Apple unveiled the iPad 2 to the world at its event in San Francisco this week. The new tablet is lighter, thinner and faster, but at the end of the day it wasn’t the technology that stole the show, it was the man who introduced it.
When Steve Jobs stepped on the stage, he had the entire audience in the palm of his hand with a rapturous applause and standing ovation from those in attendance.
It’s no surprise, then, that the iPad 2 went down a storm. The product delivered what most expected from the event: an evolutionary advance from the first generation iPad. It is now just 8.8mm thick, compared to the 13.4mm thickness of the original, and weights 1.3 pounds, down from 1.5.
The key difference between the two devices is the A5 microchip, which has a dual core, 1GHz processor delivering performance up to two times as fast as the previous generation. As if that isn’t enough, graphics performance has also seen a stunning 9x improvement.
Jobs looked as composed as ever as he dismissed other products such as RIM’s PlayBook and the Motorola Xoom as copycats. “Is 2011 going to be the year of the copycats?” he asked. “I think it will be the year of iPad 2.”
Apple must remain wary of competition, however. No giant leaps have been made over the first generation device; this is most certainly an evolutionary step, not a revolutionary one. There is no retina display as first rumoured, the file management system remains restrictive and Apple remains tight lipped over the amount of RAM on the device. Some sources say it remains at a paltry 256MB, compared to the 1GB of competitors.
One area where Apple will not be beaten, however surprisingly, is price. The £429 entry price for the iPad 2 is bound to have consumers and prosumers alike reaching for their wallets in the Apple Store. The price of other tablets such as the Xoom and PlayBook simply cannot hit that low a price point whilst maintaining the same power and flexibility that the iPad offers, and probably never will.
The iPad will be released in the USA a week on Friday, March 11th. Those of us on the other side of the pond will have to wait a further two weeks before we can get our hands on one. It’s still too early to tell, but for the remainder of this year at least, the iPad 2 seems destined to control the tablet market, with competitors falling behind and struggling to catch up, before many of them have even released their products on to the market.
Will you be splashing the cash on buying an iPad 2 come March 25th, or are you holding out for that retina display? Maybe you’re more of an Android fan? Let us know in the comments!