You have to hand it to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. No matter how ill he may be, his showmanship and stage presence remain undimmed. So much so that it took, as it often does, days for the euphoria of the iPad 2 unveiling to wear off. As that happened, though, I, like others, started to have these little, "Hey, wait a minute…" moments. And from there, the inevitable questions about the latest magical device from Apple started piling up. Here are the ones I've been considering or hearing from others. Fortunately, I think we have answers for virtually all of them.
Why No Memory Specs?
Apple's busy touting the iPad 2's huge performance increase (over the original), which comes courtesy of the A5 chip. That makes sense, a dual-core processor should beat the pants off a single core CPU. However, as with any computer, the CPU is only part of the performance story. What's the easiest way to increase system performance? Add memory. We know that the first-generation iPad has 256MB of RAM, but Apple isn't saying how much is in the iPad 2. "More" seems like a reasonable guess.
Why No 4G?
Apple's new best friend, Verizon, has a brand-new LTE network, but you won't find 4G on the new Verizon iPhone 4 or the latest-gen iPad. Why is that? Price is one reason: Adding a 4G radio would certainly have increased the price on the top-of-the line iPad 2. Also, Apple pays pretty close attention to the market and early market research indicated that almost 50 percent of potential iPad buyers were picking up a Wi-Fi-only model (Apple does not break out Wi-Fi-only iPad sales figures). I have a 3G-ready iPad, but I've never activated the service (I find ample Wi-Fi access almost everywhere I use my iPad). I suspect that's a common scenario. If a good percentage of iPad owners aren't using 3G—even when they have it—why would Apple jump to introduce 4G?
Apple has a new iPad on the way, but you've probably gotten pretty chummy with your original model. For a first-generation product, the Apple iPad is a fine tablet that can do tons of different things and hasn't lost any of its functionality in the last few days. Sure, the newer iPad 2 is more compact, faster, and adds cameras, but besides that, there's not much more in the way of upgrades. So, should you make the move to the iPad 2?
Well, the new one has a camera, so you can use FaceTime, Photo Booth, and other fun iLife apps that focus on taking photos or videos. If your best friend or favorite relative has an iPhone, iPod touch, or a Mac, this would be the perfect way to get some video calls going without getting a new cell phone. And its faster CPU and graphics processor means it's better suited for the apps and games of the future. Still, there are several good reasons why you shouldn't ditch your old iPad just yet. Here are five of them:
It's as good a media player as the iPad 2
The iPad 2 doesn't increase the resolution or improve the brightness or colors of its display over the first iPad, so as a plain movie viewer, there's no compelling reason to replace your iPad. There are no movies you can watch or songs you can listen to on the iPad 2 that you can't on the original iPad.
On Thursday night's show, O'Brien claimed that Apple and its team of engineering wizards was "getting a little cocky". Team Coco then proceeded to spoof the iPad's desktop, thinness, "a pair of cheap cameras," and how we Americans seem to take everything said with an accent and lend it more credence than it actually deserves.
O'Brien, whose humor is perhaps more warm-hearted than his late-night rivals, completely leaves Steve Jobs or a parody of Jobs out of the fake launch video, almost certainly because of Jobs' struggle with cancer. The omission allows the humor to fall where it should: on Apple's iconic status, and how the iPad 2 might be considered a bit more like an iPad 1.5.
No, the Apple iPad 2 is not a game changer. Instead it simply, firmly establishes Apple once again as the front-runner in the tablet wars. Apple and chief executive Steve Jobs (who made an appearance and received a standing ovation) focused on all the right areas to ensure that the Apple iPad will remain the tablet you have to rule out before you buy any others.
As I predicted, Apple added not one, but two cameras. This makes perfect sense, though I was not particularly happy to hear an Apple exec say on stage that the iPad is perfectly suited for these cameras and FaceTime. Why couldn't the first-generation iPad, which I own, also have been considered perfect for at least one camera? Apple didn't say anything about the resolution on the cameras, though we know the rear one can capture 720P, more or less - the Apple definition for "High Definition." Please, no one tell Steve Jobs that someone on the iPad team sneaked by an accessory that outputs full 1080p from the device (more on that later).
At today's Apple event, where the world was first introduced to the iPad 2, one thing stood out to me above everything else. Many of the new features and specs had been leaked, or correctly guessed, months ago, but no one knew that Apple would pour its innovative energies into a case for the new device. But they did, and the new Smart Cover might be the best case I've ever seen for a mobile device.
