Ask Henry: Do I need a new iPad?

20:34, Feb 24 2013

Dear Henry.

I have an iPad that I was given when they launched. It still runs fine - the battery isn't as great as it was, but nothing too bad - and the screen is still bright. Most of my apps seem to run fine, some open quite slowly, and I haven't ran into anything that doesn't want to download yet, but I don't game on it or anything. It kind of feels like time for an upgrade, but I'm not sure, these things aren't cheap, should I?


Hi iPadder.

The original iPad is still a pretty great device -  but it doesn't get software updates any more. It's stuck on iOS5, while all further iPads have upgraded to iOS6. What does this mean? It means apps aren't really built with your system in mind. It means you aren't getting security updates any more. It means you aren't getting the bells and/or whistles that the newer iPad users - even only the iPad 2 - are receiving. So do you need a new one? Well, maybe.

iPads aren't really "need" devices, for most people at least. They are amazing, lovely things to have, but I'm guessing you could still go about your day without one - where your laptop or smartphone might prove indispensable. This makes an upgrade a little less needed.

If your iPad does everything you want it to right now, why upgrade? I know someone who uses their iPad purely to read the New York Times and their Kindle eBooks - a newer iPad retina - but they could do the same job fine on the original iPad. The planet doesn't need another thrown away iPad, and your wallet probably doesn't either, unless you have an actual reason to upgrade. I totally understand if the slowness gets to you - go for it - but don't fall into buying a new version simply because there is a new version.

Still, if you have the disposable income and you feel like some newer stuff, go for it. If you are hungering after that amazing retina screen - essentially an incredibly sharp display stuffed to the brim with pixels - then go for the newest iPad. If you just want a faster device that can run iOS6 (and thus every app), then get a new iPad 2 for a few hundred dollars less.

If you do decide to buy a newer one but like your current iPad currently, you might as well wait for another one to come out. Apple appears to be moving to a six month release cycle with iPads right now, so you shouldn't have to wait long (possibly March! Which is of course more like April in New Zealand.)


Essential Mums