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Apple ipad 2

published  First Published: 13/04/2011
Article written by: Nigel Brookson


Apple has made refinments to its very popular computer tablet ipad in releasing iPad 2.

The interface is easy to use, includes a huge app catalogue and with an impressive battery life even heavy uses wont falter, Apple has redefined the standard for tablet computers.

The new ipad 2 is thinner, faster, comes in a choice of black or white, includes two cameras supporting 720p video capture, one on the front and one on the back; both able to record video or snap photos, but apart from a few small 'niceties' it's the same as the original ipad.

The iPad 2 is very thin, measuring just 8.8mm, it's thinner than the iPhone 4 and a third thinner than the original iPad.

Construction quality hasn't been sacrificed though, with the back of the iPad 2 made from a durable, single slab of aluminium, machined to fit the iPad's internal components, as was the original ipad.

The front of the new iPad 2 is covered in the same scratch-resistant glass, now with a home button at the bottom of the screen and there's a new front-facing camera at the top, the speaker's perforated grille now wraps around the back, giving it more surface area and noticeably better sound quality, but other than that Apple has kept everything the way it was before, so users upgrading will be able to upgrade with nothing new to learn.

One of the best features, and something manufactures of smart technology never seem to concern themselves with is apart from the case of the first ipad, the ipad 2 works with first ipad accessories; including docks, adapters, speakers, video cables, and most importantly chargers. An updated standard dock for the iPad 2 is available that does fit the ipad2 better.

The new iPad 2 accessory that Apple has spent a lot of time on is the new 'Smart Cover'. The unique hinged cover comes in two materials; leather and polyurethane, and several fashion colours. It attaches magnetically to the left or right edge of the iPad 2 using two aluminium hinges embedded with impressively strong rare-earth magnets. Magnets within the cover are used to detect when the cover is open or shut, allowing the iPad 2 to automatically wake or sleep. It works, but you also have the option in Settings to bypass the automatic wake feature and use the button manually. As accessories go, the Smart Cover is useful; not from a protection point of view alone, but for the convenient stand it provides when rolled up.

The cameras are there as a way to support Apple's FaceTime video chat app, which is now available for Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad 2. The video phones we see used by characters in movies is becoming reality, with FaceTime on the iPad2 you are almost there.

Unlike smaller devices, the iPad's 9.7-inch screen can present faces at life-size. FaceTime still remains a Wi-Fi-only feature, however, so in car iPad video calls are not possible; and from a legal and safety point of view, the Police at least would be grateful.

Other iPad 2 apps designed by Apple including GarageBand and iMovie, must be purchased separately for AU$5.99 each.

The iPad is the last of Apple's iOS devices to be blessed with iMovie (and the camera required for it), but is the first to receive GarageBand.

The new ipad 2 uses a dual-core A5 processor that promises to be twice as fast with nine times the graphics performance, so if gaming graphic quality is an important consideration for you, you can jump off your chair and go and get one now.

Another new feature sure to keep the competition on their toes is full HDMI AV output compatibility. Using a US$39 dock cable, the iPad can now mirror its output to a TV over a standard HDMI connection. The supported resolution goes up to 1080p, though video playback and most apps wont exceed 720p.

Unlike previous video-out solutions for the iPad, the dock cable no longer limits users to simply video playback or presentations. Everything you see on the screen is mirrored on your TV, including video, photos, games and the home screen.

RIM's PlayBook and the Motorola Xoom have had HDMI compatibility as a key advantage over the iPad, so now they have one less feature as a selling point.

The iPad 2 also adds the same three-axis gyroscope sensor shared by the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch, giving the device a more detailed sense of its orientation in space, similar to the feeling of holding a Nintendo Wii remote. The gyro's appeal is mostly for gaming, allowing for more precise motion control and realistic navigation within virtual environments. In a first-person shooter game like N.O.V.A., for instance, you can tilt the iPad 2's screen up, down, left or right to explore the game's surroundings, just like a window into the game's universe.

Cameras and gyros are nice, but let's not forget all the features that made the original iPad so very popular. If you've ever used an iPhone or iPod Touch, the iPad 2 will feel immediately familiar; as much of the technological advancements Apple have included have come via their smart phones.

Out of the box, you get many of the iPhone's capabilities, including Apple-designed apps for web browsing, email, maps, photos, music, video and YouTube. More apps can be installed using the built-in App Store software or by connecting the iPad to iTunes via your computer using the included cable.

If you already own apps purchased for an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can transfer these apps to the iPad, as well.

The original iPad made its debut with iOS 3.2. That OS's limitations seem prehistoric today. You couldn't bounce between applications with multitasking. You couldn't organise applications into folders. The iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3.

Apple iPad 2 pricing

Apple Australia has announced that pricing for the Apple iPad 2 will start from AU$579 from the company's own retail stores as well as local third-party resellers.

