It’s been about two weeks now since I got my hands on the new iPad 2 on launch day, just a little over actually – but two weeks since I really started using it. I was too tired to do more than just get it setup on its first evening at home with me, after an 8.5 hour wait in line for it.
I used the original iPad heavily on a daily basis, and I’m using the iPad 2 just as much – so after two weeks I feel like I can share some thoughts on the new second generation iPad. So here we go …
Thinner, Lighter,Newer, Shinier
I’ve got no amazing new facts to share here. You know from the tech specs for the iPad 2 that it is substantially thinner than the original iPad (one third thinner) and a touch lighter. I can say that I like the new thin-ness, and a little lighter is a move in the right direction as well. The iPad 2 feels just a little more fragile than its predecessor, but tests like those done on its glass (which appears to be tougher than that of iPad V1) are encouraging in this regard.
Maybe it just feels more fragile to me because I’m currently using just an Apple Smart Cover for it, and screen protectors from Ghost Armor for the front and back. Speaking of which, I’ve already shared my thoughts on the iPad 2 smart covers, so I won’t retread that ground. The short story is that I have mixed feelings about them. Like a lot about them, but want a full-protection case option that is smart in all the same ways.
Like most of you I imagine, I have no intention of using the iPad as a go-to still camera. Or even as a frequent substitute for one. I can only see using it this way on rare occasions when I don’t have my iPhone around or similar. I imagine it should perform slightly better for those who may want to use it to shoot video – but that is also something I don’t see myself doing often at all.
The big reason that the new cameras are great to have around is for apps like FaceTime and Skype. I was never grabbed that much by FaceTime on the iPhone or the Mac, but on the iPad 2 it is superb. Skype video chat on the iPad 2 – even though it is done with what is still just an iPhone version of Skype (they haven’t released an iPad or universal app yet) – is also very good. Apps like these are making the iPad 2 a much handier ‘second screen’ for me. It’s much easier to multitask now when on a video call. Having the new Photo Booth app on the iPad 2 is also fun. I also imagine we’ll see a lot of new apps come along this year to take advantage of the iPad 2’s cameras in creative ways.
Faster – Vroom, Vroom
Again, I realize this is far from breaking news if you’ve been following the iPad 2 reviews over recent weeks – but I just wanted to confirm that my experience in this area is stellar. The iPad 2 feels much much faster across the board. Safari is extremely fast and (presumably due to the doubled-up RAM in the iPad 2) also seems to handle having several pages open at once without breaking a sweat.
Switching between apps is even smoother than on the original iPad – and speed and performance in individual apps is significantly improved.
Evolutionary not Revolutionary Upgrade
Many people have pointed out that the iPad 2 feels more like an evolutionary upgrade, rather than a revolutionary one. I wouldn’t argue with that. It is not a radically different device to the first-gen iPad. And who would want it to be? The iPad V1 was and is an amazing and game-changing device. As has been said elsewhere, the V1 release was so good, so polished, so unlike most 1.0 releases, that it would be near impossible to come up with a huge leap forward on it in under a year.
The iPad 2 doesn’t need to be a revolutionary change. It has probably done enough – especially when combined with iOS advancements, iTunes, and the power of the whole iOS platform – to stay well ahead of rival tablets. Especially given what we’ve seen so far from the competition.
Do You NEED to Get One?
Probably only if you are a dedicated early adopter who gets edgy if you don’t have the latest, greatest version of every device you own. The original iPad is still a superb, powerful device – and one that benefits from all the same iOS advances and ‘ecosystem’ available to the iPad 2.
Whether you need one or want one is of course an entirely personal decision. If you’re aware of what’s been improved and what the key differences are from the original iPad and still feel you want one, you will not be disappointed. If you haven’t yet used a tablet device of this type want the iPad 2 to be the first one you use, you will not be disappointed either.
What About You?
How about all of you dear readers? Those of you who have got an iPad 2, what do you think of it? Did you upgrade or is this your first iPad? Is there anything that has particularly impressed, or disappointed, you about the iPad 2?