The Smart Cover is a single sheet, made of either polyurethane or leather and either pink, orange, green, blue, several shades of gray, black, cream or red. It snaps magnetically onto the side of the iPad, and closes over top of the screen. It protects the parts of the iPad that need protecting—the screen—and leaves the parts that don't—the rugged, aluminum back and sides—to the elements. It makes the case thin, the iPad lighter, and best of all makes the case and iPad extremely easy to separate. The magnetic system should work like the MagSafe adapters on Mac computers, which are a popular feature.
In the lead-up to the iPad 2 announcement, many were predicting that Apple would give the tablet's 9.7-inch screen a bump in resolution. But when Steve Jobs revealed the second-generation iPad to the world, it had the same pixel count as the first one: 1,024x768, even though the display was revamped to be considerably thinner. Why no extra pixels?
Looking at the history of the display on the iPhone offers some clues. Apple kept the display of the iPhone at the same 480x320-pixel resolution for the first three versions of the phone, and when it finally upgraded the display for the iPhone 4, the bump was huge, doubling the display resolution to 960x640 pixels. The upgrade also introduced the term "retina display," a piece of marketing jargon that Apple doesn't quantify, but generally means a display that is better than the limits of human vision.
- Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.3.
- Improved Home Sharing. Browse and play from your iTunes libraries with Home Sharing on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.3.
Not much has changed, but as you can see, the iOS 4.3 functionality is there, and Home Sharing is gonna be awesome with AirPlay.
Hot on the heels of the iPad 2 announcement, Gazelle has announced limited-time prices at which you can trade in your original iPad for cash. Why would you wanna do that? Well, with the iPad 2 set to be released in nine days, the easiest way to upgrade is to sell your current device to get cash to put down towards the new one. In fact, depending on the condition of your current model, you could even walk away with enough money to cover the cost of a new iPad 2, and have some left over to put in the bank (or to buy a Smart Case or something.) If you want to take a look at what you could get for trading in your current iPad, here’s the list:
- 64GB iPad Wi-Fi + 3G: $595
- 32GB iPad Wi-Fi + 3G: $552
- 16GB iPad Wi-Fi + 3G: $446
- 64GB iPad Wi-Fi: $463
- 32GB iPad Wi-Fi: $437
- 16GB iPad Wi-Fi: $375
Just choose your iPad model above, and answer the questions they ask about the condition of your device, and you’ll see the amount that you will be paid for it. If you are cool with it, accept the offer, and ship your iPad--they email you a postage-paid label, and will even mail you a box if you don't have one. Couldn’t get any easier.
Read More | Gazelle
At this mornings iPad 2 event, Apple showed the video above for the first time. It's about six minutes long, and gives a peek into everything you should expect from the new iPad, as well as some details about what's going on under the hood, and a look at the new iMovie and Garageband iPad apps.
Apple just announced the iPad 2 at their March 2 event, and it's pretty much what many of us expected - thinner, lighter, faster, with dual FaceTime cameras and much faster dual-core A5 chip. The A5 is twice as fast as the A4 chip, and graphics performance is up to nine times faster than the original iPad, which is, you know, insane. Despite all that new speed, battery life is the same, and the iPad will run for 10 hours straight, with 30 days standby time. Also unchanged is the price, as the iPad will start at $499 and will be available in the same configurations as the previous model - this time though, you can choose between Verizon and AT&T for the 3G model. Screen resolution remains the same at 1024 x 768, which is fine for now. The iPad 2 is 33% thinner than the original, and as you can see in the image above, will ship in both black and white colors.
Apple is also finally (finally!) releasing an HDMI adapter, which will mirror the iPad 2 on an external display at 1080p resolution. This'll run you $39, but we're sure that there are many out there that'll snap that accessory up quickly. The rear camera will be capable of recording 720p video at 30fps, while the front camera will do VGA resolution, also at 30fps.
Apple has redesigned the cover for the iPad 2, and they're calling the new accessory a "Smart Cover." It's a magnetic cover that sticks tot he display, and automatically wakes the iPad 2 when removed. It folds up and turns into a little stand for both viewing and typing mode. They'll cost $39 for the polyurethane, and $69 for the leather version.
The iPad 2 goes on sale on March 11 at 5:00 pm at Apple Stores. If you were thinking of ordering online instead to get it ahead of time, think again--Apple isn't going to be taking orders for the device until launch day. Hey, they've gotta make sure there are lines at stores, because those look good on the news, y'know?
Read More | iPad 2
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