A man navigates through the new iPad 2 during its launch in the Philippines at an Apple store in Manila.
The biggest problem with the original iPad was that it didn’t have any cameras for video-chatting or taking photos. The second-generation iPad is quick to address this issue and boasts of a slicker design and faster processor too.
The tablet is now available in two colours — black and white — and sports a design similar to the current-generation iPod Touch. The looks are very eye-catching; especially the white model, but the volume rocker on the right side is inconveniently placed and accessing it is a bit of a chore.
The optional, but pricey, iPad Smart Cover is a big blessing. Available in a range of colours in polyurethane (Rs 2,100) and leather (Rs 3,800), the cover magnetically snaps on to the device in an instant and can be folded in different ways depending on whether you want to take a photo or prop the iPad at an angle while reading. You can also set the screen to automatically unlock or lock when you open or close the case.
The cameras are of the same grade as those in the iPod touch. Photos don’t hold a candle to those taken on the iPhone 4, but video quality via Apple’s video-chat software FaceTime is good, as is the video recording feature at 720p resolution.
But the iPad’s real weaponry is its A5 1GHz dual-core processor along with better graphics, which Apple claims boosts performance by anything between twice to nine times as much. Presently, there aren’t too many apps that take advantage of the faster hardware, but we tried the 3D game Infinity Blade and were impressed. Apple’s own paid app Garageband is smoother too, and the iPad 2 supports iMovie as well.
The iPad 2 has tonnes of firepower, though you may only see the real advantage when apps and games in the coming months begin to make the most of its superior hardware. The cameras aren’t as good as the iPhone 4’s, but get the job done. Apple’s range of Smart Covers though are the real icing on the cake.
Priced between R 29,500 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version and R 46,900 for the 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G model, the new iPad is quite expensive. But you won’t regret spending your dough on it.