It’s finally in my hands: iPad 2. After seeing it online last week, I knew I wanted one, but now that I have one I’d like to share with you whether iPad 2 actually lives up to the expectations I’ve developed from watching the announcement and reading about the device on Apple’s site. Just how much thinner is it? Does it feel any different than the original iPad? How about that Smart Cover?
The most obvious difference between iPad 2 and the original is the thinness. Apple must have put iPad 2 on a model diet, because this thing is 33% thinner, and it’s noticeable. You can’t see its inner structure protruding like ribs, but it’s obvious you’re holding a very thin device. It’s thinner than iPhone 4, which has to be seen to be fully appreciated. It’s kind of hard to visualize this in your head, so sadly, I won’t be able to fully describe it for you. Just know that you probably wouldn’t want an iPad sized device to be much thinner unless they develop a way to just create a slab of screen and nothing else.
The screen seems to be the same as the original; same brightness and resolution. The cameras are a nice addition, but I’m not sure how much use either one is going to get from most people. I don’t think the purpose here is for them to actually be used as a normal camera, but instead as tools for FaceTime. For that purpose, they’ll be adequate for the next year until Apple undoubtedly will slap an HD tag at the end of FaceTime for iPad 3. Actually, it’s almost painful to use the front facing camera since its resolution is so low. You can get away with it on a device with a smaller screen, like iPhone 4, but the large screen here really showcases just how bad this camera really is.
I haven’t really had enough time to test how much faster iPad 2 is, but the dual core processor and extra RAM definitely help. I can say that it will be fun to see what developers get this thing to do.
And the last thing I want to talk about right now is the new Smart Cover. This accessory is pretty cool. Now only does it protect the front of your iPad 2, it adds a bunch of extra features. First, it unlocks your iPad 2 just by flipping it open. If you articulate the cover just right, it can be used as a makeshift stand. Or what I prefer most, just flip it to the back of iPad 2 to protect the back while in use. There’s just something about setting any of my expensive devices directly on surfaces that bothers me and this solves that worry easily. Actually, there’s just enough magnetic pull to keep it on the back most of the time. If it were a bit stronger, it would be perfect. It connects to the side of your iPad 2 via magnets, which Science will teach you are not miracles.
Well, that’s all I have for you now. GarageBand is calling my name.
Read Unboxed: iPad 2 [video].