The iPad 2 is here, and it’s… - Macenstein

The iPad 2 is here, and it’s…

Well, the long-rumored iPad 2 has finally been revealed, thus allowing us to dismiss it entirely and focus our attention to the newly rumored iPad 3. But before we all begin penning our wish lists for the 3rd generation of Apple’s tablet – imagining how great it will be and then deciding to wait for THAT instead – let’s give the iPad 2 its deserved 15 seconds of fame.


First, the facts

Well, it looks like those last minute shots from Boy Genius Reports were right. Apple unveiled the iPad 2 today, and as predicted, the iPad has lost some weight (the new model is about 33% thinner) gotten a set of video cameras (front and back), a faster processor (the new dual-core A5 processor – first real dual-core tablet to ship in volume), a 9x boost in graphics performance, and a choice of colors (with both black AND white shipping at launch!). We also got a choice of carriers, with native versions for both AT&T and Verizon.

As for accessories, there’s a new HDMI video out cable (running at 1080p) that will work with ANY app on the iPad, so basically the iPad can now double as a presentation device. There’s also a crazy new magnetic case (available in 5 colors) that turns on the iPad when opened, cleans the screen automatically, and doubles as a stand. Both of these will run you $39 (a leather version of the case will set you back $69).

We also got a peak at iOS 4.3, which will be a free download on March 11th, the same day as the iPad 2 will be available. iOS 4.3 doesn’t seem to have too much new going for it aside from the improved homesharing thing which lets you FINALLY stream your home media (music and video) from your PC to your iOS device – but the mute switch can now be set back to an orientation lock via a preference pane (as expected), so that’s something. Apple also showed off iMovie and Garageband for the iPad, which I have zero interest in.


My thoughts

So, quite a few nice changes for the iPad 2. Of course, if you like to complain, there’s still plenty of things to pick on. My favorites are that the battery life, screen resolution, price and most importantly, STORAGE SPACE all remain unchanged. The iPad 2 is 3G not 4G, and is still is missing an SD port for added storage despite gaining the ability to shoot and edit giant video files. The cameras are “only” 720p for the rear, and an anemic VGA for the front, but given their intended uses, (and Apple’s need to have something to improve in the iPad 3) this is forgivable.

I’m still somewhat baffled by the amount of effort Apple has put into iMovie for the iPhone, and now iPad. I honestly can’t think of anyone who would really use the iPad to edit a Movie, let alone shoot one on it. Sure, there’s the odd gimmicky foreign director who’ll make a movie entirely on his iPhone 4, but honestly, that makes more sense to me than doing it on the iPad which would be fairly cumbersome to shoot with. I suppose the idea here is Apple thinks laptops will fade away and tablets will inherit the Earth, so why not get a head start in defining how the apps of the present will function on the hardware of the future? Still, iMovie for iPad, and now GarageBand as well, both seem like those kinds of apps that 5 people will use to make a really impressive video that will go viral on YouTube, and the rest of us will either optimistically download and never use, or ignore altogether.

So, is this a must-upgrade update? Thankfully, no. At least not yet. Given I have yet to use Facetime on my iPhone, the idea of using it on the iPad is not enough for me to make the leap, nor is idea of being able to shoot or edit video and record my new #1 hit song on the tablet. And honestly, my 1st gen iPad’s 64 GB of storage is completely maxed out as it is with apps, shows and movies for the kids, so without a 128 GB storage bump, I’m not upgrading. However, if you do not yet own an iPad, Apple has certainly removed most of the major roadblocks (aside from Flash support) that are likely keeping you away. If I didn’t already own one, I would now.

And you may notice that when contemplating upgrading, I said “not yet” versus a flat out “no”. What’s great about Apple’s new iOS ecosystem (at least great for APPLE) is that while I couldn’t care less about iMovie or Garageband pushing the hardware to its max, odds are two months from now someone WILL create an amazing app or game that appeals to me that will only run on this supped up iPad 2 hardware, and I will have to revisit the upgrade question. But for the moment, I’m happy enough with the old iPad.

Besides, the Bride of Macenstein says I can’t have it anyway.

