It is now four and a half years since I first got an iPad. With my first one, it was love at first swipe and I used the device for two years solid – all day, every day. The iPad 2 did not seem to offer enough to make me upgrade, but, the iPad 3 with significantly improved performance and the wonderful retina display won me over. My old iPad went to my mother-in-law (who never wanted computer, so we did not tell her that this is just what an iPad is!), who has been happily using it ever since …
I was totally satisfied with the iPad 3. The clarity of the display was very pleasing and it was always very responsive. The only thing about it which occasionally irked me was the weight. Even though it was a fraction of the weight of a laptop, I found that if I needed to hold the device in my hands for an extended period, I would tire it. A common such situation was when giving a talk at a camera club, where, in a darkened room, the iPad was the perfect place for my notes.
The iPad 4 seemed like a non-event to me. The only new feature really was the change of power connector. Although I felt that the Lightning connector was a great improvement, it was not enough to make me upgrade. When the iPad Air was announced, I was very interested, but still could not quite justify the upgrade cost, given that the iPad 3 was still going strong.
Of course, Apple were going to break me eventually, and that is what they did when they announced the iPad Air 2 a few weeks back. More performance, less weight and the fingerprint unlocking facility swung the deal. I have been using my new toy for a couple of weeks now and I am really pleased with it. Just holding it in my hand is a pleasure, let alone using it and getting to grips with the delights of iOS 8.
Few things are perfect and I do have my gripes. My iPad 3 sported a dark red leather Smart Cover, which protected the device without detracting from its slick design. I really dislike the thick cases in which some people encarcerate their iPads. My cover had had become a bit “distressed”, as leather does, over the two years and I liked that. Sadly, Apple dropped the leather option for smart covers and, though the grey PVC one that I have now is nice, I wish I’d had the option to go for leather (Apple – are you listening?). They do a slim, enclosing leather case, but that wasn’t the same.
There were a couple of features predicted before Apple’s announcement, which did not appear. Some people said that the display would have such good anti-reflection that the device could be used in full sun. It may be improved, but I will not be using it on the beach anytime soon. I am hanging on to my Kindle! I rather hoped for split screen multi-tasking (like the Surface has), but I guess that might show up in an iOS update.
I have already found a good home for my trusty iPad 3. Now I have to think about upgrading my phone – if only to simplify my life with respect to chargers. But what should I get? I can have an iPhone 5S at no cost. But maybe I should go for the 6 or even the monster 6 plus … (Any advice would be welcome by comment or email.)