iPad 2 is prettier,


and visibly nimbler

Reviewed by Stephen Hutcheon

March 25, 2011 – 10:32AM

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The look of iPad ecstasy

The iPad 2 goes on sale in Australia and while most of those who have waited for several hours are successful, a few latecomers don’t make the first cut.

iPad 2

To get the iPad into shape for its second coming, Apple has had to apply a few nips and tucks, the obligatory feature augmentation and some serious liposuction.

The result is that, 10 months after the first version was launched, the iPad 2 – which goes on sale later today – is prettier, perkier and visibly nimbler.

Apple's iPad 2Apple’s iPad 2 

While I’m sure there are design aesthetes who will be excited by the new “pogo pin” earphone jack, it’s another new hardware feature that will command most of the attention for first-time buyers and would be upgraders.

The dual front- and rear-facing camera is a useful addition even if you don’t think you’re going to be making use of video calling either through Skype or Apple’s own FaceTime standard.

But, be warned, the cameras Apple uses are very low res and, while you can use the rear-facing camera to record video at 720p at 30 frames per second, it delivers only sub megapixel stills. And the forward-facing camera shoots in grainy VGA-quality.

Tablet wars.

Two of the iPad’s known competitors – the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v and the Motorola Xoom – sport 8 and 5 megapixel rear cameras, respectively. And while megapixels aren’t everything, video and stills look better and sharper.

But Apple knows what it’s doing. It’s in the company’s DNA to be parsimonious with the specs of the features it includes in its device. If it maxed out on all the features and loaded the iPad with everything first up, there would be no reason to upgrade to iPad 3, or 4 or 5.

That said, the cameras on the iPad 2 are good enough for their intended use. I can’t see too many people whipping their iPads out to snap photos or shoot video.

The iPad 2 tips the scales at 612 grams.The iPad 2 tips the scales at 612 grams. Photo: Stephen Hutcheon 

If you are one of those people who wants to use it for that purpose, I’d wait another year for iPad 3.

By now, everyone who cares knows that the iPad 2 is thinner, faster and (marginally) lighter, so I won’t dwell on those aspects. Shedding 106 grams in the scheme of thing does not make a huge difference but it is remarkable that the iPad 2 is now thinner than the iPhone 4.

I’ve never had a big problem with the weight of the original iPad and I’m a heavy user. It’s still much easier than lugging a laptop around but I can’t get excited about the loss of a mere 100-odd grams.

The original iPad is slightly heavier at 718 grams.The original iPad is slightly heavier at 718 grams. Photo: Stephen Hutcheon 

The speed upgrade and the addition of a gyroscope will make game playing on the iPad an even better experience than has been the case with the first version.

Two other impressive elements worth a mention are both accessories.

The Smart Cover, Apple’s own patented screen protector is a stroke of genius. You have got to marvel at how the design team worked an ostensibly low-tech feature into such a clever solution.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs presents the iPad 2

Steve Jobs unveils Apple’s iPad 2

Apple CEO Steve Jobs presents the iPad 2 Photo: AP

  • Apple CEO Steve Jobs presents the iPad 2
  • Extremely thin design.
  • Smh.com.au on the iPad 2.
  • Steve Jobs takes to the stage in San Francisco.
  • Steve Jobs introduces the iPad 2.
  • Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iPad 2.
  • Steve Jobs speaks about the new case protector for the iPad 2.
  • Steve Jobs speaks at the Yerba Buena Center.
  • Steve Jobs introduces the iPad 2.
  • Tallking money ... Steve Jobs takes to the stage.
  • Steve Jobs ... returned from medical leave.
  • Steve Jobs unveils the iPad 2.
  • The iPad 2 will go on sale in the US on March 11.

Hinged by magnets, the Smart Cover snaps into position when held close to the contact points on the edge of the iPad. The cover folds back and underneath to provide a rest which tilts the iPad at an angle to allow video or FaceTime viewing or typing.

I have no doubt that Apple will sell a stack of these multi-coloured covers that will retail for between $45 and $79.

The other useful accessory is the $45 HDMI adapter that allows you to mirror anything from the screen of your iPad to a flat screen TV or projector screen. This will be particularly welcomed by anyone who uses their iPad in a classroom, for demonstrations or even at home.

The iPad 2 represents a generous overhaul of the original iPad. The improvements in speed and the inclusion of cameras alone make this a better device than version one. And although the competition is catching up, the iPad 2 will keep Apple in the lead.

Someone asked me whether the iPad 2 would provoke pangs of envy for early adopters who jumped in and bought the first model. The answer is: yes.

And did I mention that it comes in white?

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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