Thursday 3 March 2011

iPad 2 - it's coming soon!

January 27 2010 was one of Apple's defining moments, on that day the Apple iPad was revealed. So what happened March 2 2011? The iPad 2 was revealed. Apple would like us to believe it's revolutionary, truth is, it's not but it's certainly different.

We previously shared our contributors thought on what the iPad 2 would be sporting in terms of hardware and software. On the whole, we were pretty spot on. The iPad 2 will have two cameras as previously mentioned, a front facing VGA camera for FaceTime and rear camera for capturing 720p video. Internally it will be packing 1 GHz dual core Apple A5 processor, this means up to 2x processing power and up to 9x graphics power of the original iPad and it is going to need that raw power considering the games lined up for it. Compared to other tablets currently on the market the iPad 2 is not special at all. All other major tablets including the Motorola XOOM and Blackberry PlayBook have dual core processors and tout graphics as their strong point. As we thought, the screen resolution has stayed the same, 1024x768 and so has the screen technology, no Retina Display for us! It's a 9.7 inch screen, very similar to the Motorola XOOM's and Samsung Galaxy Tab's 10.1 inches.

Apple are arguably the kings of industrial design of the 21st century and they've done it again with the iPad 2. The original iPad had a questionable design being outdone by the Motorola XOOM and Samsung Galaxy Tab (not the HTC Flyer, that thing is ugly) but the iPad 2 has been redesigned in its entirety. It's a more ergonomic, aesthetic design. Considering all this sweet new technology Apple has packed into the iPad 2, it must have become quite a bit thicker, right? Wrong! It's so slim and sleek *drools*. It's 1/3 thinner measuring in at 8.8mm compared to 13.4mm of the original. To put it into perspective, the iPhone 4 is 9.3mm thick. It also won't hurt your hands if you're holding it weighing in at just over 600g. The iPad 2 will come in both black and white (yes, really) and Apple have promised that they will both be available on launch day because we all know what happened with the white iPhone 4. There will be WiFi and 3G+WiFi versions again, my only question is, why stick with 3G? The future is 4G, in the US at least, yet the iPad 2 only has 3G. Apple trickling out features once again.

As was commonly known, the iPad 2 will be running iOS 4.3 which will be released in conjunction with the new iPad. Here's the low down on what was revealed about iOS 4.3. Performance has been improved, quite a bit apparently. There will be FaceTime for iPad meaning you can now “facetime” with your Mac and iPhone 4 friends. The much loved Photo Booth will also arrive in iOS 4.3 with all the same effects as its desktop counterpart, yay! Warped faces! New apps also include very polished and functional iMovie and GarageBand for the iPad. Interestingly internet tethering (Personal Hotspot in iOS) will only be available for the iPhone 4 and latest iPod Touchs. I have a feeling that it will be available for iPad soon though considering every Android tablet can do this already. Have an Apple TV? You'll be able to stream your iPad HD videos/audio/slide shows to it via AirPlay, awesome. iOS 4.3 will be released March 11. Don't forget that users' biggest gripe with iOS is that it's a closed system only allowing you to do what Apple want you to do, my point is that all these “new” functionality features in iOS 4.3 have been in Android for quite some time. The only redeeming feature is the polish and ease of use of Apple apps and iOS.

Smart Covers are a new range of covers Apple will be releasing for the iPad 2, all I have to say is they look pretty damn cool. These are polyurethane or leather covers that magnetically clip onto your iPad 2. They are foldable, turning into stands, contain microfibers that clean your screen when closed and automatically wake or sleep your iPad when opened or closed. Remember guys "It's not a case -- it's a cover" ~ Steve Jobs. Check out the video below.

You could argue all day long that they're gimmicky, pointless and could potentially scratch your lovely new iPad (scratches are already a huge problem on iPods) but this is a clever way of protecting your iPad, the front at least, without affecting its form factor and doubling up as a stand.

All in all, not a huge step up but definitely warrants a new version number which I was dubious about before. The new design just works and internally it's quite a step up but it's imperative that Apple keep up with the competition. I can see the cameras being used for augmented reality (very up-and-coming technology) bringing the powerful graphics chip into play. Thinking of upgrading? CeX will happily buy your used gadgets, the Apple iPad 2 will be released March 25th in Europe and 11th in the US. Remember to update your iTunes to 10.2!

Omran, CeX Towers
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