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Summary:

To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the $829-dollar question. I mean, if you have an iPad, should you line up outside the Apple store and buy the new iPad 2? Is it worth it, especially if you’re a first time buyer?

ipad2_smartcover

To upgrade or not to upgrade? That is the $829-dollar question. I mean, if you have an iPad, should you line up outside the Apple store and buy the new iPad 2? Is it worth it?

I mean, it has a faster chip. It has two cameras. It has a new OS. It has a gyroscope. It can do HDMI video out. It can play nice with all iTunes content. It sure is thinner — about one-third thinner than the current iPad — and 0.2 pounds lighter that the current iPad, which weighs 1.5 pounds.   (Apple iPad2: What you need to know).

Like many others in the media who follow Apple, I was at the iPad 2 launch event held earlier today. I had a chance to spend some time playing around with the new device and have some quick impressions. Now you have to remember, I’ve had only ten minutes to play with the iPad 2, so take these impressions with a pinch of salt.

  • The 3.2 ounces in shaved weight actually does feel a lot lighter than one might imagine just from looking at the spec sheet.
  • The slimmer size makes holding the device a lot easier. It’s very much like the iPod touch vs iPhone comparison.
  • The screen is no different from the current generation of iPads, except the dual-core processor and additional graphics oomph make it feel livelier and more responsive. Still, I wish Apple offered higher resolution on the screen.
  • I can’t really tell how other apps — games, for example — perform on the device.
  • The new Safari is actually pretty fast and handles JavaScript fairly well, which makes sites such as Google Mail and Google Apps quite handy to use.
  • The two cameras are great addition. I am a big FaceTime and Skype Video user. Facetime looks pretty hot on the bigger screen and makes video calling more useful.
  • I like that the iPad 2 is more video friendly thanks to cameras, iMovie, and scores of other upgrades like watching iTunes content on it via Home Sharing and sharing videos to big screen televisions via a HDMI adapter and/or AirPlay.
  • No matter how hard Steve Jobs tried to convince us that the white iPad 2 is cool, I am so NOT into the whole white Apple devices thing, and that means the iPad 2, as well.

That said, being an owner of a 3G iPad, I’m hard pressed to spring for the upgrade. I am still getting maximum mileage out of the first-generation device. The price cuts announced earlier today are only going to devalue the resale value of my top-of-the-line iPad 3G. (Related: How to prepare a used iPad for sale.)

I have a MacBook Air, which does a great job at video conferencing, and now with a Verizon iPhone 4 in my pocket, I can FaceTime anytime. I’m still waiting to see how developers leverage this new hardware.

That said, if you’re a first-time tablet buyer, it’s perhaps your best option on the market right now. It has a fast processor, is light, is ultra thin, is available in a week, and more importantly, it’s far ahead of what else its rivals are selling (or are planning to sell.)

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  1. Sold my iPad1 for £320 last week, that was a pretty good guess…

    I’ll get a 2 for no other reason than wanting one, it’s conspicuous consumption, and that’s why it’ll sell well…

    1. Good call. I am sure you will be upgrading to the new one.

  2. Already ordered an iPad 2, 16gb wifi replacement for the same model in iPad 1.

    Haven’t heard back yet from the reseller I deal with; but, they take trade-ins and that has worked well for me in the past upgrades of Apple devices.

  3. you seem pretty objective Om with your MBA, iPhone 4, & iPad. how could someone not trust your opinions? shouldnt you be writing up an article on how Android is doomed now?

    good thing Kevin is here to balance out this place

  4. Sorry, can you clarify “The 3.2 ounces in shaved weight actually does feel a lot less lighter than one might imagine just from looking at the spec sheet.”? It doesn’t feel lighter or it does feel lighter? Sounds like you are saying that you don’t notice the weight savings but I’m not sure.

    Thanks,

    1. No it feels a lot lighter. And you would be pleasantly surprised by it.

  5. The big surprise is the cover.

    You can measure the time in nanoseconds for the time it takes others to copy it.

    That is why Apple is Apple. Their designs lead the pack.

    1. Just dont press to hard or it will fall over, which was happening all day at the press event.

      How long before a class action law suit is filed?

    2. Yes, it’s Apple’s case design which they stole from the InCase Convertible Magazine Jacket. “Lead the pack”? I guess Apple apologists will say anything.

      http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/03/apple-ipad-2-smart-cover-vs-incase-convertible-magazine-jacket/

  6. Few people buy replacement device every year, so the whole notion of “should you upgrade” is really … well ridiculous.

    I realize that the whole blog-o-sphere has to write something, and all the self proclaimed “technology journalists” must ask all these penetrating questions, but really, it’s just pointless.

  7. Apple amazes me constantly. The can release a product with new features that everyone gets excited about, when really it is just the stuff they would should have put in the first one if they were truly about putting out the best product. Not to mention the fact that they still won’t support flash because it will cut into there app market. And above all that it still runs a phone OS! This device is better than the last, but it is still half baked and the consumer deserves more.

    http://www.illumintech.net

    1. Wow, that particular Flash argument is tired. First, the iPhone and iPad are perfectly capable of running web apps – you may remember that web apps were in fact Apple’s original app solution for the iPhone. The improved JavaScript engine in iOS 4.3 Safari will only make that a better option. Second, if Apple’s concerned about Flash apps on the Web eating their app lunch, why do they allow free apps in the App Store?

    2. Bullseye. If the iPad 1 had launched with a front and rear facing camera, the iPad 2 would offer very little to recommend it. And why didn’t the iPad 1 have a front/rear camera? The iPhone 4 launched just a few months later with that technology. If they didn’t have the technology available for the iPad 1, it points to the fact that Apple hardware is at least 6 month old technology by the time it releases. Or, if they did have the technology but elected not to include it with the iPad 1 for business reasons……evil. If Apple didn’t have the tech ready for March 2010 release, why didn’t they hold off for a couple more months and have a truly fully featured tablet?

    3. Let’s get the facts straight there was no market prior to the iPad. The tablets before it were all junk. Flash is junk too it kills battery life for sure. I can’t watch a simple video for more than 2 minutes and my Evo’s battery is practically dead.

  8. Hamranhansenhansen Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch have 2 year lifespans. If you have the original iPad, then iPad 2 is not a must-have. The iPad 3 is the one for you.

    But Apple products have good resale value if you must have a new one every year.

    Me, I buy iOS devices plus AppleCare and replace them every 2 years like clockwork, and Mac OS devices plus AppleCare and replace them every 3 years like clockwork. It is too much trouble to replace them any more than that, and too much trouble to replace them any less than that.

  9. Madhav Shivpuri Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    I don’t play too many games apart from Angry birds on my ipad…so the extra speed doesn’t change much for me.

    I was so hoping for iphone 5g news… anything up on that front? Is it expected some time this year? I have put off my 3G to 4G upgrade just b’cos of that expectations.

  10. Im a bit puzzled as to how you think the ipad 2 is far ahead of anything else out or about to come out? Whats it got that others already havent?

    1. Agreed. It almost seems ipad just almost caught up with the xoom on hardware specs.
      of course the ipad 2 is lighter on the other hand xoom can do microsd cards.

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