity to buy an iPad at a greatly reduced price, while still getting the benefits of the latest software update. For many people, an original iPad is going to be a better and more cost-effective choice. Compare both models features and decide what’s most important to you. If you decide to go for the original, then pay close attention to the clearance section of Apple.com’s store or other resellers to find the best deals.

A Note About FaceTime

FaceTime is definitely a wow factor: being able to video chat with friends and family is amazing the first time you do it. While an amazing and cool feature, it won’t do you any good if you don’t know anyone who can FaceTime with you. Also, at the moment you can only do it while connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, not through the cell phone network. The Wi-Fi only limitation is due entirely to the cellular phone companies in the United States being unable to handle the huge amount of data that video conferencing would add to already over-taxed networks, but that will change in the near future. Considering that so many places offer free Wi-Fi, as well as how easy it is to set up your own Wi-Fi network at home, this isn’t that big of a drawback. On the plus side, with a Wi-Fi only iPad you don’t have to pay extra monthly fees to the cell phone company just to use these features.

Further Reading: iPad 2 Speed Test

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