Right off the bat, I’m an Apple fan boy. I have no problem admitting it. When a new Apple product comes out, I’m all over whatever it might be. With the iPad 2′s release, there was certainly no exception.
Being an owner of the original iPad, I was very skeptical as to whether or not the iPad 2 would be worth the upgrade. On paper, the update doesn’t seem very substantial, but like the first iPad, I wasn’t 100% sure until I got my hands on it.
Probably the biggest upgrade to the iPad 2 is the addition of the A5, dual core chip. Apple claims that this chip will double the processing speed, and increase graphics by up to 9 times. At this point, until developers really start to optimize their apps for this new chip, we won’t see it’s true potential. However, in the few hours that I’ve been playing with the iPad 2, and comparing it to the first gen, there is definitely an improvement. Overall, the operating system and applications are much smoother, and snappier. What may have taken 6 seconds to fully launch an app on the iPad 1, now takes about 2-3 seconds. And this is without optimization.
Of the applications which have already been optimized, like Real Racing 2, I am slowly starting to see what is possible with this device. The fact that you can shoot and edit HD movies directly on your iPad, is quite impressive.
Now that Apple has successfully launched FaceTime on the iPhone, iPod Touch and the Mac, it only made sense that Apple added two cameras to the iPad 2. In terms of quality, the cameras, especially the front facing camera, is there for video chatting. That’s it. Sure, you can shoot 720p videos with the rear camera, but honestly, who wants to walk around holding up a 10″ device, trying to take a picture. That’s what our iPhones and digital cameras as for. Sure, I would have loved to see a better front facing camera, but for the purpose of video chatter, I think these cameras are a good start.
In the months leading up to the iPad 2, announcement, there were back and fourth rumors debating whether the iPad 2 would sport a retina display, or even a slightly higher resolution.
I’ll admit it, when there was no work about any sort of upgrade to the display, I was quite disappointed. I knew, that due to power and battery consumption, a retina display is not possible at this time, I think a slight bump up to 1280 would have been enough to keep people happy. There were even some talks about a possible antiglare display, to help with reading in the sun. While this would have been ideal for many users, Apple likes glossy things.
I haven’t gotten around to conducting a full battery test myself, but I’ve definitely reading the current reviews. In the ‘hardcore’ tests, users are hitting 10 solid hours of straight usage, and about 2 days of casual usage. To me, this is more than I can ask for. I can’t see myself in a situation where I would need to use my iPad for more than 10 straight hours. This is still well above any of the competitors.
Though I didn’t expect it to be release with the iPad 2, I was really hoping for a mention, or even a preview of iOS 5, which I’m going to assume will be ready for the release of iPhone 5. As much as I love the iOS feel, there is so much more they can do, especially for the iPad. The notification system needs a complete revamp. Arranging and sorting applications on your device needs an improvement. Multitasking needs Mission Control.
Overall, I am very impressed with the iPad 2. Is it worth the upgrade from the original iPad? For me it’s enough, but I can certainly see why people may be hesitant.