During the special media event held on March 2nd Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs surprised everyone by attending the event and unveiling the new iPad 2. Jobs has been on a medical leave for an undisclosed duration, but was present for the keynote presentation and kicked off the event by saying, “we’ve been working on this product for a while and I just didn’t wanna miss today.”
The new iPad 2 is a complete re-design and boasts significant improvements which will make many first gen iPad owners want to take the plunge and list their previous generation iOS device on eBay and order the second gen tablet.
Apple has a long tradition of improving their products as they update their lineup each year. We had already reported on rumors and reports about new iPad being thin but just couldn’t imagine how thin it could be. For a second gen device, iPad has shaved down to a third in thickness which is remarkable and in the bargain it has shed some weight too. For a mobile device with 9.7 inch screen the thickness and weight is an important aspect of the design as one would expect a tablet computer to be thin and lighter. It’s interesting to note that Jobs actually pointed this fact as a flaw in many of the upcoming tablet computers and said that most of them are thicker than the original iPad. Apple’s second gen iPad is just 8.8 mm thick which is even thinner than the iPhone 4.
The new iPad will come in same 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage capacities (in white and black color) with an option to either opt for WiFi or WiFi+3G with separate model for GSM and CDMA networks. So, be sure to select the correct model when ordering your new iPad.
Many reports claimed that iPad 2 will feature a high resolution display just like the retina display on iPhone 4, however Apple did not update the display and it supports only 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch with LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology.
The original iPad featured Apple’s own custom A4 processor and it’s a very natural step for Apple to continue to work on a better processor which provides faster performance while not being power hungry. iPad 2 ships with A5 dual-core processor (1GHz) which would provide up to 2X faster CPU performance. While many believe that iPad 2 features 512MB RAM Apple decided not to share the actual tech specs. The original iPad was fast and even if you had multiple applications open while multitasking, the performance never seemed to show significant drop. iPad is not just for browsing the web and creating documents; it’s a perfect entertainment device. So, in order to enhance the video and graphics capabilities of the second gen iPad Apple has improved the graphics by up to 9 times. Now, it’s not clear if the GPU can do OpenCL and we will just have to wait for the device to ship so that ifixit can publish the teardown. Nonetheless, we expect second gen iPad to offer stunning graphics for games. Joe Wee, Co-founder of Chillingo commented on Apple’s announcement:
The iPad 2 has some significant benefits over the first generation device for developers, particularly the increased processing and graphics capabilities, which will improve the overall user experience and game presentation.
Ever since Apple introduced FaceTime it was almost given that they will add it to the entire product lineup to help grow the video calling ecosystem on Apple’s devices. So, the addition of front camera was not much of a surprise. The rear facing camera does recording at 720p and also allows you to use it for FaceTime. Both cameras allow you to take stills and offer photo and video geotagging over Wi-Fi. Apple has always excelled in integrating hardware and software. They didn’t just add the cameras but also ship PhotoBooth and FaceTime with the device and additionally you can also buy iMovie and GarageBand for $4.99 each on the App Store. So, Apple provides you with every tool to take great videos, edit them, create music and publish your project. This is one of the major reasons why iPad 2 provides a superior user experience when compared with any other offering in the market.
Steve Jobs called iPad’s battery life “legendary” as it continues to hold power for up to 10 hours. This is something which we think could be a deciding factor for many consumers when selecting a tablet computer. One would expect a tablet PC to offer impressive battery life when compared with a laptop so that they can watch more videos, surf the web, email, listen to music, create presentation or use other productivity apps when on the move.
iPad 2 features all the sensors you would expect from Apple which include accelerometer, ambient light sensor and three-axis gyro. If you plan to use Apple’s tablet for location aware or augmented reality apps then you should choose WiFi+3G model as it offers accurate location using the cellular network and also includes assisted GPS. However, you’ll find WiFi aware location and digital compass in all the models.
The iPad 2 does not include a SD card slot, LED flashlight or a 5 MP camera. There will certainly be many users who expect their tablet computer to offer ports for enhanced functionality and this might turn out to be a major flaw for some users.
We believe that users would just take casual stills with the iPad camera and would probably use their iPhone camera to take better photos but the lack of LED flashlight will certainly impact even the video quality in low-light conditions.
So, that was a brief rundown of the tech specs and what iPad 2 could offer you. What do you think? Is iPad 2 the perfect tablet computer? Let us know what you think.