The iPad 3 and a needed upgrade for me…

I received my iPad 3, AKA “The new iPad” on 16th March 2012. I previously owned the original iPad and an iPad 2, both of which were sold to make way for the newer version. The iPad 3 was fantastic. It was the first iPad with a retina display of which the retina display was first made available in the iPhone 4 which shipped in June of the previous year.

The iPad 3 is the last iPad I ever purchased. I still use it today, although it’s painfully slow. I think the reason I didn’t continue to upgrade each year was related to the iPad 4 being shipped just a few months after the 3 launched. I didn’t want to upgrade so soon, and then the year after I got my first MacBook Pro (the 13 inch retina). It knocked me out of the cycle of upgrades and I never got back in to that cycle.

iOS Updates on Old Devices

One of the challenges I find on any iOS device that I have owned is that after 2 major iOS releases, things begin to slow down. The upgrade for iOS 5.1 to iOS 6 was just fine, but then the update to iOS 7 was where the slowness began to show it’s ugly face. For some unknown reason to me, I continued the yearly upgrade cycle to 8 and then 9. I currently run the latest version available which is 9.3.5 and it’s just ridiculously slow for many things. I’m surprised that Apple even though it was a good idea to move past iOS 6 for this device. To give some idea of how slow it can be, I can write a note in Evernote or Day One and type a full sentence out; I then sit for 10 - 20 seconds waiting for text to appear on the screen at which point it catches up with me.

So why do I still use the iPad 3? Other than the extreme lag, I still like the screen and I still find it fairly convenient for doing some basic work on such as marking off tasks in OmniFocus, or looking up reference material. The children also love games on it which in most cases do run just fine after the initial load. I also use it to play Amazon Prime video over Air Play to my Apple TV. It’s mostly a device that I consume information on. I cannot create on it. It’s just too slow and frustrating to do that.

Time for an Upgrade?

I need to upgrade. I use the word “need” carefully as an iPad is not really a “need” in life. Perhaps I should say “I would like” instead. I would like to purchase the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, probably the wifi only model and the lowest storage, but it was released over a year ago in November 2015. If I buy now, I suspect that Apple will upgrade in the new year and thus, lower the price of the current gen. Likewise, if I buy an iPad that’s over a year old then iOS 11 will probably be the last usable OS on the device: usable meaning running without any lag at all. I could stick to iOS 11 when it launches and never upgrade, but sometimes it’s just far too tempting to hold back because of the new features available. Either way, I’d prefer to wait for the iPad pro 2 and purchase when/if that is released.

I still think the iPad is great. I know of a number of people who have switched to iPad only setups. iPad only doesn’t suit me as I need Xcode for creating apps for the iPhone, but for many day to day tasks it was a good laptop replacement when it worked well. For now, I use my MacBook Pro, but I like the idea of simplifying where I can. A MacBook Pro is often a lot more than I need.

I think the best temporary solution prior to my upgrade is that I will just switch off many of the features such as location services, background app refresh, notifications, and anything else that might cause the iPad to do a little more work than absolutely necessary. It’s a compromise, but perhaps something to keep my iPad 3 breathing a little longer.