The original iPad set off a revolution similar to that of the iPhone. It ate into the netbook market like a chow hound and effectively killed it.
Then every manufacturer started making one and CES 2011 was filled with tablets from every known technology company. “Year of the copy cats” was how Steve Jobs described it and he wasn't wrong either. Just when others thought they'd caught up with the iPad, Applesaid it was coming out with iPad 2.
The good and the bad
The first thing you notice is how incredibly thin it is; 33 per cent thinner than the original iPad.
The specs are monstrous. iPad 2 now runs on an Apple A5 Dual Core chip at 1 GHZ; Apple says it is twice as fast with up to 9x better graphics. With this the iPad now outputs video via HDMI at 1080p. It is a mirrored output so you get exactly what you see on the iPad on the screen.
It has two cameras, one each on the front and the back. The rear is capable of handling 720p HD video at 30fps, comes equipped with an accelerometer, a gyroscope and a proximity sensor also be found in the iPhone 4.
Battery life was incredible in the previous iPad. Apple claimed 10hours, but testing by major tech blogs and my playing around with my colleague's iPad showed well over 11 hours.
Now for the bad news. They stuck to the same screen. Not that it's bad at 1024x768 resolution and IPS LCD screen technology but most of us were hoping for a Retina Display. There is no SD card slot, but I don't see this as a major shortcoming. The other tablets in the market that offer a SD card slot come with either 16 GB or 32GB memory built in.
iPad 2 now comes with iOS 4.3 with Facetime and Photobooth. With facetime you can video-chat with anyone on a mac, or iphone or an iPad with a wifi connection.
Now to the big question: Will I be getting one? Definitely. Why? I realised how useful this can be. I started travelling quite a bit on work lately and lugging a laptop (even a 13 incher) is a headache. Add a charger that weighs almost as much as the laptop itself and getting that tangled cable out of your bag and plugging it in... For anyone who travels a lot this machine is a blessing.
It wasn't the hardware alone that swayed me but the apps. With almost 65,000 apps dedicated for the iPad, no other market even comes close. With apps like iWork (Apple's office productivity suite), iMovie and Garageband making their way to the App Store, it is almost a no-brainer for me to drop my laptop and carry this around.
Those worried about running out of space, HyperMac sells hard drives compatible with the iPad called HyperDrive that starts at 320GB and goes up to 1TB.
There is no word when it will be come to India; release date for the U.S. is March 11.