My Thoughts on the Apple iPad 2

I’m a few days late to the party, since Apple already announced the iPad 2 and a multitude of other tech sites and bloggers have probably already weighted in on all that it is and isn’t. But, what do I think and will I rush out to buy it on day one?

For those that may not follow all the tech sites and bloggers out there, I’ll quickly summarize what is in the new version. It boils down to 4 things:

  1. Faster Processor (a dual core, instead of the existing single, essentially 2x the fun!)
  2. Faster Graphics
  3. Dual Cameras
  4. 33% lighter

It’s far from the wild rumors that have been floating around for the last part of 2010, things such as a higher resolution display and an SD card slot. I didn’t think a higher resolution display would have been beneficial, and an SD card slot is a pipe dream that will never come true; just like Apple will never have a pressure sensitive stylus for any of its products – but I digress.

But what they did put into the iPad 2 is good, and evolutionary, NOT revolutionary (Apple should be banned from using that word). The dual core processor is a nice addition; it paves the way for more serious horsepower hungry applications, like video editing and CAD. It also means faster load times; I’ve already seen some of the late generation games chug along trying to load, so this new A5 processor and the new graphics performance will improve upon that. At the very least it’ll make what runs today even better. The slimmer profile is welcome, almost unnecessary, since the iPad isn’t all that bulky, but less is more in this case. Having cameras with Facetime, and Photobooth completes the package, which was sorely missing when the iPad was first released. On a sad note though, I’ve heard rumor that the camera is the same crappy camera that comes on the new iPod Touch, so while you’re getting a camera in the new one, it’s not a very good one. But I guess Apple will justify this by keeping something that the iPhone has that’s better than their other products (I guess Apple needs to give its competitors something to talk about). Oh, and lastly, it comes in a choice of Black or White! Apple even promised white on day one! In case anyone may not know, Apple totally botched their launch of the white iPhone, and I was one that was burned by it. I had my preorder in early, and it was this botched released that kept me from getting an iPhone 4 for a while, since it was near impossible to get a black one for a few months (I’m still awful annoyed by this).

So the ultimate question, is it worth it? I’ll simply say that if you’re in the market for a tablet and you don’t have an iPad yet, then this is one to get. Now, you could get the first generation one. In fact, Apple just dropped the price by $100! So, you will need to consider the following to decide what’s best:

  1. Does having a Camera, even a crappy one, matter?
  2. Does having a faster tablet matter to you? The existing one seems to run plenty fine right now.
  3. Does having a slightly smaller iPad matter that much?

If you answer yes to any of the above, then an iPad 2 may be your choice. Here are my thoughts. I’ve not run into any major performance problems on my iPad that made me wish it was faster. Now, granted, that’s not to say that what runs fine now, won’t stay that way. Obviously, with the new iPad being faster, it opens the door for developers to make more complex apps to leverage the extra horsepower. Responsible developers will realize that there are more iPad 1’s in circulation then there are iPad 2’s, at least for this year. That will change next year, when the ipad 3 will most likely arrive. So, the iPad 1 will probably still have a decent life for another year. A similar situation has happened with the iPod Touch, my old 2G is now facing obsolescences, because I cannot run some software that makes use of the features only found in the latest 4th generation. Having a camera is a welcome addition, I was peeved by it’s absence in the first generation, but this camera set in the new one is bittersweet for me, because I’ve seen how poor the iPod Touch 4G camera is, and this camera is the same one. Lastly size, I don’t often find myself complaining about how large my iPad is, but I like small devices, so this isn’t a dealbreaker or dealmaker for me, but a nice bonus.

So, with all that I’ve said, will I buy one? Yes, I probably will, and it’s because of the camera. Even though it’s not a good camera, it is one. It’s the one thing that is completely unique to this release and I like the prospects it offers for camera enabled iPad applications. The other new features will be icing on the cake. I’m on the fence about a white or black one, so it remains to be seen which one I will get.