Tomorrow, the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display go on sale online and at Apple Stores around the world. Both are amazing feats of design and engineering. The iPad Air is amazingly thin, losing the heft that made (in my opinion) the iPad 3 and iPad 4 less desirable than the iPad 2 even though the latter has a much inferior display and camera. And fans of the original iPad Mini are positively ecstatic about finally having a Retina Display.
You may be one of the thousands standing in line to purchase one. But I won’t.
Last week, Lance Whitney published reasons similar to mine (see related CNET article, Why I won’t buy this year’s iPad). I currently use a 2011 iPad 2 with 16 GB and Wi-Fi. The iPad 2 runs the latest iOS 7 and is good enough for Apple to continue selling, therefore it’s good enough for me to continue using. It’s positioned at the same price point as a new 2013 iPad Mini with Retina Display.
My iPad is the only one in our home, so it frequently resembles the Coke bottle in The Gods Must Be Crazy. My wife, two daughters, and son each have their own reasons for wanting to borrow it at any given moment. The new iPad Touch with its 64-bit A7 processor is five times faster than my iPad 2 with an A5 processor. I’d certainly love to have a second iPad in the house for sharing, but here are three reasons why I’ll wait.
First, the new iPads omit the new Touch ID sensor recently introduced on the iPhone 5s. Whether omitted due to supply or pricing constraints, it seems plausible to me that Apple could pull the “iPad 3 maneuver”. Just as the iPad 3 was pulled from the market in just six short months and replaced with the much better iPad 4, Apple may replace the models announced last week with nearly identical ones sporting the missing fingerprint sensor.
Second, the internal storage for base models is still a pathetic 16 GB. Apple does not break out sales numbers for individual iPad models, but I’ll bet that more iPad buyers are choosing 32 and 64 GB models, particularly those who have already owned a 16 GB tablet. I’d have a lot more additional storage on my iPad 2 if I could move my children’s games and educational apps to a second tablet. But I really want 32 GB or maybe even 64 GB- just not at today’s prices. Apple practically has the tablet market all to themselves and has no competitive incentive to boost storage. They can delay bumping the low-end models to 32 GB. But I will delay the purchase of a second iPad because of it.
Third, there isn’t any business intelligence software that demands a newer tablet. SAP’s mobile BI apps don’t have any features that require a Retina Display or a faster processor.
Because the second-generation iPad will still be sold alongside the fifth-generation, I’m a bit surprised that Apple didn’t spend the effort to redesign it with a Lightning connector instead of the old 30-pin connector. Which probably means that the iPad 2 will finally disappear whenever the next model refresh occurs (see related article, Apple Retires the iPad 2). I’m not surprised that the original iPad Mini is still in the lineup. Although Apple currently owns the education tablet market (see related CNET article, Apple CEO: We’ve locked up 94% of education tablet market), I doubt they want to give any incentives for schools to look at lower priced Android or Microsoft tablets. I predict Apple will continue to produce non-Retina models in both sizes for the foreseeable future.
I will be keeping an eye on the refurbished department of the online Apple Store. I may yet be tempted to get an inexpensive refurbished iPad Mini just to have two tablets in the house. But for now, I can live without Apple’s latest glass rectangle (see related article, I Can Live Without Apple’s Latest Glass Rectangle). But I’ll be eagerly waiting until September 2014 to check out Apple’s newest tablet offerings.
Will you purchase a new 2013 iPad Mini or iPad Air?