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5 Things New iPad Owners Need to Know

by Adriana Lee | March 16, 2012March 16, 2012 12:45 pm PDT

Are you a new owner of an iPad? Well, if it’s an iPad 2, then please heed this warning: Do not — I repeat — DO NOT look at the third-generation iPad’s Retina Display. This is for your own good. It will hurt to see how much better it is. If the tablet in your hands is the latest “new iPad,” however, gaze away. This Retina Display is one of the few things in life that actually lives up to the hype.

As for what follows during the course of your new iPad ownership, there are a few things to be aware of:

(1) You’ll be torn between protecting that screen and preserving the visual clarity of that Retina Display. There are so-called HD screen protectors out on the market, and to be honest, they’re actually pretty good. But no matter how good, it is still an extra layer of plastic between you and the naked beauty of that screen. And if it’s doing its job, there could even be little dings and scratches on it, further impeding the view. Of course, that’s better than the damage being on the display itself, but it presents a dilemma — you’re paying for the industry’s very best tablet display to date. Slapping a film over it, while practical, also feels a little tragic. Be prepared to be torn. (And if you’re going naked with it, be prepared to wipe that sucker down constantly.)

(2) No matter what your LTE data allotment is, it won’t be enough. Some of the apps optimized for the Retina Display could get super-sized and, depending on the application, they could also require more data throughput. Take HD videos, for instance — they’ll look superb on this screen, but streaming or downloading them could blow your data caps to smithereens. And that nifty hotspot feature? Good luck using it with other devices AND your tablet without making your wallet weep. If you have regular access to secure networks, then Wifi should always be your first choice.

(3) The new iPad’s battery is a beast… and you should still go offline whenever possible. The new iPad offers a 45W battery, which trumps the last gen’s 25W. This is stellar, since it dishes up enough juice to handle LTE and the Retina Display without a loss in battery life. But charging it back up also takes longer than the previous version, so why not spare yourself some time? If you’re doing something that doesn’t require a connection, like reading an eBook or playing an offline game, shut off the wireless to eek out more life between charges.

(4) You can’t FaceTime over LTE. Yep, just like little brother iPhone 4S, you won’t be able to FaceTime over cellular. (However, if you or your spouse/best friend/significant other has an LTE iPad with the hotspot, one can tether to the other to make Apple’s vid chat possible. It’s a crazy, impractical workaround, but it works.) So, FYI: If you’re flying solo with a single tablet, don’t schedule any FaceTime calls when you’ll be on the move… unless you enjoy standing people up.

(5) Caution: You might turn into an iPad photographer or filmmaker. The new iPad’s rear 5MP camera is much, much better in every way than the previous version, and the image stabilization for the 1080p video camera is incredibly welcome. This could inspire you to do some more shooting — except that, if you’re ham-handed, the thought of running around with a sleek tablet in your mitts can give you the cold sweats. No one wants to drop a big, thin, expensive gadget, so if you even think you might take snaps or video with this, save yourself the anxiety: Get a case — ideally one with some grip, an integrated handle or, if you’re serious about it, an attachment for an actual tripod.

Did you get an iPad today? Which one? Chime in for the roll call, and let us know what you think of it so far.


Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...

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