Will you buy the new iPad?

I just gotta ask. Apple launched the "new iPad" yesterday, with unexpected branding. It's not "3" or "HD", as rumored, just "new". Preorders started less than 24 hours ago, with the tablet coming to stores (or by FedEx to your home or office) on March 16th or 23rd, depending on where you live. Will you buy? Or perhaps you preordered already?

The new iPad's compelling feature is the high-resolution display, which is 2048 x 1536. That is better than 1080p HD (1900 x 1080). The models with cellular radios offer either faster HSPA+ or 4G LTE -- the latter of which won't be available from all carriers in all markets. Pricing is unchanged, as I expected. Apple typically offers more rather than sells for less. It's tradition. Prices range from $499 to $829. Is that low enough for you? Are the features compelling enough?

Please answer in comments, also explaining why or why not you will buy the new iPad. To help with the process, I've collected some specs and offer some for two other HSPA+/LTE tablets. iPad's big advantage over the Android competition is commitment. You will be asked to make one -- up to 24-months of data service. None is required with iPad. The 4G radio is there, but the user chooses to buy service rather than is compelled to.

So for example: The Motorola XYBOARD 10.1 is, except for display resolution and roaming radios, reasonably comparable to the new iPad. Verizon sells the 16GB model for $529.99 and the same capacity iPad for $629. However, Verizon requires a 24-month data contract for the Android tablet. Assuming the $30 month/2GB plan, that adds $720 to the price and makes upgrading to a newer tablet harder later (since you're locked into the contract).

Thirteen months ago, I posted: "The real reason Android tablets don't stand a chance against iPad -- onerous monthly data fees". Nothing has changed, other than carriers and competitors learning little from their mistakes.

I followed up in December with "Cellular data contracts doom Android tablets", based on stunning research conducted by NPD showing a spike in the percentage of consumers buying WiFi-only tablets. One major reason: Onerous data contracts. Another: Many buyers don't perceive the advantage of having a cellular radio. That makes Apple's way -- of offering 3G or 4G radio with optional data plan -- more sensible.

But, of course, WiFi-only Androids are available contract-free, and that's perhaps where comparisons might prove most interesting.

Three Tablets Compared

iPad: A5X dual-core processor (clockspeed not given by Apple); 9.7-inch LED display with 2048 x 1536 resolution; 1GB (unconfirmed) RAM; 16GB, 32GB or 64GB internal memory; 5-megapixel camera; 1080p video recording and playback; accelerometer; ambient light sensor; compass; gyroscope; GPS; Bluetooth 4.0; WiFi A/N; HSPA+, 4G LTE (on some models); 11,666 mAh battery (unconfirmed); iOS 5.1. Dimensions and weight: 7.31 x 9.5 x .37 inches and 1.44 pounds (1.46 pounds with 4G radio).

Pricing: 16GB WiFi, $499; 32GB WiFi, $599; 16GB WiFi and 4G, $629; 64GB WiFi, $699; 32GB WiFi and 4G, $729; 64GB WiFi and 4G, $829.

Motorola Droid XYBOARD 10.1: 1.2GHz dual-core processor; 10.1-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution; 1GB of RAM; 16GB, 32GB or 64GB internal memory; 5-megapixel back-facing and 1.3-megapixel front-facing cameras; 720p video recording; 1080p video playback; HDMI and USB 2.0 ports; stylus; accelerometer; barometer; gyroscope; GPS; WiFi A/N; Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; 4G LTE; 7,000 mAh battery; Android 3.2 (Honeycomb). Dimensions and weight: 6.8 x 9.9 x 0.34 inches and 1.3 pounds.

Pricing, with WiFi and LTE, from Verizon: 16GB, 32GB or 64GB -- $529.99, $629.99 and $729.99, respectively. Without 2-year contract commitment: $699.99, $799.99 and $899.99, respectively.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2: 1 GHz dual-core processor; 10.1-inch WXGA display with 1280 x 800 resolution; 1GB RAM; 16GB or 32GB storage; microSD slot (up to 32GB additional storage); 3-megapixel rear-facing and VGA front-facing cameras; accelerometer; barometer; gyroscope; GPS; WiFi A/N; Bluetooth 3; WiFi and HSPA+ (on some models); 7,000 mAh battery; Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Dimensions and weight: 6.9 x 10.1 x .38 inches and 1.4 pounds.

Pricing: To be announced.

Readers React

Some of you already have expressed strong, negative reaction in comments (not exactly unusual from the BetaNews community). I struggled to find one positive comment about the new iPad. Ah, that can't be good.

"This new iPad is completely underwhelming", Duke2010 writes. "Apart from the high-res screen it's nothing special at all. I was expecting something exciting from Apple".

Cristian Dragos: "More powerful than a 4 year-old Mac, but pretty much useless in doing some productive work. Don't really understand why would you need such hardware power on a tablet? If it would run a full desktop OS which would be used when docking to a docking station and could be used to replace a PC, then the hardware power would mean something".

"Strange, I have no desire to upgrade my iPad", frankwick comments. "Does this make me a old? A dork? Immune to Apple hype? What's wrong with me?!?!?"

So, what about you? Will you buy the new iPad. Please answer in comments below and take our poll above.

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