It came out with more cool and advanced function. The competition must really hate Apple. The iPad wasn’t just a successful tablet computer in 2010 — it was the tablet computer. In one fell swoop, Apple created the new tablet market and sold tens of millions of iPads, despite a global economic downturn and considerable skepticism.
The same, only better
With the iPad’s second go-around, Apple sticks to its successful formula. The iPad 2 is thinner, faster and includes two cameras, but otherwise stays the same: size, price, capacity and features all carry over. Except for colour. Apple now offers both white and black versions of the iPad 2 in every price and configuration. The iPad 2 is available in the UK on 25 March: the base model starts at £399 (inc. VAT), giving you 16GB of storage and a Wi-Fi connection to the internet. If you want more storage for all your applications, photos, music and videos, you can jump up to the 32GB (£479) or 64GB (£559) models. The freedom to surf the web over a mobile broadband connection costs an extra £100 over any of the three capacities mentioned above, plus monthly carrier fees.
The iPad 2 is thin — so thin, in fact, that it feels like a different device. Measuring just 8.8mm, it’s thinner than the iPhone 4 and a third thinner than the original iPad.
Despite the thinner design, its construction quality is no less rugged than the original’s. The back of the iPad is still made from a durable, single slab of aluminium machined to fit the iPad’s internal components like a glove. The face of the iPad is covered in the same scratch-resistant glass, with a home button at the bottom of the screen and a new front-facing camera at the top.
Otherwise, the iPad 2 sticks to familiar iPad routines. The sleep/wake buttons and headphone jack are in the same place as on the original, up top, as are the volume rocker and mute/rotation lock switch on the right edge. On the bottom you’ll find the iPad’s universal dock connection and the internal speaker. The speaker’s perforated grille now wraps around the back, giving it more surface area and noticeably better sound quality.
Apple is first and foremost about user experience, and it’s on that basis that the iPad and its successors have to be judged and, since it defined the template that all the others, from the Samsung Galaxy Tab Tab to the Motorola Xoom, have followed, so must they.
Getting the iPad 2 in your hands shows that while it may be a small step forward on paper, in your hands it’s a leap ahead.
Two factors are central to this: the dual-core processor Apple calls the A5, and the new casing design. And, as painful as it is for a technology buff to admit it, it’s not the chippery that makes the biggest difference.
The iPad 2 isn’t a radical departure from the original, but it does have a few new tricks up its sleeve.
The banner feature for the iPad 2 is the addition of two cameras, both able to record video or snap photos. The camera on the back is located in the upper-right corner where it isn’t likely to be covered by your hand (in portrait orientation, at least). It looks just like the chrome-ringed lens on the iPhone 4 and is similarly equipped with 720p HD video capture. There’s no camera flash, however, and the camera sensor is a far cry from the one used in the iPhone 4. Just like the fourth-generation iPod Touch, the iPad 2 takes photos that are essentially video stills.
There are costs. The controls are now mounted into curved surfaces not flat ones. That doesn’t matter for the buttons, but being able to see part of the 3.5mm jack on the end of your heaphones’ cable is a rare – for Apple – design snafu. Why not bore a deeper hole, with a wider entry so the jack fits right in?
Apple iPad 2 Case with Bluetooth Keyboard
Apple iPad 2 Case with Bluetooth Keyboard
- Perfect combination for iPad 2 / iPad 2 3G.
- Soft, waterproof, space saving design.
- Use the iPad 2 / iPad 2 3G in a variety of positions.
- You can use this keyboard with most device that have bluetooth or USB adapter.
- Works with Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad / iPad 3G, iPad 2 / iPad 2 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 3G S if upgraded to IOS4.
- Silence design, it won’t affect other people’s rest.
- Built-in Lithium Battery: 450mAh which can last for about 1 week.
Wireless networking is a good as a mobile device can be: 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n.
But that’s what the original iPad had. Ditto the Bluetooth 2.1, GPS on the 3G model, accelerometers, gyros and 16-64GB of storage. Battery life is much the same too, media playback capabilities likewise. And with so little here that’s different – and with the first iPad still seemingly widely available – it’s hard to recommend the new model as an upgrade. Yes, it’s cheaper than before – starting at £399 rather than £429, and passing the £400 mark is a key psychological barrier bypassed. But the original can now be had for £329, and that’s even better still. It won’t be around for long, and then you’ll have to have the iPad 2 if you want an iOS tablet. Why chose a rival? Beyond favouring Google’s brand of user lock-in over Apple’s, or because you really must have an SD slot, or a USB or HDMI port, there’s no reason not to pass by the iPad 2. Upcoming tablets are unlikely to be significantly cheaper, yet aren’t going to outshine this one. They’re certainly not better looking.
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The iPad defined a new category of personal computing and inspired many a me-too offering. The iPad 2 isn’t the next step in the evolution of the media tablet – Apple still has flaws to fix – but there’s no question it’s better than its predecessor – and a lot of its rivals.