The top-of-the-line iPad 2, with 64GB of storage space and an on-board 3G mobile broadband connection will go for AU$949, and prices will scale down to AU$839 and AU$729 for the 32GB and 16GB 3G models respectively.

The Wi-Fi only version of the iPad 2 will sell for AU$799 for the 64GB model, AU$689 for the 32GB model and AU$579 for the 16GB model.

Apple's new iMovie and GarageBand apps for the iPad will be available through the company's App Store, and will go for AU$5.99 each. In addition, Apple will sell its iPad Smart Covers locally in a range of colours for AU$45 for the polyurethane model, or leather for AU$79.

Reasons to buy an iPad 2

  1. The ipad 2 is different to the iPad:
    One of the major complaints of the first iPad was the size and weight of the tablet. The Apple iPad is designed to be carried around, pulled out during meetings, sat with in bed, and its 750g weight made this sometimes awkward. The ipad2 is now only 8.8mm thick and the Wi-Fi-only version weighs 608g, making it ideal to hold on your lap.
  2. There is a huge boost in processing power:
    The new A5 dual-core processor and improved graphics processor provide a real improvement to performance. This may no be noticeable when navigating the home screens, but when you're playing HD videos or 3D games the new power will definitely come in handy.
  3. HDMI:
    For many, the ability to connect the ipad 2 to a TV wont be a reason to rush out and buy one; but for those who understand that a tablet is best at being a display device, rather than a productive tool, it is a real bonus. Professionals who need to share images; real estate agents or graphic artists, will be able to connect the iPad 2 to a TV screen.
  4. It's leading the way! - for the moment
    Apple's twelve-month head start on the Google Android tablet market has produced 65,000 iPad-specific applications on the Apple App Store, and even though developers are focusing on the Android apps in 2011, there are still far more apps for the Apple.
  5. It will be cheaper
    $650 is a lot of money for anyone to spend, but Apple will offer cheaper options. In the US, Motorola recently launched its Xoom tablet for US$799 US$70 more than a comparative Apple tablet. But the real clincher is that if you'd prefer to save some money you can opt for a 16GB Wi-Fi only for US$499.

Reasons not to buy an iPad 2

As Apple ceo Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPad 2, many still thought not enough was done to improve the limitations the first ipad had.

  1. Still no Flash, USB, or expandable memory:
    When the iPad came out, many people were very disappointed by the absence of some basic features. A USB port for device-to-device communication, Flash support for a richer web browsing experience, and an SD card slot for expandable memory because these days the 64GB; the largest iPad memory capacity, can get you only so far. These features missing were criticised all around the world, so much so that Apple could not say they weren't aware of the criticism, and when the iPad 2 specs were unveiled, the absence of support for Flash, USB and SD was noticed.
  2. Competition:
    In a few months, the tablet market is going to be flooded with the much talked about Motorola Xoom, BlackBerry PlayBook, HTC Flyer, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and LG Optimus Tab. If you don't have a tablet computer yet, but thinking it offers you some benefits over say a lap top, waiting a few more months just may benefit you; especially if the features missing from the ipad 2 are required for your use.
  3. No retina display:
    Buyers of the new iPhone 4 and iPod Touch were impressed with the crispness of the retina display, but the ipad 2 has the same 1024x768 resolution, which means no watching your favourite TV shows in HD, so if that is a must have feature, you will want to see the Motorola Xoom.
  4. What was really upgraded?
    There's a new dual-core processor, which does make the ipad 2 faster, and two cameras, one at the front and one at the rear; but really that camera is surely not going to be used to take photographs, when you could at least pull out your smart phone and snap away; rather than holding up a tablet. Yes it is slimmer and lighter, and comes in black or white, but is that enough to have people wanting to upgrade from their current ipad? And with the first ipad dropping in price dramatically, will new customers in the market pay extra for the newer model?
  5. iPad 3:
    Apple, as do most manufacturers like to update every year, so you know there will be iPad 3 this time next year, probably slimmer, lighter, have a better screen, and be faster still. If enough people skip the iPad 2, Apple may introduce Flash, USB and SD support, and bring that forward; especially once the competitors tablets are in the market.


Final thoughts:
If you're sitting there with an iPad and wondering whether you should upgrade to the ipad 2, the rational answer is no. The iPad 2's thinner profile, added cameras and improved performance; or if watching TV on a small screen isn't important, probably aren't enough to justify buying a new one, I recommend you wait for the iPad 3 if you are a die hard Apple supporter, for others the comparison with other makes and models makes sense.



Related Article: Apple Profit Up Sharply on iPhone Sales, Apple Launches New ipad, Apple ipad Unveiled


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Tags: ipad, ipad 2, Apple, iphone, iphone 4, ipad 3, Reasons to buy an iPad 2, Reasons not to buy an iPad 2, ipad 2 Pricing



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