The Apple iPad 2, in addition to making the hailed Motorola Xoom look "bloated" and "obese," is fast, cool and still the one to beat, say early reviewers.
The Apple iPad
2 isn't incredibly different from its predecessor, according to a number of
March 10 reviews, arriving a day before the device itself
. But the changes Apple
has made, they suggest, are enough to ensure that Apple will remain the flush winner
in a game it created and has now upped the ante in.
paper, Apple didn't do much. It just made the iPad one-third thinner, 15
percent lighter and twice as fast. There are no new features except two cameras
and a gyroscope," David Pogue wrote in The New York Times
. "And then you
start playing with it."
Just that much
improvement, he continued, "transforms the experience."
John Gruber, on his blog Daring Fireball
, described the iPad 2 as an
is, Apple got it right with the iPad 1 in almost every way, and the iPad 2
reflects that," Gruber wrote. "If you didn't like the original iPad,
you're not going to like the iPad 2. If you liked the original iPad, you're
going to like the iPad 2 even better."
The cameras on
the front and back are welcome additions, but given that Apple designed them
for video and not still photography, their resolution is wanting.
company known for quality, which bundles a new still-photo application with the
device," wrote Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal
, "the cameras are
wasn't into the iPad 2's new rounded edges (which Pogue found to be part of its
"overall delight"). According to Mossberg, "The new, more
tapered design makes it harder to plug cables and accessories-including the
charging cable-into the main port on the bottom of the device, because it is
The iPad 2's
new dual-core processor, Mossberg added, makes for a "noticeable"
speed increase, but not a "dramatic" one. He also half-complained
about its battery. Which didn't not
meet Apple's claims, but didn't exceed
them by as much as the iPad did
. (Tough crowd!)
gripes: CEO Steve Jobs hasn't gotten over his issues with Adobe Flash, and so
the iPad 2 doesn't support it, as likely every Android-running tablet will.
Also, while the iPad 2 can connect via WiFi or 3G, it can't be upgraded to the
4G speeds now being offered by every major network.
says this is because the chips needed to do this are too immature, draining
battery life," wrote Mossberg. "But the [Motorola] Xoom promises to
be upgradeable to 4G later this year, though I have no idea how that upgrade
might affect its battery life or monthly fees."
It's in the
positives column that Xoom figures again. Sitting beside the svelte iPad 2,
Mossberg describes the Motorola tablet as looking "bloated," while
Pogue goes for "obese."
positives: The iPad 2 can connect to an HDTV, with the help of a $40 adapter.
There's Apple's burst-at-the-seams App Store, which includes more than 65,000
applications specifically for the iPad, and the more expensive models can
access 3G connectivity on the Verizon or AT&T networks without committing
to a two-year contract. Pogue suggested that choosing the right pricing plan-AT&T,
for example, offers a $15 a month, 250MB plan, or 2GB for $25-"requires a
graduate degree in forensic accounting." But it's pretty convenient
that users can sign up for the service right when they need it, from the iPad
2. "You can turn on service only when you'll be traveling, for
example," Pogue wrote.
there's the sold-separately Smart Cover, available for $40 in one of five
colors in polyurethane or $70 for one of five colors in leather. While a
cover isn't something generally entitled to column inches in the old gray lady,
"Apple's new cover is a perfect symbol of its fondness for high-tech magic
tricks," wrote Pogue. More than a screen protector, it cleans, it's
fashionable and it's darn handy for propping the tablet to make watching videos
or typing on the on-screen keyboard more pleasurable.
named Smart Cover, wrote Gruber, was the star of a recent hands-on demo.
don't really have to try to line it up when attaching it. Just get the hinge
vaguely in the vicinity of the left edge of the iPad, and it acts like a robot
that knows how to (and wants to) connect itself," he continued. " It
jumps into place, and the near-perfection of its automatic alignment is
uncanny. There are no indentations, notches or visible marks along the side of
the iPad 2. It just works. And note: An iPad 2 wearing a Smart Cover is
considerably thinner than a naked original iPad."
To buy or not
The Associated Press'
Rachel Metz suggested that "should you feel the urge to have the latest
and greatest ... go for it. Chances are, it will be the best tablet in town-at
least until the iPad 3 arrives."
while expecting that Apple will soon give up some of the market share it has
been hogging, nonetheless wrote that, with the iPad 2, Apple "moves the
goal posts" and that he can "comfortably recommend it as the best
tablet for average consumers."
In the Times,
Pogue reminded readers that, at a price that beats many of the iPad 2's competitors
-the same pricing as the
original iPad-it's easy to let your heart, instead of your head, control your
wallet, and to purchase a device that no one really needs but that most, once
their hands are on one, will find hard to resist.