The new iPad. Two generations from the somewhat enigmatic, yet overwhelmingly successful debut, Apple’s latest tablet is firing on all cylinders.

No longer is there a question as to whether such a device has a place in people’s day to day lives, it’s now a question of how many such devices are necessary to have for one household.

Indeed, the iPad is about as mainstream as mainstream gets, only a few years removed from many pundits, including myself, questioning its viability.

The truth is that maybe only a handful of people knew how insanely successful Apple’s tablet would be, but now everyone but the most blinded of opposers is a believer. Even if you don’t own an Apple device, you’re compelled to give credit where credit is due…

Nowhere does this ring truer than with Apple’s 3rd generation efforts. The new iPad, as Apple so awkwardly calls it, is the defining moment in a technical empire. Outside of perhaps the next iPhone, the new iPad is Apple’s magnum-opus.

Doubtlessly, they will top this effort with a device that has even better specs, or innovative features, but this latest device is like 30 year old scotch. You know what to expect, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but you won’t find anything smoother or more appealing to the senses. Mr. Jobs would have been proud of his team’s performance this go around.

Since you’ve likely read about a dozen or so reviews for the new iPad already, I don’t see any sense in making this another conventional review. Since I’m much more comfortable behind the lens telling a story than behind a keyboard, I thought I’d present you with a different sort of review, something practical, if you will.

LTE

Next to the obvious (Retina Display), the LTE inclusion on the new iPad is the best new feature. In my opinion this is what really separates this iPad from previous iterations.

True enough, the iPad has always had the option for wireless data, but it hasn’t felt truly liberating until now. I selected an iPad with Verizon’s 4G LTE primarily because AT&T doesn’t have LTE in my region at the moment.

The awesome thing about 4G when compared to previous 3G technology is that you perceive it to be just as fast as your WiFi at home. From my experience, there is no perceived difference between the two. It’s like always being on your home WiFi connection. That, folks, is truly liberating.

LTE is more than just an over hyped buzzword. For the first time, it truly feels fast and surpasses expectations.

Battery Life

Once it was obvious that the new iPad would see both a Retina display, faster processor, AND 4G LTE, my next big concern turned to battery life. Surely, battery life would suffer, no?

I should have known better. Apple is not one to make big compromises when it comes to battery life, and the new iPad is no exception. Even with 4G LTE enabled, I’ve received battery life similar to that of my WiFi only iPad 2. It’s really amazing that Apple was more or less able to maintain similar battery life when the device has been significantly improved in almost all areas.

The fact that Apple decided to stay with their dual core processor, opt instead for a quad core GPU, undoubtedly went a long way to retaining battery life comparable to previous models. Bravo, Apple.

Retina Display

For people who say that there is no big difference between the iPad 2’s display and the 3rd generation iPad’s display, you’re either a). lying b). have never seen it in person c). blind d). trolling or e). all of the above. Folks, this is in the same vain as going from an iPhone 3GS to an iPhone 4. It’s the exact same experience. No one in their right mind would say that the 3GS’ display is about on par with that of the iPhone 4, and the same goes for the iPad 2 versus the new iPad.

Whether or not a Retina display matters to you is of course a personal decision. I know many people that have seen the iPhone 4, have acknowledged its superiority, but who are still fine with using their 3GS. That’s fine and dandy, but it’s just silly to claim that the two are anywhere within the same ballpark.

Personally I think that the Retina display is reason enough alone to upgrade to the new iPad. The iPad and iPad 2’s lack of pixels causes me severe eye strain. Trying to read anything on the iPad 2 for an extended period of time was a guaranteed solution for a headache and dry eyes. I haven’t experience nearly the same amount of side effects with the new iPad.

Games look way better, colors pop to surreal levels; it’s just something that has to be seen with your own two eyes to understand how much of a difference it makes.

Miscellaneous

The new iPad is pretty much perfection in a tablet. The original iPad broke ground, the iPad 2 was a bit of a mediocre upgrade and was admittedly disappointing to me, but this new iPad is perfection.

Outside of any personal complaints with iOS itself, I honestly can’t find any flaws with this tablet. It has the battery life, it has the high speed connectivity, it has the amazing display, it has the horsepower to out perform most, if not all current competitors.

The Bottom Line

If you’re going to get a new iPad, definitely get one with 4G connectivity and at least 32GB of space. Since all of the apps have been Retina-ized — meaning every app that has been updated to take advantage of the new display takes up much more space than it did previously — 16GB isn’t going to cut it unless you’re among the most frugal of space takers.

With my recommendations in mind, that makes the new iPad come in at $729 USD. True, that’s expensive, especially if you purchased an iPad 2 within the last year. But I recommend you to sell your iPad 2, and whatever else you can find, and take a taste of Apple’s finest offering since the iPhone 4. You won’t regret it, and I guarantee you that Apple’s new iPad, will still feel new even a year from now.