Apple iPad 2
Apple iPad 2
Apple has unveiled the sequel to its iPad tablet, one of the biggest surprises of last year. The iPad 2 launches in March 2011 and although it is evolutionary rather than revolutionary it is certainly a step in the right direction.
From a physical point of view Apple has achieved the impossible, reducing the thickness of the iPad 2 by 30 per cent to its predecessor and actually making it slimmer than the iPhone 4. It is also 90 grams lighter than the original iPad, which may not sound like a lot but can make a big difference when you are holding it for extended periods. The iPad 2 is designed to be held in the hand for a majority of the time, but Apple has made it easier to lay on a flat surface or rest on a stand by flattening its back, eliminating the curve which could prove problematic.
Inside the iPad 2 is a brand new dual core A5 processor which is up to twice as fast as that in the original. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that it would be nine times more powerful in the graphics department, which is quite a boast and one which should excite gamers and app designers who really want to stretch the visual capabilities of the device.
Apple has embraced the world of photography by equipping the iPad 2 with not one but two cameras. The front-facing camera is designed for FaceTime, its video calling service which uses Wi-Fi to make personal conversations easy over the airwaves. On the rear you have a high megapixel unit for taking still photos and also recording video clips in HD, just like the iPhone 4. Whether users will actually ditch their standalone digital cameras in favour of their tablet is debatable, but it is good to see Apple keeping up with the competition.
All that extra processing power is put to good use not only in games like the gorgeous Infinity Blade but also in the running of new services which will be integrated into the iPad 2`s software. GarageBand, a favourite of Apple computer owners, is becoming available for the iPad, bringing with it virtual instruments, amps and recording which will surely win over more musicians to the device. Apple has also improved iMovie to make editing and playback a doddle and it is harnessing the full dual core setup to its advantage.
The one area in which the iPad 2 has not moved forward is the display. Early indications suggest it is almost identical to the LED backlit model seen on the original. This is fairly acceptable, although its lack of a true widescreen resolution and the rumours of a Retina Display with improved pixel density make it something of a letdown to anyone who has been following the device up to its launch.