One advantage the iPad has over competing Android tablets is familiarity. The new iPad looks and feels just like an iPad 2 and iPad 1, as well as an iPod touch and iPhone. If you're familiar with how to use one, you know how to use them all, with only minor design discrepancies (size notwithstanding). The home button is still on the bottom, the FaceTime camera is still up top, the speaker is still on the back, the power button is still on top, and the volume rocker and lock switch both still reside on the top-right. There's no learning curve like you might have if you switch from, say, a Motorola Xoom to a Sony Tablet S, both of which run Android but sport drastically different designs.
I picked up the white bezel version this time around, gambling that it wouldn't distract my eyes from the screen and make it appear less bright than it really is, the exact reason TV makers don't use white bezels. I haven't noticed that at all, and after going with a black bezel for the past two generations, I find I actually prefer the clean look of the white model, which will stay clean since Apple uses edge-to-edge glass on the front.
What the new iPad does have are the same pieces as before, which we touched on above. Power button and 3.5mm headphone jack on top, volume rocker and lock switch on the side, and a proprietary dock connector on bottom. There are a number of accessories available to purchase that plug into the dock, such as a digital A/V adapter and camera connection kit, to name just two.
If you choose one of the 4G LTE models, there will be a black band across the top. There are separate versions for AT&T and Verizon, each of which runs $130 more than the equivalent Wi-Fi only model, though data fees vary by carrier:
- AT&T 250MB: $15/month ($15 per 250MB overage fee); no mobile hotspot
- AT&T 3GB: $30/month ($10 per 1GB overage fee); no mobile hotspot
- AT&T 5GB: $50/month ($10 per 1GB overage fee); no mobile hotspot
- Verizon 1GB: $20/month ($20 per 1GB overage fee); mobile hotspot included
- Verizon 2GB: $30/month ($10 per 1GB overage fee); mobile hotspot included
- Verizon 5GB: $50/month ($10 per 1GB overage fee); mobile hotspot included
- Verizon 10GB: $80/month ($10 per 1GB overage fee); mobile hotspot included