Millions of Apple fans lined up for hours today at stores across the country to be among the first to purchase the company's new iPad, which went on sale at retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy. But there's only one problem: The product is simply not worth the hype or the money.
Despite the mass hysteria that surrounded the announcement of the new iPad last week, it is hardly different than the previous version. Over the past few months, tech enthusiasts speculated that the new product would boast a number of exciting features, such as Siri, the voice recognition software that has been so popular on the latest iPhone (see this full list of features the iPad doesn't have). There was also buzz on tech blogs for months about what the new product would be called, and it turns out, it's just the "new iPad."
The big improvements are a sharper display, a 5 megapixel camera and a faster processor. The new iPad screen has 3.1 million pixels, one million more than a 1080p high-definition screen of that size would. It features a 4G radio. And the buzz word is a high-pixel-count "retina display" previously only available for the iPhone.
But the price tag for these minor updates starts at $499, not including wireless service, accessories, etc. That's right, $500 dollars for a new display, and the majority of Americans could not even tell you the difference.
My point is not to bash the iPad or Apple. I bought an iPad 2 several months back and have found it to be a great product. It's certainly a luxury item (no need for an iPad when you have a smart phone and laptop), but it's a fun toy that often comes in handy (particularly when traveling).
Instead, I wish to highlight the absurdity that surrounds everything Apple. From TechCrunch and Mashable to Gizmodo and Computerworld, there's a hype industry which make every iPad and iPhone development seem like the greatest thing since sliced bread. To be sure, Apple has a skillful P.R. team which have not only built a powerful brand, but also figured out how to sell that brand at will. But the over-hype for the new iPad is stunning.
My message to the fans who slept overnight outside the flagship Apple Store on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, or the thousands who stood in a line which spanned around the corner, or the millions who are considering whether to spend on the new product: Save your money. There will be another new version of the iPad before you know it. If you have a smart phone and a laptop, you don't need this product.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons