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iPad 2

The second generation of Apple's iPad.

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The iPad 2 Leaves All Other Tablets in the Dust!

  • Mar 15, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+5
Back when I wrote my review for the first iPad, a fellow Lunch.com member asked me how you can upgrade something that is already so perfect?  I asked myself the same question and then on March 2nd, Steve Jobs shocked the world...again.  Since the release of the original iPad, other developers such as Motorola and Samsung have tried to release a tablet that could strongly compete with Apple's latest endeavor and it looked as if there would truly be some competition, but when Jobs and CO. presented the iPad 2 keynote, the competition sank back down to the depths.  For the same low price as the original, Apple has released an "evolutionary" new product in the iPad 2.

THE DEVICE:

The iPad 2 isn't just a rehash of the original device, it is a brand new device and has been completely re-designed, both inside and out.  The iPad 1 closely resembled a mix of the iPhone 4 and the iPod touch where as the iPad 2 has been thinned out and now resembles more than anything, the 4th generation iPod touches.  Immediately noticeable is how much more user friendly this iPad is.  You can tell that you were meant to hold the device as it feels ten times more natural in your hands than the iPad 1 did.  This also has to do with the weight reduction thinness of the iPad 2.  The tablet has gone from 1.5 pounds down to 1.33 Pounds.  At first, the weight difference wasn't noticeable, but once compared to an original iPad, the difference was quite significant. The only drawback to the new device (which is hard to actually call a drawback) so far is that it is a little awkward to hold while the new Smartcovers are attached.  Most of the time that I use the iPad now, I generally take the cover off and snap it back on when I'm done (more on Smartcovers later).  The iPad 2 is now also equipped, much like the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch, with a front and rear camera, however don't plan on taking high quality pictures with them (more below).

FEATURES:

Normally, I don't go into much detail about the inner workings of a device, but an exception must be made for the iPad 2.  Apple debuted its new A5 Dual Core Processor chip along with the iPad 2 on March 2nd and boy is it fast!  If you thought that iPad 1 was fast, think again.  Pretty much anything you do on the iPad 2 is a seamless task.  Whether you're multitasking or playing a game, every process on the iPad 2 is lightning fast. For Example, in Mobile Safari, there is no more page reloading if you have multiple tabs open.  

FaceTime is now one of three new pre-installed apps along with Photobooth and Camera.  Facetime calling hasn't looked better now that it is on the  iPad 2.  The now numerous ways to use Apple's video calling feature really makes it the best option out there right now.  You can call iPad to iPad, iPad to iPhone, iPad to iMac...you get the point.  If you're a Mac user, then you are already familiar with Photobooth, but having the feature on the iPad is loads of fun (A picture of my dog using Photobooth is below).  The Camera app is one of the only downsides of the iPad 2.  The word going around is that the rear camera is less than one mega-pixel, yikes!  Don't even think about using the front camera for anything but Facetime.  The rear camera is redeemed (just a little) by the fact that it takes 720p HD video.  Though in all honesty, the only true advantage of the two cameras is FaceTime.

Not that it is new to the iPad, but on March 2nd, Apple also announced that it finally made a deal with Random House to distribute its entire book collection through the iBookstore, making it a true competitor to the Kindle Store.  For new iPad users, this is great news as you will immediately have access to thousands and thousands of books.  GarageBand and iMovie have also made their way to the iPad 2 and while I haven't been able to try these out first hand yet, I can tell you that GarageBand is awesome after watching an Apple Store employee demo the bass and guitar instruments in the app. 

Finally, onto the Smartcovers.  I am still on the fence about these.  They are incredibly cool and incredibly annoying all at the same time.  What I loved about the iPad 1 case that Apple created was that it acted as sort of an extension of the iPad.  It was easy to hold and you also had the peace of mind to know that the device was safe while inside.  The Smartcovers on the other hand, while they do protect the most important part of your iPad, they don't protect the back.  They are also incredibly slippery and awkward to hold while surfing the web or reading an eBook.  However, the revolutionary magnet system is really cool.  I like knowing that when I put the cover over the screen, it puts the iPad to sleep and vice versa.  The Smartcover is also great to use when typing as well as while watching a movie.  it stands up on its own a lot better than the Apple Case did.  Lastly, taking it on and off is as easy as snapping the magnets on and off.

