About a month ago, I sold my original iPad. I knew I’d want an iPad2, since a forward facing camera was the one feature I *really* wanted on the old iPad. I’ve actually been going through iPad withdrawal since I sold it–I wasn’t able to pick up an iPad on launch day, and my order through the Apple on-line store wasn’t supposed to ship until the end of April.
But I’d read that Apple stores got shipments in daily (although it’s a crapshoot on the models they get) so I decided to give it a shot. I got in line at the Schaumburg store just before 9:00AM, and by 9:30ish I was walking out with my new iPad2! Awesome luck! (Your mileage may vary!)
So yesterday I had a chance to play with it, so here’s my take:
It is, without a doubt, lighter and thinner. It’s more comfortable to hold up for reading and laying with on the couch or in bed. It’s not like the old iPad was a brick, but the new svelte body style is a nice touch.
It’s faster. No question. The interface actually feels about the same–maybe a little snappier–but apps load much faster. So no complaints. Network performance is fine, seems about the same to me. I have a wi-fi only version so I can’t speak to 3G performance. (I’m not giving telcos any more of my damn money for craptastic service when free wi-fi is never more than spitting distance away in a major city like Chicago. So F* You, AT&T)
Meet the new screen; Same as the old screen. I *really* wish they’d up the resolution with a retina display, but c’est la vie.
Oh yeah, baby. The cameras are pretty nice. Are they going to replace my DSLR? Uh, no. But it’s really nice to have the ability to take snapshots and record video with it. And I loves the facetime. And Skype. I do think Skype needs to bring out an “HD (read: iPad optimized) App” before it will be really cool, but damn, being able to video conference from the couch is exactly what I was looking for. Couldn’t be happier with that.
Meh. Yeah, the magnet alignment and clip on thing is cool… but I wanted black, and didn’t really want leather. So that kind of sucked. I also hate that the cover offers no protection for the back of the iPad. At all. None. Zip. Zilch. Oooh… it rolls up so you can prop it up! So f’ing what? You know how often I roll it up to prop the iPad up on a table? Yeah, never. I’m always holding it. Yes, it’s cool that it senses when you close the cover (F’ing magents! How do they work?) and puts the iPad to sleep, but overall, this falls solidly into lame territory for me. I’m going to skin the thing anyway for body protection from scratches, etc. And hopefully the 3rd Party cases will have more to offer soon, but I’d say skip the “Smart Cover” unless you really want a fairly expensive screen cover that has some cool magnets.
And there you have it. The iPad2: Slightly Thinner. Slightly Lighter. Slightly Faster. Finally, cameras! And a “meh” cover.
Update: Now that I’ve been using it more, I have to say I actually hate the “Smart Cover”. It’s anything but smart. Yes, it fits the front of the iPad very nicely. And at first glance, it’s cool the way it rolls up. But there are some serious flaws.
First, you know how it lines up perfectly over the screen? Well, with the iPad’s tapered body, that means it does not line up perfectly when you fold it over the back (i.e. when you’re using the iPad). It hangs over just enough to be incredibly annoying.
Second, the magnets on the front and sides line it up great. Too bad there is no magnet on the back, which means when you fold it over, again, to use the iPad, the “smart” cover kind of flops off, constantly getting in the way if you switch hands to hold it.
The “Smart Cover” is a perfect example of style over function. The concept is “wow” and at first look, you think, “gee that is nifty.” Then you start using it and you wonder if the people who designed it ever actually used it themselves, in real world situations, or if they just sat around stroking each other over how cool it looks.
Yeah, it looks cool. But it doesn’t protect a full 50% of the iPad, and it’s annoying as hell in practical, everyday use. Don’t give Apple a dime for the “Smart Cover” and go with a third-party option instead. Trust me.