For the last few months, I’ve been anxiously awaiting news from both Microsoft and Apple as to what they’ll be doing with their latest rounds of tablets. I’m in the market for a new tablet, since my old iPad Retina 3 got passed on to my Mom ahead of what I expected to be a short wait for the next generation of mobile devices from the big guys.
As it turns out, both companies have gone over a year since the last major refresh of their tablet lines, so rather than throw down money on old technology, I’ve been holding out for news from both Cupertino and Redmond as to what new marvels they would bring forth with their new releases.
Redmond is still MIA on a new Surface Pro 5, but today, Apple ended the suspense with the release of their newest iPad (dubbed, simply “iPad”), which replaces last year’s iPad Air 2. Here it is:
Look familiar? It ought to. Because for all intents and purposes, it’s the same iPad as last year’s model. It’s got the same screen, same camera, same memory specs, same form factor, and a processor with a tiny speed-bump (the “A9” instead of the “A8x”)… oh, and it’s a little heavier.
But hey, at least they took $70 off the price.
Unsurprisingly, the new iPad was launched with zero fanfare. Indeed the news that got bigger interest is that they’ve refreshed the iPhone 7 lineup… by making it available in red. Yes, red. I can barely contain my excitement.
What happened to you, Apple? You used to be the folks who forced everyone else to innovate. And while I remain convinced that Apple is packed with smart and creative folks, we’re seeing blessed little of this potential realized in the products released since Tim Cook took the helm.
With last Friday’s iPhone 4S launch, the stars were finally aligned to allow Carolyn and me to make the move off AT&T’s accursed network onto Sprint’s. It involved paying an early termination fee and buying new phones, but after the zillionth dropped call (even with our additional Microcell), we’d had enough.
A few thoughts on making the move:
– First off, reception is _way_ better–5 bars vs. 1-2 on AT&T.
– Carolyn can probably explain the reason for it, but the switch in network types also means the call defects are different. AT&T’s GSM network would just not make calls (call failed when dialing), or drop them suddenly with no reason. Afterward, it was typically hard to get a solid connection. The two times I’ve had problems with Sprint’s CDMA network, the calls got “static-y” for several seconds, then dropped. A call-back would result in a crystal-clear connection. Is this a cell tower/band switching thing?
– Data speed seems the same or better with Sprint. I’ve noticed, however, that most of my data traffic these days is moving over Wi-Fi (Thanks for the free Wi-Fi, Starbucks!), so 3G data may not be as important as it once was.
– I went with Sprint over Verizon mostly due to the total plan cost for a family being much higher on their network vs. Sprint’s. I hear overall good things about their network, though.
– For the first time, I recouped a ton of cash with no trouble whatsoever by selling back my now-obsolete phones. Sprint has a buyback program which instantly credits you about $250 for an iPhone 4 and $180 for the old 3Gs Carolyn had been using. Redemption was as easy as bringing in the (wiped) old phones into the store. Nice! (I also got $100 instantly on eBay for the now-obsolete Microcell I’d bought in a vain attempt to have my phone calls improved at home by routing them over my stupidly fast internet connection here. The Microcell managed to deliver 5 bars, but just as many stuttery/dropped calls as before. I never figured out why, despite two advanced troubleshooting calls with AT&T).
– If you’re thinking of moving over to Sprint, make sure to take advantage of discounts available to credit union, AAA, or military folks. I hear there are often corporate discounts as well. The discounts tend to be about 10% of the monthly bill.