Just as the title says, Mobility Digest has the Apple iPad 2 and we are going to be busting out some reviews and content to let you in on what all the excitement is about. I have been waiting a long time for this device to be released having determined that I was indeed someone who would make use of this new mobile platform called a tablet. so lets jump right into this and get things started!
Mobility Digest Reviews: The Apple iPad 2!
Just after having bought my iPad 2 from Best Buy I had to hurry up to my son’s soccer game which I coach. It killed me to have this device in my vehicle unopened and waiting. After which I hurried home and got some pictures to share for the unboxing. The packaging the iPad 2 comes in is typical Apple. Well sealed and very plain. A simple picture of the device is all you get on the front. The back side of the package has no marketing what so ever and some simple disclaimers is all you get with the serial number.
Opening the package and removing the cover you are greeted to the actual device looking right up at you. No wasted space, no side protection, just the device. After getting past your first look at the device and getting it out of the package there is only a few things left to get out. First, there is a the AC Plug that is included and a similar Apple Sync cable. Just above that is a small package of literature that only has an iPad quick guide which is just a heavier stock paper with the basic functions and a 6 page “Important Product Information Guide”. I chose not to break from a time honored tradition among internet bloggers and read the guide and quickly chucked it aside and have not looked at it since! I will catch some flack over even mentioning this, but Apple also includes a couple stickers with the Apple Logo. My daughter has run off with those and I will not see them again.
First impression, the device is ridiculously thin. Steve Jobs touched on this at the Media Event Apple had on March 2nd. The iPad 2 is 33% thinner than the original iPad which was already a very thin device. It’s light, but very solid feeling from the first time you pick it up too. Weighing 1.3lbs which is down from the 1.5lbs the original weighed in at, this is not a wimpy device. Like the iPhone 4, it’s manufacturing is excellent and there is no doubt that Apple keeps their finger right on the production side of this device.
I have the iPhone 4 and an iPod touch 4th Generation and laid them all out and snapped off these pictures for your own eyes to see how thin this tablet is.
The iPad 2 is 8.8mm thick and as I mentioned above, 33% thinner than the original iPad that is 13.4mm thick. Here are some specs:
9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology
1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
Support for display of multiple languages and characters simultaneously
Both versions of the iPad 2 will come with 16gb, 32gb, and 64gb storage as your needs may require. The 3G version will come in at $130.00 more money. Wifi only version of the iPad 2 will be 16gb; $499, 32gb: $599, and 64gb will be $699. For the Wifi + 3G versions add $130 to each version listed above. 16gb: $629, 32gb: $729, and 64gb: $829.
The iPad 2 also comes running iOS 4.3 out of the box and the following iOS improvements over previous version 4.2:
iOS 4.3 to come on the iPad 2
2 new cameras are shown with the official Facetime app included.
They announce personal hotspot on the iPhone 4
iMovie for the iPad 2 is announced. $4.99 a month.
GarageBand also announced for the iPad 2 which really looks cool!
A new feature of the Apple iPad 2 is the front and rear facing cameras. For me, this is a none issue. I have absolutely no intention of using either on this device. The iPhone 4 has excellent camera capability but the fact that Apple choose to include them and use very sub par hardware make it subject for review and criticism no matter what the relevance of using a Tablet’s camera may be.
The front facing camera is a VGA camera. That’s a .3 megapixel camera. OK what about the camera on the back? It’s 720p (HD) so that should be promising, right? Well that typically means 1280 x 720 pixels but that’s just .92 megapixels. But worse, as Mashable points out, it may be the same cameras as the iPod Touch. That camera is noted as “HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still photos (960 x 720) with back camera.” That means that still photos are at an incredible .7 megapixels. I think they state it very well:
It seems impossible for Apple to put a decent camera into anything but the iPhone, and despite many hopes, both cameras in the iPad 2 are about as rudimentary as you could get without having to load a roll of film in there.
In fact, the iPad 2′s camera has more in common with the low-res camera in the iPod Touch than it does to the rather excellent one in the iPhone 4.
So maybe this is really just a stepping stone for the much rumored iPad 3 which is alleged to also come in 2011 with a retina display. In the end, video should be fine on the iPad 2, but still photos will be all flip phone style. Still standing in line for it?
Okay, enough of the camera, lets take a walk around the device and finish this up.
The Apple iPad 2 retains a single return button on the bottom which has become the common place for Apple devices. However, if rumors are true, we will not see the button on the next iPad or iPhone. It will come with just a touch screen for controlling the navigation of the device. On the top side of the iPad 2 is the VGA front facing camera and that is all you get on the front. On the device’s right hand side, there is a volume up and down and just above that is the mute switch. The left side of the device has no controls or buttons. The bottom of the iPad 2 only has the sync port which is the norm again using the same proprietary Apple Plug to sync and charge with. The top of the device has the power on/off button on the far right hand side and a 3.5mm audio jack on the left. The back side of the iPad 2 has the speaker at the bottom left of the device and a mic just behind the front facing camera. Just below the power button is the rear facing camera.
The Apple iPad 2 is a very solid and well built device. My initial thoughts on the build quality is excellent. It’s hard to not notice the cameras and know that for some reason the iPhone 4 hard ware was not included and instead Apple choose to use iPod camera technology. Everything else with this device has been stellar.
Firing up the device brings you to the now famous and familiar Apple iOS layout with plenty of icons spread out over two pages. There are some new things that I will cover more in depth in another review, but this device is fast. The first thing I loaded on my iPad 2 was Infinity Blade. I really like this game and wanted to see the A5 dual core processor play these amazing graphics. It performed beautifully and played the game without the first sign of any hang ups. Setting the iPad 2 up, loading apps, and browsing is excellent.
Overall this is an excellent tablet, easily the best I have used so far. The design is innovative, the hardware is excellent, and iOS 4.3 is rock solid with an app for just about everything. Stay tuned for more on the iPad 2 coming soon. Now go away so I can go back to playing Infinity Blade!
Here are a couple pictures of the accessories I bought that I will cover at a later date and another part of this review series