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Is the newest iPad worth it?

The newest generation tablet from Apple has some fancy features. But is it the best device for the money?

By MSN Money Partner Mar 2, 2011 5:22PM

This Deal of the Daycomes fromKelli B. Grantat partner site SmartMoney.

 

The newest iPad is thinner, faster and adds not one but two cameras. But as Apple CEO Steve Jobs extolled the device's newest features today, many consumers had only one real question: Should I buy one? Post continues after video.

One thing is for certain: Tablet fever doesn't seem to be going away. Apple already sold the lion's share of tablets last year, some 15 million overall -- approximately 85% of the tablet market -- which generated $9.5 billion in revenue for the company.

 

This year, dozens of competitors are expected to debut competing tablet computers, and tablet sales across the board are expected to triple. Samsung and Motorola tablets are already available; devices from Research in Motion, HP and HTC are anticipated later this year.

 

With such a considerable head start, the iPad is still the tablet to beat, analysts say.

"They're raising the bar for everyone else," says Joseph Beaulieu, an equity analyst for Morningstar. The competitors have yet to build something that's as easy to use, speedy, and good-looking, critics say. Plus, the also-rans aren't cheaper: The big names already on the market range from $500 (also the price of the new entry-level iPad 2) to $900, depending on memory and whether you want the ability to hook up with a wireless provider. As of today, they're all more expensive than the first-generation iPad, which now starts at $400.

 

Toy tech

But unlike a cell phone or a full-fledged computer, tablets still fall into the "toy tech" category. "It's something you want, not something you have to have," says Jeff Orr, a senior analyst with ABI research.

 

What tablets can do is still limited: The touchscreen keypads aren't great for typing, there's minimal storage, they rely on apps, many of which won't work if there's no Internet connection available. Want a constant connection? That'll cost you: Devices that can access wireless carriers' networks are more expensive to begin with, and may require the extra burden of a two-year data contract at an extra $20 to $80 per month.

Of course, there is a device on the market that's portable, lightweight, has tons of memory and all the multimedia features most users want. It's called a laptop, and experts say they're still better than tablets for users who want something that's truly functional.

 

Downloaded software trumps apps for productivity, and doesn't require an Internet connection to function well, Orr says. There's easily twice the storage capacity for all that media you're watching, and a DVD drive for those who aren't ready to stream. And for users interested in a device that supports Flash multimedia, that capability is still widely available -- even on Apple products, despite the company's decision not to support the technology on the iPad.

 

Plus, they're significantly cheaper, notes Orr: A basic-but-decent laptop runs about $350 -- 30% less than the cost of the cheapest iPad.

 

More from SmartMoney and MSN Money:

19Comments
Mar 2, 2011 7:05PM
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I feel bad for all the Ipad owners. Jobs intentionally does this to Apple Consumers. Im sure he "forgot" about putting a camera on the first Ipad, and not just reveal a new Ipad a few months later with one :) 
Mar 2, 2011 10:08PM
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If you are an Apple fan, then it is worth it. If you like new technologies, probably not. Duel core processors? That is so turn of the century, where's the quads or 6 cores? Why no AMD? Is the Apple/ Intel adventure a monopoly only club? No USB 2, let alone 3. Missing 2/3 of the internet without flash, but hey who needs that when you can fling birds or poo or whatever it is this week at each other.
Mar 2, 2011 10:45PM
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thats what you get for buying apple losers! buy one overpriced product today and it will be outdated in 6 months. lol
Mar 2, 2011 11:26PM
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I have a galaxy tab.  It is a great machine.  Cost 550 dollars has 32 sd which I can load a movie on or pretty much what ever I want on it.

It costs me 20 bucks a month with no contract for internet sims card.  If I get desperate skype will work on it as well.

 

I'm not sorry I bought it. Does pretty much what a laptop would do, If I want to develop websites or appies no it won't do that

but that is not what I bought it for. It's my light machine for movies books and docments email and messenger or what ever you use.  And it is easy to type on and fast.  what more do you want in a machine.

Mar 2, 2011 10:21PM
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The updated money eater. It serves little purpose except to excite those who worship the Steve Handjobs. Come and get yours before the new one comes out!
Mar 2, 2011 7:47PM
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I bought a iPad seven months ago. I feel it should of had a camera then--I feel they will come out with an updated one every year. There products are good, but a bit over priced.
Mar 2, 2011 11:36PM
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No the ipad2 is not worth $499.99 they didnt seem to do a whole lot of what people were asking for. No Flash, No USB port, No whatever else it is you want.

Motorola XOOM great all around besides the price.

Samsung Galaxy Tab = Wanna be tablet running phone software.

Mar 2, 2011 10:48PM
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More high-tech toys...to make losers feel like winners, and to make nobodies feel like somebodies. Pathetic...

 

Mar 2, 2011 9:59PM
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If the original iPad was worth the price last year for millions of people why wouldn't it be worth it now since it's same price as the original was when it came out?
Mar 3, 2011 1:32AM
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Forget about your flipping iPad.   I just bot a new car with the gains on my aapl stock. 
Mar 3, 2011 10:56AM
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Personally this article is very disingenous, you can do so much more with an iPad then the author claims.  First the majority of apps do NOT require an internet connection, that is just false.  Only the internet connected games require a constant connection.  Second, as an IT manager I can use my iPad  to manage my network, create presentations, create word processor documents, etc.

 

The iPad is a really really nice inbetween product that does quite a bit and lets me leave my laptop at home most of the time.

Mar 3, 2011 11:24AM
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Such a waste of money for something that's not a necessity. Our society has become so spoiled and blind, failing to realize that while they spend money on novelties like this, there are people elsewhere in the world who don't even have a roof over their heads. Wake up, people.
Mar 3, 2011 12:55AM
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@ric62 what are you trying to say? A microsoft  product is any better? Their crap is outdated before it is even released! One day these things will be 1/4" thick and be triggered by your brain and by then you might get a stable Windows 8.
Mar 2, 2011 8:38PM
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I bought one last year for my business. It has helped me make enough so that buying two this year for me and my assistant is no problem. The one I have now is still good enough to help me. I'm buying because I like the cameras and I wanted to get the 64GB anyway. For those who bought in January - not even Apple reps knew for sure when it would launch but it was rumored to be early this year - if you want to buy an Apple product you should ALWAYS check the Mac Rumors site first.
Mar 2, 2011 7:15PM
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I've purchased two iPad's since mid January this year; one for me and one as a gift.  I am disappointed that the Apple representatives didn't let me know the iPad 2 was on the horizon.  I would have waited.  I feel somewhat cheated.  But it is what it is.
Mar 3, 2011 1:00AM
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apple fan 929,
sounds like your an elitist twixter ( maybe Asian by breed i am assuming ) that still lives at home with mommy & don't  appreciate the value of a hard earned dollar. I don't own any Apple product, so I guess i best get on the welfare line tomorrow morning.

Mar 3, 2011 12:40AM
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 to ric62
yes i can buy one every 6 months and i can afford it. it is my money non of your business. go get your welfare check
Mar 3, 2011 12:35AM
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I own an Imac, Ipod,Ipad,Iphone4 and yes it is very useful to me. a lot of the apple bashers do not even own one so,pls stop bashing apple products it looks like you cannot afford one so do not buy one. buy one or do not buy one. or get a job and get educated so you all can stop complaining and become productive in the general society. i rest my case
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