12 Responses to “The iPad 2 is here, and it’s…”
  1. Thai says:

    I have to agree…another passover at my house. I wish they trimmed the dead space around the screen. Taking 1/2 inch off top, bottom, and sides would make it very portable. Something THAT big and thinner than iphone 4, seems fragile.

  2. Colin says:

    You’ve got to start somewhere. While I’m sure there aren’t going to be any Hollywood movies produced on the iPad anytime soon you can’t expect Apple to say “And here’s the iPad 7, we’ve finally tweaked everything perfectly so you can use your Final Cut setup right on the iPad”.

    While I don’t see the iMovie app as a complete replacement (yet) it will be really nice on vacation to start mocking stuff up and making sure all the shots work without having to bring my MBP along. (Yes, I take vacation videos seriously).

    On the other hand, the GarageBand app looks great for musicians. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next few years we start seeing more “iPad” albums (like the Gorillaz did) and more out of convenience than novelty.

  3. right_geek says:

    Oh wait, so it was not OK to say “meh” to the new MacBooks, but it is OK to say “meh” to the new iPad?

    You confuse me, doctor.

  4. @right_geek


    – the Doc

  5. Rodney says:

    Hey Doc, iMovie is pretty useful on a portable device. I recently used my iPhone to shoot interviews at a trade show, edited them right on my phone, and then sent the videos via FTP to a server running the video display screens at the show and to YouTube. This saved a ton of time over previous years where we shot video, downloaded to a Mac, edited in Final Cut, and then sent it to the displays. Not to mention, I didn’t have to carry much extra gear. So, while this is a very specific function, it was truly useful and worth every penny of the $5 that I spent on it.

  6. PhillyG says:

    Apple brought iPhoto and iMovie to the iPad because they added video cameras to the iPad. If you don’t like them, then you get to save five bucks! Each!

  7. Court says:

    What happened to the good, the bad and the meh?

  8. Chris Leither says:

    My thoughts exactly, Doc.

    And, hell yeah, the new MBPs are far from a ‘meh’ update… while this here kind of is.
    I actually think, that this is what the FIRST iPad should have been, to begin with.

    But all that aside… I’m still plenty happy with my ‘obsolete’ iPad (1).

  9. MIke says:

    Hmm. I bought my dual-core tegra 2 tablet in December. Of course, “real” can mean whatever you want it to, so claiming the iPad2 is the “first real dual-core tablet to ship in volume” is true, but meaningless.

  10. ArtOfWarfare says:

    I’m surprised how little was known about this in advance.

    The features that really resonated most for me:

    Photobooth (my girlfriend and me enjoy playing with it on my iMac… but we’re rarely home so that rarely happens… I could easily see us playing with this to pass the time on the bus or whatnot.)
    Facetime (against, me and my girlfriend frequently video chat in Skype, having video chats go mobile sounds like fun.)
    iMovie (I too take vacation and trip videos semi-seriously… for example, I spent an hour one night to put together a three minute video of a trip to the beach and zoo to upload to facebook… I take pride in the things I share on Facebook.)

    GarageBand didn’t resonate with me personally, but I have several musically inclined friends who I expect will love it.

    Homesharing will be cool… but unless Apple intends to remove the need to be on the same wi-fi network… well, it’s too limited. If it wasn’t limited, I could free up 20 GB on my iPhone 3GS currently occupied by music. That would make for a great excuse for the lack of a 64 GB model.

    TV Out looks like it has amazing potential to get the iPad into the classroom. I can see several of my teachers abandoning their laptops for iPads. I’m contemplating buying an iPad 2 instead of a MacBook Pro for school right now… IDK, I’ll need to keep thinking, I mean, computers are still needed and my iMac is 3 and a half years old now…

  11. MacinScott says:

    Still waiting for Multiple Users. Maybe, just maybe, that feature will make it into iOS 4.4

    Anyone else see this as a glaring omission?

  12. iPads for everyone! says:

    I think it will be just enough better to make the upgrade now. I am curious which, if either, of the 3G providers will allow FaceTime over 3G? Grandmas around the country will be getting that one from their kids rather than upgrading grandma to dsl with wifi.

    Competition is great for us!

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