For everyone who got an iPad for Christmas, I have bad news for you and your mom: she should have waited a couple months. The new iPad 2 was announced today during one of Apple’s Steve Jobs–led press conferences (yes, Steve showed up) and will go on sale March 11, rendering your old iPad completely obsolete. Well, it’s not exactly obsolete; the new iPad is similar to its predecessor in many ways. However, the ways in which it differs are pretty drastic. The big changes are not only internal but external as well:
- The iPad 2 is thinner (even thinner than an iPhone 4) and lighter but still maintains the same price and battery life.
- It has a new processor that’s 2x faster.
- It now has a front and rear-facing camera, which is FaceTime compatible and can connect with another iPad, an iPhone/iPod touch, or a Mac.
- Separate HDMI connector compatibility.
- Upgraded Speakers.
- New built-in gyroscope.
- Upgraded operating system with simplified AirPlay.
- Available in black or white “frame.”
- iMovie and Garage Band apps, both only $5.
Here’s Apple’s video showing the new features:
After reading and recapping the Apple release event that Steve Jobs and friends put on today, I was very impressed by the capability of the new iPad. Yet, there are multiple features that were looked over/not addressed in the demonstration that I believe will hold back the new device:
- Micro-SD slot: Essentially a way to import videos and photos straight to your iPad without a camera connection kit, the micro-SD slot was a feature that most iPad enthusiast were hoping for but ultimately denied. The camera connection kits are available but cost money and are just another thing to lose.
- Screen: The same sun-glare problems that the old iPad had were not addressed on the new one and are a big drawback for people who like to use the device as an e-Reader.
- Flash: The Adobe software that is needed for some online games, websites and video players is again missing from the iPad. Most likely reason for the omission of the software is that it is a huge battery drain and, according to Jobs, “unstable.” Don’t expect Flash to ever show up on an iPad or iPhone.
- USB Connection: By not adding USB, Apple is limiting the number of drivers for printers, scanners, and more that you can install on the iPad.
- Thunderbolt Connection: There were rumors that Apple was going to upgrade from its archaic 30 pin to the new Thunderbolt connection, which is smaller, sturdier, and faster. However, I feel like this is a still a ways away as Apple would most likely have to upgrade the connection for all of its devices.
Despite these drawbacks, it is obvious that Apple has created another amazing device. I wouldn’t go as far to say they have reinvented the wheel — which is the sentiment you got from them in the presentation — as this device still cannot be put in the same class as a personal computer. I currently am writing this article on the computer that I got when I first entered college four years ago. After 2 new batteries, some superficial damage, and a new hard drive, my trusty laptop is on its last life. I finally decided it was time for an upgrade and have been considering whether I should just get an iPad and ditch my laptop. But as inviting as the sleek, sexy device is, I eventually realized it didn’t make sense because I could not replace the word processing and compatibility with outside devices that aren’t available with the iPad. Apple and Steve Jobs believe this device is something else and shouldn’t be compared to PCs like other tablet makers have been doing:
This is worth repeating. It's in Apple's DNA that technology is not enough. It's tech married with the liberal arts and the humanities. Nowhere is that more true than in the post-PC products. Our competitors are looking at this like it's the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive.
So the question is “Is Jobs right or wrong?” Is the iPad a PC lacking key features or a completely new category of device? The next couple of years will tell.
Highlights from the iPad2 Event:
Right off the bat, Steve Jobs made sure to point how iPads are just face-f*cking the competition, with 15 million iPads sold in just 9 months, generating $9.5 billion in revenue and over 90% market share.
Next came a video about how 2010 was the year of the iPad. They showed so very “pro bono” uses of the iPad such as a teaching tool in Chicago schools, where they have seen “huge gains” in student performance; as a doctor’s aid in a hospital, leading to more time spent with patients; and as a stimulating educational tool for autistic kids. Apple really tugged at the heart strings of the audience with this video, and from the sound of those in attendance, it was moving.
Once the sappy, heartfelt stuff was over, Jobs went right back to attacking the competition, dubbing 2011 as the “Year of the Copycats?” We get it, the iPad is the best tablet, but now you’re just kicking the other companies when they’re down.
Finally came the differences in the actual iPad in terms of upgraded software, hardware, and add-ons:
Appearance, Hardware and Price:
- The new iPad will be dramatically faster, all thanks to a new chip called the A5 – dual-core processor, which will give the device up to 2x faster CPU and 9x faster graphics.
