We Gave People an iPad 2, Told Them It Was the New iPad, and They Loved It

Apple's advertising onslaught is already battering down doors and TVs around the nation—you're gonna upgrade to a new iPad whether you like it or not. But based on our little test, most people can't tell the difference anyway.


We figured that if we—enormous nerds who fixate on pixel density—were underwhelmed by the screen, then what about non-gadget geeks? We rounded some coworkers and handed them a "new iPad." The "new iPad" was an iPad 2. They loved the new iPad.

Apple doesn't even need to try anymore.


Rodney McKay

It seems to me that the many, many folks who complain about incremental upgrades are confused on the concept. No one is saying that you must upgrade each year when a new model comes out. Most products worth buying in the first place are good enough to be worth keeping for a few years. But does that mean that Apple and other manufacturers should only introduce new models every two or three years (and then, make each a dramatic improvement)? There are new purchasers all the time and they're an appropriate target for evolutionary changes, along with folks who haven't upgraded for a few cycles. Last year's buyers still have a good, almost-current product, and that should be fine for everyone.

Wouldn't it be far more annoying if manufacturers released vastly improved models each year, making obsolete the one you bought so recently because no new software could run on it? And, leaving it with no resale value if you do want to upgrade?

In any case, products like the iPad that already push the envelope on tradeoffs among size, weight, speed, battery life, cost and so on are constrained much more by physics and manufacturing realities than by Apple's imagination. Fundamental technologies like batteries and LCD displays are mature and improve relatively slowly. Product engineers aren't magicians.

In my opinion, the iPhone 4S and the new iPad are both reasonable, practical improvements on the previous models, especially considering that the price points haven't changed. I happily bought both, having skipped the previous iterations of each.