Today we got our paws on the Apple iPad 2 (thanks John C) that will be released in Australia this Friday. At first glance the unit is certainly more compact than its first generation predecessor, as if the rear has been shaved down to flatten it. A nice modification which means the iPad 2 is much lighter, and easier to hold with one hand. It also looks much better aesthetically.
This particular iPad 2 was sporting a a bright pink magnetic case, a new feature on the iPad 2. Its quite simple really, the cover has a series of 4 hard plates, with soft bendable fabric between each. At the edges are 2 small hinges connecting the cover to a contoured magnetic strip. Connecting the cover to the iPad is simple, you roughly align the magnetic strip the the left edge (right doesn’t work) of the iPad, and it snaps into place. When you fold the cover over the screen, the screen turns off and turns on again when the cover is opened. The cover can also be folded to create a typing stand, or an upright stand for watching videos and surfing the web.
This cover is a great feature so expect a flood of weird and wonderful covers soon.
The front and rear camera’s are the main addition to the iPad 2 meaning the device can now be used as a fully fledged communication hub. The main observation from the front facing camera is its poor resolution, well below the available resolution of the screen. This means that when using Facetime (still not 3G) and Skype over WIFI, images transmitted of yourself will be pixelated. This is fine for the iPhone 4, but disappointing on the iPad 2. It would make far more sense to have a high resolution camera for the front facing, and remove the rear camera all together. I cant think of a time I would whip out my iPad 2 to film my holiday 🙂
On the other hand as a developer, the camera’s open up a some great opportunity to build applications for business. I’m
thinking point of sale, property condition reports, legal documents and Skype for broadcasting a seminar over the air. The iPad 2 is a very exciting device for businesses.
A couple of other small additions include new speakers which sound better and are positioned on the back as opposed the the bottom. The screen is pretty much the same, and I was expecting something a little more impressive like the jump form the 3GS to the iPhone 4 retina.
After playing around with the new iPad, I found myself looking for new features, buttons, connections, apps etc. But to my disappointment I had discovered everything that made it new. Sure its specs might be faster, but i’m not interested in this, I like Apple because chip-sets don’t matter as apps “just work”.
Having only just installed the iOS 4.3 update on my iPad 1, I had new touch gestures for multitasking (4 finger swipe to switch apps), and to my surprise the factory iPad 2 did not have this feature.
So will I buy one? Yes, i’m in the mobile software development game and need to show our clients we have everything latest and greatest. But if I was in the market for a tablet, and I wasn’t self conscious about my cool level on the train, I would take advantage of some bargains on the iPad 1.