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iPad 2 Shakes the Tablet World

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Apple's iPad 2 is scheduled to be available for sale in the US on Friday, March 11, 2011. While several tech watchers consider the iPad 2 to be an incremental upgrade rather than a substantial rework of the iPad, (check out this article containing an anonymous Apple staffer's reported comments), the iPad 2 release will make things even tougher than did the first generation iPad for all the other tablets that have been or will be released this year. Almost every comparison made between the Blackberry Playbook and the Motorola Xoom versus the iPad has targeted the first generation iPad, which is almost a year old. A year in the tech world is an incredibly long time. Yet the first iPad is still king of the tablets.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes in his ZDNet Hardware 2.0 article remarked about the iPad 2 saying "It's evolutionary rather than revolutionary for sure. The hardware upgrades are more modest than many were predicting (no Thunderbolt port, no super high resolution screen, no storage bump) and the new features bought in by iOS 4.3, while being rather interesting, are far from ground-breaking. There was also no price drop. That said, this upgrade is more than enough to worry those planning on bringing out tablets this year. iPad 2 should present plenty of challenge for Motorola and RIM and the like as they gear up to release their tablets. Or, to put it another way, the Xoom and PlayBook could well be toast in the face of the iPad 2."

Apple's web site offers some interesting details concerning changes in the iPad 2. Aside from being somewhat lighter and thinner, the iPad 2 sports two cameras, one on the front and one on the back. Both cameras are designed for Apple's FaceTime video calling and the back camera is HD. The single core A4 processor that powered the 1st generation iPad has been replaced by a dual core A5 processor. The graphics processor offers up to nine times the performance, which will undoubtedly provide smoother video and game play. Due to the power sipping abilities of the new hardware, ten hours of battery life between charges can be expected.

The most important advantage the iPad 2 has against its competition is Apple's strong ecosystem that has given it such a large base of developers and applications. This is a fact pointed to by many tech watchers today, and is very well summed up in the comment by Jason Perlow in ZDNet's Tech Broiler blog comparing the iPad 2 to the Blackberry Playbook, saying "I also cannot stress enough the value of how strong Apple's ecosystem is relative to RIMs, which is developers, developers, developers, and hundreds of thousands of apps."

Compared to the vast numbers of developers already on board and the huge library of applications, and an efficient means of funneling apps through the Apple Store, competitors of the iPad 2 have little to show. Even the most incredible hardware in the world is of little value without great software, and a huge library of choices.

So where does all this leave the owners of the 1st generation iPad? There is a choice to be made as to whether to go with the iPad 2, or wait for the iPad 3, which may be ready for release before the close of this year. The iPad 3 may be worth holding out for, as it may be more of a revolutionary upgrade than the iPad 2. The most important question one has to answer is, does the iPad I currently own do everything I really want to do? If the answer is yes, as it is for me, then waiting for the iPad 3 to arrive seems the most reasonable choice. I am hoping for the inclusion of an SD card slot among other goodies in the iPad 3.

If you do not currently own an iPad, and have desired to purchase one, choosing the iPad 2 would be the way to go. The pricing structure is the same as the 1st generation iPad, but with a little more power and a few more features. Yesterday, I heard through an "unofficial" source that Apple will soon offer up to $100 in discounts to move the remaining 1st generation iPads out of inventory. This would certainly make the 1st generation iPad more attractive if cost is a primary concern.

What are your thoughts? Will you buy an iPad 2, or one of the competition's offerings? Your comments are encouraged and appreciated.

Edited by Joe V

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I'm waiting until the 3 comes out. Right now, my first generation iPad is enough for me. ;)

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Hi sirI, Thanks for your comment. I also am plenty content with my iPad. Cameras do not matter a great deal to me, and I do not use the iPad to create content, only to use content. I like to surf the web and check email, and use it as a depository for tech ebooks. I game very little with it, but I do like to stream Netflix on the unit, and have had no problems doings so. Video playback has been smooth. Of course much of that depends on the ISP. Have a great weekend!

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Exactly. For the same reasons, I use my iPad. Thanks, Captain. :)

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You can now get an iPad 1 for $400. A refurbished iPad 1 now goes for $350. (now, that's cheap!)

I purchased an iPad for my wife back in January (birthday) - she loves it. She's on it every night - email, music, recipes, dieting, and reading.

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I sat next to a nurse who had an iPad . . . for 5 days at a conference. That screen was greasy looking with fingerprints. Yuck.

I just love having a mouse I can clean.

steph

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Hi Steph,

She must have had french fries with lunch that day. A good microfiber cloth will clean that iPad screen really well! :)

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You can now get an iPad 1 for $400. A refurbished iPad 1 now goes for $350. (now, that's cheap!)

I purchased an iPad for my wife back in January (birthday) - she loves it. She's on it every night - email, music, recipes, dieting, and reading.

Hi Joe,

Are you going to get one or are you going for the iPad 2? I can't get my wife to even use mine for five minutes!

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Tax time was good to me being that I'm a student again. I actually have a bit of money and see no point in waiting for the iPad three. Who knows what my life will be like in a year or so and there will always be the latest and greatest, so I will upgrade to an iPad two now while I have the means to do so.

I was initially hesitant to go with the first Gen iPad, but now I am glad that I did. Otherwise, I would have missed out over the past year. I do almost all my day to day work via my iPad. I write my papers, create my presentations, manage my calendar and email, research and even game on occasion with my iPad. Therefore, doing all that on a faster, thinner and lighter device sounds like a deal to me. Not to mention I can sell my current iPad for a decent price and buy a new one while only having to blow a few hundred bucks. The camera issue is not really a deal breaker for me, but I could see my self having fun with movie editing.

It comes down to the fact that I want it, have the means to get it, and will hopefully have it. So, why deny myself for a year waiting on something that may or may not happen, or something that I may or may not even be able to afford?

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Hi gilaRN,

Thanks very much for your perspective and comments. Go for it! There is a lot to be said for your thinking here. If I used my iPad as heavily as you, I would probably pick up the iPad 2. You have really gotten a lot of mileage out of your iPad!

I have considered purchasing some apps to do MS Office compatible documents. Would you share with us the apps you use to create your papers and presentations? I have looked over the offerings in the App Store, and read the user reviews, but have not yet made the leap. I have an iMac too, and have been able to use the small bluetooth keyboard that was bundled with it to type into the Notes app on the iPad. It works great, so I have been thinking about which iPad apps to download.

Thanks in advance, and have a great weekend!

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Having just bought my Ipad and loving it will probably wait before upgrading, absolutely loving it and probably not using to full benefit yet as only had it a couple of weeks

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Hi Silverdragon102,

Thanks for your comments. And have fun with your new iPad!

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