Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 12:47 am.

Which New iPad?

New iPadSometimes Apple makes things simple. Sometimes it does not. There are many iPads to choose from today. More than yesterday.

I pre-ordered the 32 GB black wi-fi-only ‘iPad’ (third generation) today, and a new Apple TV (my first) to go along with it.

(Update 3/25: Today, I traded this iPad in for a 64 GB LTE version. More here.)

Why those?

  • 32 GB seems like the right tradeoff of storage for the money. My old iPad (first generation) was a 32 GB model. I’ve filled it all the way up, but I also think a lot of the stuff on there could be deleted. I’m not really going to watch all those Rick Steves episodes I ripped from DVD in one sitting.
  • I don’t think I need 4G LTE connectivity. My old iPad was a 3G model. I thought I’d use the 3G modem to stream Cubs baseball games at the gym, and stuff like that. Well, AT&T 3G was so lousy that I could barely load the audio stream, never mind the video. So I turned off the 3G subscription months ago and haven’t turned it back on since. (Also, my iPad mostly lives at home now, anyway.) If I need to tether it to my iPhone to get online somewhere, I can do that. Sure, 4G LTE is probably good enough to actually stream video. But I plan on having an LTE iPhone in a few months. And mostly, I doubt the Cubs will be good enough this year to demand constant attention.
  • The black border seems like it’ll make the screen look brighter by comparison. I don’t know why I’d want a white border to make the screen look darker by comparison. Maybe it’s not that big of a deal, but I’d rather not risk it. Also, I’m guessing the black border stays cleaner, longer?

If you want to spend less money, you can try the 16 GB iPad. You’ll probably have to delete stuff more often, especially video files. If money is no option, what the heck, go for the 64 GB / 4G LTE model.

Verizon or AT&T? That depends on your location, probably. I was going to buy a Verizon one before I talked myself out of getting the LTE model. The good news is that both the Verizon and AT&T units will fall back onto 3G, and can access 3G networks around the world. (All iPads are unlocked and can accept micro-SIM cards. And, for what it’s worth, AT&T’s 3G fall-back service is capable of faster maximum speeds than Verizon’s, if you’re in a good AT&T area.)

I don’t recommend buying an iPad 2 today unless you absolutely must not spend more than $399. The retina display on the new iPad is worth the extra $100 by itself.

Lastly, the Apple TV will replace my old Mac mini that’s been hooked up to my TV for a few years. I’m looking forward to watching Netflix without Silverlight and MLB/NBA streams without Flash. And to trying AirPlay videos and games.

Because my old (2005) “WinBook” brand HDTV doesn’t have an HDMI port, I ordered this $8 Amazon-brand HDMI-to-DVI cable. (I hope this doesn’t trip the HDCP cops, or I might have to buy a new TV sooner than later.) I’ll plug the Apple TV into my stereo receiver via an optical cable, which I have left over from some MiniDisc or DVD player from years past.

Also: 500 Days With The iPad