Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The iPad 2 -- so what's the big deal!?

So there I was, sitting at a table with some friends beside me and several other friends on a Skype conference call.  Why? Because we were all excited about the latest Apple announcement: the new iPad 2 is coming!  On March 11th! And you better get your chairs, blankets (here in Chicago at least), and snackage ready to stand in line (at 5PM no less)!

So why should I consider such a crazy thing!  I already have -- and LOVE -- my 3G iPad.  It does so much stuff I sold my NetBook and rarely have to use my personal laptop for my computing needs.  So is it worth it to go through all the inconvenience to have the new iPad in my twitchy little fingers on March 11th?  Do I just order it online using my existing iPad and let them deliver it (free shipping) several days later?

I mean, "What's the Big Deal?"

Those of you who know me personally are probably already saying, "Dude, you know you want it so just go ahead and get it."  In fact, one of my friends responded by saying "Do it! You're only young once!"  (I am 50 years old, LOL).

So I guess since I am apparently very young still, I might be taking my friend Ken's advice.  Not to mention that my wife would love to have my 1st generation iPad.  But why would I want to make another technology investment (i.e. lay out the cash) for this thing?

I use my iPad for a lot of work activities.  When I say 'work', I mean not only my full-time IT job, but all the work I do with youth ministry, theater tech, blogging, and just the regular stuff we all do daily (finances, communications, office automation, etc.).  It gets LOTS of use and I push it to the limit.  And of course, I use it to unwind after doing all that work stuff -- music, videos, streaming video, news, online shopping, games, photography, and keeping track of my family tree.  It even helps me with my Klingon Language training (no snickering in the back row!).

So why the iPad 2?  Because I can do all of that stuff faster and hopefully more efficently.  I can also do more things that today are either not possible or require jumping through multiple hoops to accomplish. And the lighter weight and thinner form factor will delay my eventual carpal tunnel problems.  (And yes, because it is cool!)

Here are some of the features that I see are most beneficial to me (your mileage may vary):
  1. The faster A5 Chip.  I cannot stress how important having a faster processor is.  Having a dual-core CPU will allow me to use some of the newer features of the iPad that require more muscle.  And it will make my current tasks flow much faster.  I hate delays in app execution and I anticipate this will be signficantly reduced.  Fast = Good!
  2. Ligher and Thinner.  The new iPad will be 15% lighter and about 33% thinner than its predecessor.  In fact, it will be thinner than the iPhone 4.  While this will mean I have to buy a new case (the wife inherits my current cool cases), the ability to handle the device for longer periods without fatigue or awkwardness will be an advantage.  I carry the iPad around practically everywhere I go so this is important to me.
  3. Front and Rear Cameras.  I utilize online conferencing frequently to communicate with friends, family, as well as church workers, my youth group, and so many others.  Having the ability to conduct two-way video conferencing via Skype (and now FaceTime) will be huge for me.  I will no longer have to use my laptop for those calls, making me more flexible regarding when/where I can collaborate with others.  The 5 megapixel HD rear camera will be nice for photography, and now I can take the shot and edit it (avoiding my current process of taking the picture with the iPhone and then transferring it over to the iPad for better viewing and editing).
  4. Faster Graphics.  This will make video and gaming applications run more smoothly and with greater rendered detail.  While gaming is not a primary use, it will be nice!
  5. Gryoscope.  This addition to the hardware will make the iPad respond better to orientation changes and to gaming behavior.  It will also work along with the accelerometer for more accurate precision and sensitivity for those apps as well as location-based services/applications.
  6. 65,000 iPad-specific Apps:  This is a big thing for making the choice for going for the iPad rather than another tablet device.  No tablet is worth much if the apps that meet your various needs do not exist.  And in my opinion, iOS is the best mobile/tablet operating system currently on the market.  (Android is cool, but it ain't iOS yet.)
I won't lie:  I really want a white iPad this time too.  So I appreciate having the choice.  And while you will be able to also choose between a 3G model using AT&T or Verizon, I will probably take the AT&T version because it supports the ability for 3G use in countries outside the USA.  And the AT&T data network is faster than Verizon's -- as long as the network is available.  I am a bit disappointed that the iPad 2 does not support 4G.

So I guess I am going to have to deal with the lines at 5PM on the 11th (or figure out some other ingenious method for getting my iPad 2 on Friday).

Or, maybe I will calm my 'instant gratification' urges and just buy it online (and lay in the fetal position in the bedroom until the UPS guy shows up).


  1. Did you see this article about the camera on the iPad 2?

    I think you have enough other good reasons to buy one but thought I'd share what I found...

    Have fun with your new toy!

  2. Yeah, I guess we will have to see what the 'true' specs are once the Engadget and iFixit guys tear one apart. I hope it is at least a 2mp camera but 5 would be better.

  3. Hey Rick, are you becoming a "fanboy"? LOL!

  4. Haha! I am still a PC guy. But I definitely love my iPad and iPhone. I gotta give Apple the props on what they do right.