The New iPad: Game Changer

Derek Ouellette —  April 4, 2012

Apple said the iPad I ordered should arrive sometime between April 11-17. So you can imagine my pleasant surprise when it arrived at my door March 30. I’ve been a bit of an iPad watcher since Christmas. Almost every day I hopped online (at least twice) to see what new rumours were surfacing about the new iPad. I was so confident in what to expect that, as it turned out, I was dead on with one exception: I believed the new iPad was going to have Siri. Oh well, it has dictation which is like half of Siri. The only other (minor) disappointment is that they simply named the new iPad, “iPad” (or “new iPad” or sometimes, “iPad 3rd Gen). Everybody kind of expected it to be called “the iPad 3”.

This is my first tablet. Sort of. My brother has one of those Blackberry Playbooks, and it’s alright. For Christmas I got my wife one of those new LePan tablets that everybody was saying was as good as the iPad, only cheaper. We learned the hard way that you get what you pay for. The screen went all glitchy within two weeks. We sent it back for a refund. That is when I became an “iPad watcher”. I was waiting for the iPad 3 (oops, the “new” iPad) to come out so that I could get my wife an iPad 2 at a reduced price to replace the LePan. So I’ve played around with a LePan and I often toyed with the display models of those other tablets at FutureShop and BestBuy (Samsung, Asus, Acer, Toshiba, et cetera). But I’ve never even held the 1st gen. iPad. So my wife’s iPad 2 (which came in two weeks before mine) was the first iPad that I really get to play with.

First: the iPad vs. well, those other tablets. There really is no comparison. You get what you pay for, and the iPad truly is a premium devise. There is no discernible delay when swiping from one screen to another or when opening and closing apps. And the iPad’s gestures that Apple is quickly becoming famous for is simply to die for. The whole experience, from its look to its feel to its capabilities to its apps, there truly is nothing else like it.

Next: the “new” iPad vs. the iPad 2. I got to play with my wife’s iPad 2 for two whole weeks before my iPad (3) arrived. They say the iPad 3 is faster when playing video games (A5x chip). Well, I’m not a gamer, so I haven’t experienced that yet. If it’s faster when opening and closing apps, the difference is nearly indiscernible. It’s internet is faster if you have the 4G model (which I do),  but I hardly ever use it because 1) most places have wifi, 2) my Palm Pre can double as a hot spot (when it wants to apparently – grrr.) and 3) with the iPad’s 4G LTE it eats up data like a hungry, hungry hippo. Then there’s the new screen (a.k.a. the “retina display”). I’m not a particularly fussy guy in this area, but I have to say, I love just looking at the display of my iPad. It’s so beautiful. And yes, it’s nice when you do things like watch movies in HD or read ebooks. But it seems the digital world is not prepared for a retina display. Many websites don’t look any more clearer than if you were to use your iPad 2, and the same goes with apps. And while watching movies in HD is an incredible experience, you’re also paying more for them. In short, the new iPad is better than the iPad 2, but if you have an iPad 2, I don’t think you need to buy a new iPad. But if you’ve never owned a tablet (like me), than yah, go get one. Or better yet (if you’re on a tight budget like we are) just buy an iPad 2 to get the same great experience at a fraction of the cost (though with only 16GB, you’ll have to back things up to your computer regularly to keep space on you iPad 2).

A Game Changer:

My iPad doesn’t replace my computer, but it’s certainly a game changer. More often than not I’m simply to lazy to pull out my MacBook Pro if I don’t need to, when the iPad is in reach. Which it always is.

Here are a few ways the iPad has already changed the way I do things:

1) How I Preach: Incidentally, my new iPad arrived in the mail on the Friday before I was to preach. I told my wife I wasn’t going to use it at the pulpit until I got more used to it. But Saturday night I felt led to make certain last minute changes to the notes for my message – significant changes. With no printer handy I simply sent my document to “Pages” on my iPad and preached from it on Sunday. It worked like a charm. In the future I may even “mirror” it so that what I see the congregation will see on a screen, allowing me to illustrate points visually.

