Why I’m Not Buying the New iPad

After the new iPad was announced just a short while ago, I had essentially decided that—like so many other Apple enthusiasts—I’d be buying one. I’ve changed my mind and here’s why.

When the iPhone 4 came out, it was a complete redesign of the iPhone. It had the Retina Display, a much better camera, faster guts, the whole nine yards. When the 4S came out, it had an even better camera than the iPhone 4, the ability to shoot true HD video and, of course, Siri. With both of these models, I was excited and willing to upgrade because both of them represented dramatic improvements over their predecessors that would appreciably improve how I used and interacted with the device.

For me, the new iPad doesn’t include any such “must-have” features.

Of course, I’m excited to get my hands on one and see how the Retina Display looks and I’m sure it’s a total screamer in just about every respect over the iPad 2 (which I’m using to compose this post, coincidentally), but those two features simply aren’t enough to get me to abandon my current iPad. At least, not yet.

There’s an entire movement surrounding the idea of “last year’s model”; the basic gist is that just because a new device arrives on the market doesn’t automatically mean you should buy it. The thing you’re currently using, while no longer the newest/fastest/whateverest option available, is probably just fine and maybe you should save your money. (There’s also a whole environmental angle to it dealing with waste and such, but that doesn’t really resonate with me because I’m an entitled white American male or whatever). But, I think they have a point.

For me, my iPad 2 has settled into a fairly narrow set of uses: writing, (very) casual gaming, light task management and reading. While there may be a persuasive argument to be made for the new iPad being a damn sight better at one or more of those things than my antiquated iPad 2, I simply don’t find such an argument compelling enough to get me to part with several hundred dollars. Yet.

The X factor, of course, is if/when apps I use frequently begin being optimized for faster hardware or a higher-resolution screen that I don’t currently own and, subsequently, begin to perform poorly on my iPad 2. I don’t see that being a big problem since I can’t really imagine many of the apps I use “growing” into such requirements, but it’s still a possibility. But, that’s not an immediate concern since all of my apps run just fine.

Among the nerdier set of people who enthusiastically purchase new gadgets with much greater frequency than regular people, it’s easy to fall into the habit of buying the new one each year. Hell, that’s what we do, right? We write about Apple on the Internet! Of course we’re buying the new [phone/tablet/whatever]!

It’s the reflexiveness that I don’t like.

That said, I’m all in favor of people making such purchases when they have the means and it truly is a function of their livelihood. For me, though, it’s not. The iPad 2 is a tool, and one that I use a good bit. But I need to remind myself that:

  • This particular bit of tech cost me over $700.
  • I paid said monies to Apple less than a year ago.

I think there a few miles left on my iPad 2. And, just as a CYA measure, I will say that it’s entirely possible that I’ll take one look at the new iPad and forget all this malarky and plop down my money on the spot. But, I’m going to try my best to evaluate this decision like a freaking adult and not just slide my credit card because that’s what I’ve trained myself to do.