April 4, 2012

∴ Two Years Old and No Need To Replace

The original iPad made its debut about two years ago. Introduced in January, 2010 and delivered in April, it was a fresh start after a long, uninspiring line of tablet computers from a variety of manufacturers. But because Apple took the time to re-think the way a tablet might be used, indeed, took the time to tell the rest of the world how tablet computers would be used, it stuck this time.

My wife gifted me a first-generation iPad later that year. I was surprised not only because I’m usually the one who buys our electronics, but also because I’d had no plans to get one for myself. I hadn’t been able to make a use case to justify the expense. I was too glued to my laptop.

Over the year and a half I’ve owned it, though, my iPad has developed its own use case. I moved from reading paper books to ebooks, and my two-decade Wired subscription made the jump as well. And then came comics. I hadn’t much interest in them when I was younger, but I’d wanted to read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series after greatly enjoying his novel Neverwhere. The Comixology app for iPad made finding and owning them easy. Remote access to my collection of machines, lighter travel and less upkeep were nice bonuses, too.

Apple delivered the third-generation iPad last month.

People have asked me whether I’ll trade up from my original iPad, but two years and two models later I’m in the same place I was before Kelly handed me the box from Apple. I can’t think of a use case for a device that’s essentially the same as what I already own and enjoy.

I’ve read Gruber’s review, and The Verge’s and Ars Technica’s. I’ve listened to the usual suspects on 5by5 admire the new iPad’s features. Its retina display sure looks great, and a faster processor would be welcome. LTE networking is nice, although my iPad spends much of its life in my home, saturated in WiFi-N.

Stepping back I see that the new iPad doesn’t do anything my old (hah) iPad does, it simply does it all faster. And prettier. And lighter, too. But that only makes a good case for enjoying what I have, rather than lusting after the latest update. As terrific as the new iPad is, it’s only an update.

Though a new toy is always welcome, the new iPad won’t be appearing on my doorstep anytime soon.

I suspect I’ll keep enjoying my first-generation iPad until Apple no longer supports it with iOS updates. That day is coming, maybe as soon iOS 6 debuts later this year. Then I’ll have a choice to make … how much do I want whatever new features are in that new operating system vs. how well does my original iPad get the job done.

Until then, though, I’ll stick with what I’ve got. I like my gadget just fine. And I think that’s what Apple was shooting for, anyway.