Saturday, March 10, 2012

Apple iPad 2 versus the Third Generation iPad

Apple now officially will have two different models of the iPad. For now you can still get the Apple iPad 2 in both WiFi only and 3G configurations, with storage options of 16, 32 and 64 GB, an the price is Php5,000 less than the newer iPad with the same storage. By the time the third generation iPad rolls, only the 16 GB versions of the iPad 2 will be available.

The iPad 2 starting at Php18,990, is Php5,000 cheaper than the Third Generation iPad which will be priced at Php23,990. The 3G models are selling for Php6,000 cheaper. Php5,000-6,000 is a fair amount of money and saving are always good. So? Should which iPad should you select? Is the iPad 2 worth the additional Php5,000-6000? 

Here are the key differences:

Display and graphics. The iPad 2 has a 1024 x 768 display while the Third Generation iPad has a 2046 x 1536 display. The new display has four times the pixel density on the iPad 2, and will give you a sharper and crisper image. There is one issue with this. The iPad 2 has a dual core PowerVR SGX543MP2 graphics processing unit, while the new Third Generation iPad quad core PowerVR SGX543MP4 GPU. 

While the Third Generation iPad has twice the graphics power, it also works four time as hard. In that sense the iPad 2 actually should actually be able to play 3D games faster, albiet at a lower screen resolution. However, we do expect developers to build around the Third Generation iPad, and so it should not matter.

Connectivity. The iPad 2 supports HSDPA 7.2 Mbps connectivity, while the Third Generation iPad supports HSDPA+ 21.1 Mbps connectivity and has an LTE version also. If you are buying a WiFi only device, this is irrelevant.

Cameras. I do not see the point of a camera on the back of a tablet. Smartphones make better cameras. But if you find it important, has a 0.72 MP camera, while the Third Generation iPad has a 5 MP camera. 
So which is a better buy?

Given that both the iPad 2 and the Third Generation iPad. still use the same dual core processor, the iPad 2 will not become obsolete any sooner than the Third Generation iPad. Any apps built for the Third Generation iPad will run on the iPad 2, but at a lower resolution. The Third Generation iPad will also have a bigger battery and more RAM than the iPad 2, but that is really to allow it to use 2046 x 1536 display and keep performance at the same level as the iPad 2.

The camera upgrade is irrelevant to me. But the faster connectivity is not. If you are buying the 3G or LTE version, I think the faster connectivity is worth the money. The HSDPA 7.2 Mbps standard was one year behind when the iPad 2 was released in 2011 (several devices in 2010 already supporting HSDPA 14.4 Mbps). Both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications rolled out HSDPA+ 21.1 Mbps networks. That alone is worth the Php5,000. If you are getting the 3G version, I think you should get the new Third Generation iPad.

If you are getting the WiFi only version, it boils down to the display. Personally, I am happy enough with the 1024 x 768 display of the iPad, but the 2046 x 1536 display will look much sharper. If you are getting the WiFi only version, my advice would be to wait until you can see both side-by-side at an Apple store and decide if the new display is worth the additional 5K.

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