Review: Why the new iPad doesn't merit a '3'

Hard to distinguish at first glance from an iPad 2, the new iPad's changes are welcome but subtle for business users

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Do note that this is network-based voice recognition; what you say is sent to a server for translation and the text sent back. If you're on a plane or otherwise don't have Internet connectivity, dictation is unavailable -- iOS even removes the microphone button from the onscreen keyboard. (Dragon also requires an Internet connection to function.)

The rest of the iPad you already know
Beyond these improvements, the new iPad is the old iPad. The apps you use -- Mail, Safari, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Photos, Maps, Videos, FaceTime, Camera, Music, and Notes -- are unchanged. That's OK for the most part. But Reminders could use an ability to sort tasks, and Calendar could benefit from more sophisticated repeating-events options. The beta of the forthcoming Mac OS X Mountain Lion has such updates, so there's hope that iOS will get these changes this summer or fall, perhaps with the next iPhone model. (Still, why make us wait?) And Mail could stand to add junk filtering and mail rules, especially if synchronized with Apple Mail or Outlook. The new iPad would have been a fine time to bring these advances as an iOS update.

The security, management, accessibility, and setup capabilities are the same as before, as is iCloud.

The new iPad reminded me how easy it is to add a new iOS device to your collection. After I turned the iPad on and began the setup process, the iPad asked if I wanted to restore from an existing iPad's backup in iTunes. After I did that, the new iPad had everything in place: The apps were in the same locations, all my configurations were in place, my bookmarks were in their groups -- even my browser windows had been remembered. All I had to do was reenter my passwords for my email accounts, iCloud account, Twitter accounts, iTunes home sharing, and the like. (For security reasons, iTunes and iCloud do not back up or restore your passwords.) Talk about easy!

The only frustration I had was with Verizon: To set up cellular service on the new iPad, I had to set up a new account, providing a different email address. In a multidevice world, Verizon really should figure out how to provide cell service to multiple devices from the same user account.

The new iPad is the best tablet, but iPad 2 owners need not upgrade
When all is said and done, the third-gen iPad is a better tablet than the iPad 2. But it's an evolutionary product, not revolutionary as the iPad 2 had been. That's OK. It's unrealistic for any company -- even Apple -- to reinvent its products annually. In fact, Apple's usual approach is to keep a product for three or four years and incrementally update it each year, then spring a major retooling on that third or fourth year. That's the pattern for Macs, iPods, and iPhones -- even OS X. And now the iPad.

Still, the iPad remains the best tablet available. The Android competition was significantly behind the iPad 2, and the third-gen iPad only expands the gap. And when you put the new iPad's screen next to another tablet, boy do you begin to notice those other devices' pixels.

I can only imagine what the real next-gen iPad will bring to the table in 2014.

This article, "Review: Why the new iPad doesn't deserve a '3'," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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