The Apple iPad 2 is about to hit European shelves, fresh form a diet and exercise regime that’s helped it shed weight and build muscle. Faster, thinner and lighter is an accurate account of what’s been going on in the year that divides the two editions of Apple’s tablet.
Apple is taking it easy with the upgrades as usual – everything is carefully planned to ensure smooth traffic of new and repeat customers. It’s weirdly inconsistent with the hype about every new release. Anyway, faster-thinner-lighter is a fair deal to offer new users without making the original iPad adopters feel duped.
It’s a sequel from the creators of a blockbuster. The iPad 2 is in no mood to start a revolution. But evolution should be good enough considering the original iPad is yet to be beaten.
The list of disadvantages of any iOS device is the usual long read. Apple’s iOS has limitations that we all have to live with. Apple will never bring Flash support, allow regular file management or make iTunes (or at least the mandatory cable connection) optional. As to the actual iPad 2, if you want real GPS functionality you have no choice but to opt for the 3G-enabled model, which adds $120 to the regular bill.
But if you’re willing to forgive the shortcomings, the iPad 2 brings both a performance upgrade and a redesign. The tablet is powered by the new Apple A5 SoC, with a dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 processor, PoverVR SGX543MP2 graphics and 512MB RAM.
The Apple iPad 2 comes to address one of the main issues of the original iPad: weight. And while the handling is improved we’re less certain about the aesthetics. True, it’s an impressively thin tablet (slimmer than the iPhone 4) but uses the older generation iPhone design.
Anyway, the speed boost is all there and we’ve enjoyed some impressive performance in our early tests. The Facetime video-calls and 720p videos are nice add-ons too. Unfortunately, higher screen resolution is too much of an upgrade to ask for in only the second release.
The iPad 2 has its ups and downs but, like it or not, it will sell in millions just like the original. But Apple is probably keeping a wary eye on the Android army readying a massive deployment in the coming months.
That’s still to come though. For the time being, the Apple iPad 2 gets our full attention. Follow us on the next page where we start exploring Apple’s new tablet.