Apple iPad 2 review
We were sceptical when Apple launched the original iPad; but it’s proved a roaring success. Where previous attempts at tablet computing have repeatedly stalled (anyone remember the MID?), Apple got it just right, completely reinvigorating the tablet market in the process.
And while manufacturers of other tablets are still struggling to produce a credible rival (the imminent Motorola Xoom looks set to be the best effort so far), Apple has already moved on to its next generation: the iPad 2.
In typical Apple fashion, the iPad 2 isn't a massive overhaul but a refinement, leaving much of the original intact. It looks very similar, the screen is the same 9.7in, 1,024 x 768 IPS unit as before, and even where significant new features have been added (the cameras, for instance), there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Say what you like about Apple’s dripfeed approach to feature introduction, there’s no denying that this is a worthy update. To start with, the new iPad is smaller and lighter than before: it weighs just a whisker over 600g and measures a mere 186 x 9 x 241mm.
Its slenderness is striking. The new iPad is actually half a millimetre slimmer than the iPhone 4, and 4.6mm thinner than the original iPad. That’s some feat of engineering, and with its lighter weight and flat back the iPad 2 feels significantly more comfortable in the hand than the original.
The overall shape has seen a slight tweak too, with the aluminium rear panel flattened out and edges that gently curve up to meet the edge of the screen. The speaker grille has moved from the bottom right edge to the bottom left, and is now a rectangular patch of pinhole perforations. In all, the device feels closer to a giant iPod touch than to the squared-off iPhone 4 or first generation iPad.
The controls have been left alone, though: the home button remains at bottom-centre, with the volume and hold switch on the right edge at the top. The power switch remains on the top edge on the right-hand side, with the 3.5mm headphone/microphone socket opposite it along the same edge, and the Apple USB interface stays on the bottom edge.