Steve Jobs stunned the world after taking the stage today. But as exciting as it was to see Jobs back on stage, there was some business to be taken care of. It came in the form of the iPad 2. So, is it everything we have come to expect?
The iPad 2 has had so many rumors that it was hard to keep track of everything that had taken place over the past few months. But it appears that many of the rumors were true. However, there have been a few hidden surprises along the way, and there are also some that may shock you.
So let’s jump right in and talk about what was announced today at the iPad 2 event.
The iPad 2 is receiving an overhaul in the design department. The new iPad 2 will measure in at an incredible 8.8mm thick, which is much thinner than the 13.4mm original iPad. It is also thinner than the iPhone 4, believe it or not.
The iPad 2 also went on a diet: the tablet now weighs 601g for the WiFi version, as compared to the 680g of the original WiFi iPad. Early previews are already mentioning that the device does, in fact, feel lighter and easier to carry.
There has also been a radical color change. The iPad 2 will brighten things up a bit because it is now shipping in white instead of black.
Power was also a theme in today’s announcement. The iPad 2 will receive a respectable Apple A5 1GHz dual-core processor, which will replace the 1GHz A4 processor in the original iPad. This new processor should make multi-processing and other processor-intensive applications run much smoother on the iPad 2.
However, a select few might view this as a disappointment. Nvidia and other chip manufacturers have been producing quad-core processors, and they are shipping as we speak. And while it is not yet known if tablet computers will benefit heavily from a quad-core processor over a dual-core processor, it certainly couldn’t have hurt, right? It might not be that big of an issue, but it is interesting to note that there will be more powerful tablet computers than the iPad 2 on the market — but the pricing and software is key.
For those hoping for saving a few bucks for your patience (like me), you might be saddened to learn that the iPad 2 will be remaining at the same pricing points as before. The original iPad, of course, is getting cheaper, though. But until the competition can lower their pricing to the iPad’s levels, I feel as if the iPad doesn’t have much to worry about.
But some have noticed that iOS 4.3 was only mentioned to be making an appearance on GSM devices. If this wasn’t an error, this means that the Verizon iPhone will not be receiving the iOS 4.3 update on March 11, which would surely be somewhat disappointing. We’ll keep monitoring the situation.
Verizon and AT&T Support
Even if iOS 4.3 doesn’t hit the Verizon iPhone, some will be happy to learn that the iPad 2 will be capable of running on either network. The iPad 2 now has the ability to run on Verizon and AT&T’s network, courtesy of Apple integrating the GSM and CDMA radios to support both companies’ bands for running on their network. This means that consumers won’t need to purchase a new iPad if they decide to switch networks, which is a smart move for Apple.
Unfortunately, there is no 4G support (yet). There had been high hopes with AT&T and Verizon announcing their plans for 4G expansion in the future, and it seems that the iPad 2 would have been a premiere device to take advantage of the new network technology. But it hasn’t come to be. The iPad 3 is probably the best guess of when 4G will make its way to Apple’s tablet device.
Front- and Rear-Facing Cameras
For those who were upset that the original iPad didn’t have cameras, they will be happy to learn that the iPad 2 has two cameras. One front-facing camera for taking shots for Facebook profile pictures and FaceTime, and one rear-facing camera that can record 720p video for sharing cute kitten videos on YouTube.
This should do well to promote the iPad’s ability to be used as a content creation device, instead of only a content consumption device.
iMovie and Garage Band
Once you finish recording videos with your iPad 2 cameras, you can load them into Apple’s new iMovie application for iPad. From what I have seen it looks to offer a nice way for people to edit their videos directly on their iPad. It will cost $5 in the App Store.
You can also play with Garage Band on your iPad 2, as Apple has also produced a version for their tablet device that is also $5 in the App Store. It features 8-track recording, touch-sensitive input, and hundreds of pre-packaged loops to get musicians started.
Both applications will be available on March 11.
Some were worried that the iPad 2 would be a minor upgrade that would be overshadowed by the Verizon iPhone and iPhone 5 rumors. I was one of those people. But I must say that upon learning all of the new features that the iPad 2 will have, I think it is a resounding success.
Users are receiving much-desired features like dual-cameras, faster processing, Verizon and AT&T support, and a thinner iPad device. In truth, it is more than I actually expected. All of these features are nothing to shake a stick at, and they make me believe that this is a true upgrade. It might just be worth purchasing, even if you do have an original iPad.
This leaves me to believe that the iPad 3 will be a minor upgrade that features an improved processor, slight tweaks, and 4G support. Perhaps the iPad 3 will receive a Retina display, but only time will tell.
For right now, however, the iPad 2 deserves its moment in the spotlight. It will be an impressive device come March 11, and I am sure that consumers will be lining up to purchase Apple’s flagship device that represents the future of mobile computing.