The iPad 2 has been announced, finally putting to rest months and months of rumors and speculation. Whether or not you’re impressed with the new hardware is all about personal opinion, but it’s probably safe to say that Apple’s improvements to the iPad 2 versus the original tablet device are worthwhile. But, with speculation swirling that the announcement about the iPad 2 wouldn’t be all that worthwhile before the event, can we say that the industry will be shifted on its side again from the unveiling of this new tablet from Apple?
From a personal standpoint, I can see the iPad 2 as being a minor update for Apple. While the hardware has been updated (which isn’t surprising), the same screen size and resolution is slightly disappointing. I wasn’t expecting a Retina Display, but some change would have been nice. I imagine the old saying, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” probably applies here. It’s got the same battery life as the original iPad, and despite the fact they’re throwing in a bunch of new features it’s still the same price. Which, of course, is a good thing. There’s no upgrade to memory, either.
As for the specifications themselves: Apple’s got a new, dual-core processor they’re calling the A5. Apple says it’s two times faster than the A4, which is impressive in of itself, and it has 9 times the graphics processing power. It’s also got the same low power consumption as the original A4 processor found in the iPad. It’s 33% thinner than the original iPad, and it’s actually thinner than the iPhone 4, at its thinnest point: 8.8mm. There’s a front facing camera and a camera on the back of the device as well. There are 16, 32, and 64GB options right out of the gate.
It begs the question, though: did Apple intentionally roll out the iPad 2 in a manner that would make some assume something better is coming sooner rather than later? It would be interesting to think that Apple’s focusing on the third generation tablet device, and felt it necessary to simply release the second version of the tablet due to their self-imposed yearly schedule. That may seem like the case to some, but I can’t agree with that.
Even if the iPad 2 is a stopgap of sorts, it isn’t a bad tablet by any means. It’s still a top-contender for the King of Tablets crown, especially with the hardware. But, it’s the software that can’t be ignored in its own right: iOS 4.3. It isn’t iOS 5 (so, June then?), but it’s a worthy upgrade. You’ll be able to access all of your iTunes content over WiFi thanks to iTunes’ Home Sharing ability, which is built into iOS 4.3. And for the iPhone 4, there’s a new personal hotspot feature. And obviously Apple made sure that FaceTime made an appearance on the new iPad. It may not be as robust as some would like, or even expected, but at least it’s got new features.
I don’t think the iPad 2 is going to change the industry like the original did, but that’s not surprising to tell you the truth. It is a tablet that’s wroth the attention of customers all over the planet, and I’m sure it will be swooped up in ridiculous amounts, just like the first version, but the iPad 2 won’t be changing any industry standards. Except maybe how thin a tablet can be. What do you think? Is the iPad 2 worth the money? Or will you be holding off for the third version, which is rumored to be announced later this year? Let me know in the comments below.