2) Organization: I’m a very disorganized person. I’ve never been able to keep an agenda, never even in high school when we were docked marks if we didn’t keep our agenda’s up to date. I thought I would start keeping agendas when I got into computers, but it never happened. Then I thought for sure I would be able to keep an agenda when got my smart phone. Nope. But now I found myself actively updating my Calendar on my iPad. I’m not sure why the change, but I suspect it has something to do with how much I love the whole iPad experience.

3) Books: I may be going through a change of opinion about ebooks. The first (and only) ebook I ever read was Scot McKnight’s Junia is not Alone. I read it from my computer since I didn’t have an iPad or reader at the time. It really felt no different than reading a really long blog article. In short, it cheapened the whole book reading experience for me. I also believed nothing could replace the sensation of holding a tangible book in my hands. Those are fair points. But I’m reading my first book on my iPad – Thomas Cahill’s Desire of the Everlasting Hills – and I’m beginning to appreciate some counter-points.

1) I can have my library with me wherever I go. This matters to me more, all of a sudden, than it did two or three weeks ago. With our impending move, the idea of having my books stored in a reader looks more appealing all of the time.

2) Quick access. Ideally, my book cases would surround my desk for quick and ready access to what I’ve read and where I’ve highlighted or marked a book for when I write blog articles and prepare sermons. But then I have to remember what I read in which book and then take the time to fan through and find those pesky marks that I made. With iBooks, any mark or highlight or note I make are easily accessed from the “contents” page  under the “notes” table. In that table I see a list of notes and highlights I made and just by clicking on the one I’m looking for it takes me right to the page. Amazing time saver.

3) Speed. I don’t have to wait for a book to arrive in the mail. When it’s released I simply click, download and read. I should emphasize that I don’t really feel like I am losing the kind of book reading experience that I thought I would lose. But it is easier to sit up in bed with my iPad and read, than with a clunky book. And I can still highlight and make notes.

4). Definitions and more. Yes, this is great. Especially for someone like me who often has to infer what a word means because I’m too lazy to go and look it up. Now, as I read a book, if I come across a word I don’t know I simply press it with my finger and the following options come up: “define” “highlight” “note” “Search”. Very convenient.

What about it’s con’s?

There have been two big complaints people have made about the new iPad: 1) it heats up, 2) it’s battery takes forever to charge. Well, I can tell you that neither of those complaints have been an issue for me. I use my iPad so much, almost non-stop, and the back still feels cold to the touch, or, sometimes, mildly warm. But it has yet to be hot. You want hot, buy a Palm Pre. Sometimes I have to remove my Pre from my pocket because I feel like it’s burning my skin. And as a rule of thumb I try to keep all of my devices plugged in as much as possible. Having said that, the other night I watched a movie with my iPad, then I spent some time surfing the web, watching YouTube, reading Facebook and finally reading a book with it. Then it put it on my bed stand. The next morning I sat up and played around on it for awhile  and it was only down to something like 94% batter life (all of that without plugging it in). Compare that, again, to my Palm Pre smartphone. If I unplug it at 9am, fully charged, and don’t even use it, it’s dead by 2 in the afternoon. The battery of my iPad is a non-issue for me. It’s great.

People around me want to know why I am so crazy about the iPad. That’s okay, I didn’t see what the big deal was a year ago either. It’s like, when you drive a pinto in a city full of pinto’s, and your pinto has A/C and a red paint job, you’re happy and content that you have something good going on. But then you are told about this car called a rolls-royce, but without experiencing it you think, “what’s the big deal, my pinto works fine.” For people who don’t understand why I’m so crazy about the iPad, it’s because they’ve gotten so used to driving pinto’s in a pinto world that the only way for them to understand, is to get into a rolls-royce and take it for a spin.

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.