OVERALL:

Some people will say that this isn't a necessary upgrade.  I agree with them...partially.  You don't need to upgrade to an iPad 2 if you already own the original, but the newer version is such a step up from the iPad 1 that it's truly hard not to want to upgrade.  This is especially true for people who truly utilize FaceTime as either a business tool or way to keep in contact with loved ones who live far away.  The speed difference is also such a drastic change that for those who are looking for better functionality, it is really hard to overlook.  I'm thrilled that I upgraded and getting to finally wait in line for an Apple product was a blast!  If you don't own an iPad yet, this is a no brainer.  If you were on the fence about the iPad first gen and love everything about the iPad 2, pick one up, you won't be sorry.  Good luck trying to get your hands on one though as online orders from Apple.com are backed up 4-5 weeks.  If you can't wait for one that long, check with your local Apple Store, they are getting new shipments in everyday.  The basic wifi only iPad 2 model starts at $499.99.  5/5!
The iPad 2 Leaves All Other Tablets in the Dust! The iPad 2 Leaves All Other Tablets in the Dust! The iPad 2 Leaves All Other Tablets in the Dust! The iPad 2 Leaves All Other Tablets in the Dust!

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April 14, 2012
The technology is evolving faster with every passing day.
 
March 16, 2011
This.  sounds.  amazing.  GarageBand and iMovie on this?  That is way too cool.  I don't think Apple really had any stiff competition even with the iPad one, and now with the iPad 2, it looks like they've really blown everyone out of the water.  Thanks for sharing, Julian!
 
March 16, 2011
So many tablets coming out--glad apple is able to still lead the way and become the leader with this type of tec. Thanks, man!
 
March 15, 2011
Ditto Kort. Now that I got my Samsung Galaxy Tab for just less than 3 months, I'm not tempted to get the iPad 2. I'm quite happy that it is small and not so heavy. It's ideal for taking it up the plane and even when I go shopping! The cameras on the iPad 2 are not up to standard as far as I'm concerned. It is fun taking pix with the Tab but even for a 7" tablet, it's a little strange taking it up and shooting the pix in the public. I definitely will not hold an iPad to shoot a pix or video, for one thing, it'd be too heavy to hold it up for long :) May be I'd wait, unless I'm getting it as a gift, LOL...
 
March 15, 2011
Great and thorough review Julian. While I think this is a great update to v1, I don't see it so much as a revolution as a great evolution. It certainly puts iPad back on top of the tablet heap for some time to come. As much as I drool at the new features and upgrades, I think I'll hold off on updating until iPad 3 comes along. They still are leaving out a few key features that I'd like to see.
 
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About the reviewer
Julian Brown ()
Hi, my name is Julian Brown. I currently write for The Brotherly Game, a local Philadelphia soccer website where I cover the US Women's National Team and the local WPS Philadelphia Independence. I … more
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iPad 2 is the second iteration of the iPad, a tablet computer designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc. The tablet was introduced March 2, 2011 and will be released in the United States on March 11, 2011. It serves primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. Its size and weight fall between those of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. The iPad 2 has a new dual core Apple A5 processor. The iPad 2 includes VGA front-facing and 720p rear-facing cameras designed for FaceTime video messaging. The new iPad is compatible with a magnetic dual purpose screen protector/iPad stand.

The revised tablet introduced a new design that included a front and rear-facing cameras designed for FaceTime video messaging—it can now message with iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod Touch and Mac OS X Snow Leopard devices. The iPad 2 added a dual core Apple A5 processor with doubled processing speed and graphics processing that is nine times faster. iPad 2 offers CDMA support for Verizon Wireless in the United States. The device is 33% thinner-thinner than the Original iPad—thinner than an iPhone— and 15% lighter. Apple also unveiled the Smart Cover, a screen protector that attaches magnetically to the face of the device. Removing the cover wakes the device and has a microfiber bottom that cleans the iPad. The cover converts to an iPad stand when folded. The new Apple Digital AV Adapter mirrors video ...
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