iPad 2 review
iPad 2 is simply the original iPad with a thinner design, a couple of cameras, and a faster chipset. Only it isn’t. Not any more than the original iPad was just a big iPhone. Device by device, year after year, Apple has slowly and now successfully changed the conversation from individual specs to unified experience, from reviewer and competitor driven checklists to mainstream consumer-centric usability. They’ve forced us to touch and feel our computing and not just click and think our way through it.
In that regard iPad 2 is the sequel to a smash hit that very few outside Apple ever saw coming. The only question is whether it’s Empire Strikes Back or Matrix Reloaded — whether it takes the same elements that made the original a success and builds on them and creates something even better, or if it adds unnecessary complexity, loses its focus, and kills the franchise. Apple has a great track record, arguably the best in the business these days, but they also have a habit of mixing a healthy dose of frustration into even their most fantastic products.
When Steve Jobs first introduced the first iPad in January 2010 (see our original iPad review) he showed it fitting somewhere between the laptop and the smartphone. He said it had to do better than both at browsing, email, photos, video, music, games, and eBooks. 15 million units and 9 months later it achieved those goals, though with varying degrees of success. Now it’s iPad 2′s turn. Does it make even more sense as a mid-position, mainstream computing appliance? Do the new atoms and bits make it better realize those 7 key features and do they add anything beyond them? Does iPad 2 build on iPad 1 and create something better or is it less than the sum of its new parts?
iPad 2 hardware
Apple claims iPad 2 is a complete redesign. Not really. It’s more of a partial redesign but only because of where Apple has placed so much of the external emphasis.
Same screen, different year
The part that arguably matters most — the window into apps and the web that Jonathan Ive was so careful not to distract us from — is essentially the same this generation as it was last. It’s still a 9.7-inches of LED IPS panel. It’s still 1024
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