Inside the E-Wars: Apple's iPad 2 Unveiled

By William Stanek
March 2, 2011

william.jpg Apple officially unveiled the iPad 2 today, and I did pretty good on my feature/change predictions. The iPad 2 is indeed thinner (by 33%) and lighter (by 15%) than the iPad 1 with a depth of .34" and weight of 1.34 - 1.35 pounds depending on configuration. Being thinner and lighter is important to help with portability, as the iPad 2 is more like something you might want to carry around with you everywhere.


As expected, the iPad 2 has front and back cameras. The addition of cameras is a big change that allows video calling and HD video recording. You use the front camera for face-to-face calling, and can switch to the back camera to show the area around you. You also can use the back camera for video recording and picture taking.

Apple chose not to upgrade the display, which is disappointing. I had hoped Apple would upgrade to the 326 ppi retina display. That didn't happen though, and iPad 2 users get what is essentially the same 1024x768 132 ppi display as the iPad 1.

For its processors, iPad 2 uses a dual-core A5 chip, which delivers up to twice the performance of the A4 and up to 9 times faster graphics performance. This allows iPad 2 to deliver smoother graphics and video, which is especially noticable when you are watching videos, scrolling through the picture library, and editing video.

For audio playback, iPad 2 does correct an oversight on the low end for spoken-word audio and news, and also does support the Audible enhanced formats. For video, video out support does go up to 1080p as expected as well.

For sensors, the iPad 2 picks up a three-axis gyroscope, but did not add a proximity sensor. Still, the gyroscope will make for an excellent improvement in gaming. Games that use the iPad itself as the controller will be a lot more fun.

The major new apps included are:

FaceTime - A video calling app that lets you call someone elses iPad 2, iPhone 4, 4th gen iPod touch, or Mac over Wi-Fi.

PhotoBooth - A picture app for taking pictures, which allows you to apply a variety of effects.

iMovie - A video editing tool for creating home movies with audio and effects.

Garage Band - An audio editing tool that lets you record and play audio. Also lets you play touch instruments like drums, guitars, and keyboards.

All in all, iPad 2 really is a much better offering, and one likely to give some of the 15 million iPad 1 users buyer's remorse.

Thanks for reading, time for me to get back to work! Hope you'll take a look at my book Windows 7: The Definitive Guide. Also out is my book Exchange Server 2010 Administrator's Pocket Consultant.

William R. Stanek
williamstanek at aol dot com
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