- The new iPad will have a front- and rear-facing camera built in that will allow for FaceTime video calling and HD-quality videos and pictures. More on the integrated features with camera to come.
- The new iPad will feature a built-in gyroscope like the one on the iPhone 4, which allow apps and games to get detailed, precise information about the iPad’s movement in all three dimensions.
- The exterior of the iPad was redesigned to be 33% thinner (from 13.4 mm to 8.8 mm) by removing the rectangular structural wall around the outside and it has managed to shed .2 lbs, going from 1.5 to 1.3 lbs. Fun fact: The new iPad will actually be thinner than the iPhone 4, which measures 9.3 mm. This loss of weight and thickness is pretty amazing when you consider all of the new features that have been added and that the battery life and price have stayed the same
- There will be two color options for the iPad 2: white and black. And while this doesn’t sound that important, I have a friend who waited six months to upgrade to the iPhone 3GS because Apple hadn’t released the white version. Yes, he’s a complete idiot but my point is some people care about little dumb things like the color of their Apple product.
- There will be options for both AT&T and Verizon right off the bat.
- As I said before, the iPad will have the same 10-hour battery life — and a month of standby life — despite all the new additions and thinness. And the iPad will stay at the same price despite all the upgrades, still starting at $499 and up depending on the model (options are 16, 32, 64 GB models with or without 3G).
The new iPad is compatible with an “HDMI mirrored video output” that allows you to output your iPad in up to 1080p HD. The connector plugs into the 30-pin slot, allows for charging while being used, and hooks right up to a projector, PC or TV, displaying exactly what you’re touching on your iPad on a bigger screen. This will now allow anyone who wants to show off their iPad at work to put their presentations right onto a screen. The connector is priced at $39, and that doesn’t include an HDMI cable.
Easily one of the coolest new features of the iPad 2 has to be the new case. It’s pretty complex and a little hard to explain so I’ll rely on some pictures to help. It is a folding, 4-sectioned thin “smart cover” that is polyurethane or leather on the outside and microfiber on the inside to keep the screen clean. Here are some other amazing features:
- The cover puts the iPad in sleep mode while covering it and wakes it up when removed.
- It just covers the top, and is very thin, thus adding minimal weight and thickness.
- Fold it into a short triangle and prop up the iPad and you have a nice angle for typing. Fold it into a tall triangle, and it’s an instant standing display.
- It comes in leather ($69) or polyurethane ($39) with five colors for each material.
- It’s very easy to remove/change so you can have a few interchangeable ones (read: Apple thinks you’re dumb and wants you to buy different colors so you can use your iPad cover color to express your mood).
- It’s held on by magnets, which are built into the frame of the iPad.
New iOS 4.3 Operating System:
New Camera-Compatible Software:
The iPad 2 has new PhotoBooth software built in, which includes nine different special effects, in case you ever feel the need to distort your face.
The new device also includes a FaceTime app, one of the more anticipated additions to this iPad. The software will work in multiple arrangements: between two iPads, an iPad and an iPhone/iPod touch, and iPad and Mac. It is hailed as being great for video chats because the iPad is just about the size of a person’s face and you will now be able to clearly see all their expressions — forever changing the webcam sex game as you will now be able to clearly see the grimace in your partner’s O-face.
iMovie for iPad
Apple announced that its popular movie editing software, iMovie, while be available for the new iPad. The app, which will cost a measly $5 starting March 11, has some pretty cool capabilities:
- A precision editor and multitrack audio recording.
- The start-up interface has an old-timey theatre theme and each movie has a poster based on the theme, a savvy interface you would expect from Apple.
- You can record directly into the timeline with the touch of the camera button, adding clips right into the movie.
- You can also adjust volume from clip to clip, add in up to 50 different sound effects, and put in music from your iTunes library.
- Finally, there are share buttons for YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, CNN iReport, and iTunes.
Garage Band for iPad
Apple also showed off a demo of its popular Garage Band app for the iPad, which will also be available on March 11. Some interesting and cool features for this app include the following:
- A huge set of touch instruments that respond to your pressure of touch to play louder or softer.
- Plug-in capabilities for guitars and other real instruments.
- Guitar amps and effects that anyone can play. It picks chords for you so anyone can play — talent no longer needed. Now every douche that walks around your campus with an iPad for his class notes can sit on the quad and play gay acoustic songs too!
- You can record and overlay up to eight different tracks/instruments at a time.