Refreshing an iPad 2, but wanting an iPad Pro

On the day that the new 9.7" iPad Pro is released to the public, I'm a little sad to admit that I'm still the owner of an iPad 2.

I queued up outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden, London on 25 March 2011 to buy it. The queue was too long for me but I did come back the next day to purchase it. So, it had its fifth birthday just a few days ago.

At the time I was excited by the new device. It was the future in my hands. There was a bit of a reality check when I realised that I could have bought a laptop with Windows for less than the price of an iPad but I was still happy with the decision.

But, if a five year old computer is sad, a five year old iPad is even sadder.

A new iPad is getting pretty tempting. iPad performance has probably improved ten-fold in those five years. The screen is significantly better and the device is smaller and lighter. 

But the reality is that once you add in the cost of a smart cover and maybe also a Pencil or even the keyboard cover, the cost is getting pretty close to the cost of a MacBook Pro (the retina one of course, not the 2012 vintage spinning drive version). This is an expensive device, especially since arguably a third device isn't really necessary. It's a convenience not a necessity. 

So, I'm hanging on to the old iPad 2 at least for a little longer.

Despite the introduction here, the iPad 2 has not really been performing admirably for me for a long time. Performance has slowly been deteriorating. This has been going on for so long that I can't even remember when it started. Was it iOS 8? Or maybe iOS 7? Maybe even before then? I can't even remember. But it was definitely before iOS 9. 

Whenever it was, it seemed worse with iOS 9.3. With each new update I notice a performance difference. It's either slightly worse or slightly better, which will cause me to either curse or celebrate. This time it was much worse.

With all the recent discussion around problems in Safari in iOS 9.3, and how they are possibly caused by Universal Links, I thought I would try something new and drastic. 

Yesterday, I completely wiped my iPad and started again.

As I am writing this, I have installed 8 apps on the iPad: Facebook, Twitter, Tweetbot, Reeder, YouTube, YouTube Creator Studio, Dropbox and 1Password. I expect that I'll add a few more apps in the next few days but it has been working pretty well so far.

I haven't even set up mail, turned on iCloud Photo Library or synced my music yet but that will probably happen too. I have used 1.1GB out of 56GB. 

Performance has significantly improved and I've had hardly any crashes. It's still slow and doesn't have enough memory to hold more than two or three Safari tabs. But it's an improvement, and it's cheaper than a shiny new iPad Pro. I hadn't expected that it would make a difference but it has. A huge difference.

it now runs at tortoise speed rather than glacier speed. Much better.

I don't expect that the old iPad 2 will see its sixth birthday, but it is pretty good that it has lasted as long as it has and  has a bit more spring in its step.