To further overuse a ridiculously overused phrase, the new iPad is evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The internals get what should be a nice bump, but the screen size and resolution remains the same, and we aren't going to see any major changes in the new tablet's interface or functionality. For the most part, it can do everything the original iPad could, just faster. Current iPad users who aren't bothered by the first-gen device's lack of a camera won't likely find a must-have reason to upgrade, especially since the first iPad will likely be supported by iOS 5 and beyond.

At the same time, users who found themselves unimpressed by the original iPad are unlikely to be won over by the iPad 2. A speed bump and a pair of cameras aren't enough to make the iPad more like a notebook if that's what you want.

However, the new iPad does attempt to further blur the line between full computers and tablets, a line that is only going to get blurrier as more Honeycomb tablets invade the market. The iPad still lacks a dedicated keyboard, which will probably always hamper its utility as a content creation device for me, but iMovie and GarageBand join the already existing iWork apps as decent tablet versions of desktop programs.

The iPad continues to be a good purveyor of the Apple Experience, a middle step between the iPhone and iPod Touch at the low-end and the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro at the high-end. We're missing a few performance and hardware details, and iOS is beginning to look a bit dated in comparison to Honeycomb, but none of these issues will likely stop the new iPad from being just as hot a seller as the previous version. 

The Software - iOS 4.3, iMovie, and GarageBand
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  • Juzcallmeneo - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    If you like functionality..Then Android was made for you. Integration is it's strong suit. Apple's only work with Apple branded closed junk.

    iPad 2 cameras: 0.3MP, 0.7MP
    Xoom Cameras: 2MP, 5MP

    iPad 2 Video Editing: $4.99
    Honey Comb Video Editing: Included!5744175/screenshot-tour-of...

    Garage Band is unique to the iPad now, I will agree. It is a nice little toy app for another $4.99. For real media creation, we need an app with much more versitility. I want FL Studio to move to a mobile platform. If the iPad got a program of that caliber..I would buy it.
  • tipoo - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    How do you know the iPad's camera resolution?
  • smithg5 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    "iPad 2 cameras: 0.3MP, 0.7MP
    Xoom Cameras: 2MP, 5MP"

    As tipoo already asked, where are getting those figures? I think the rear camera is 720p which would be 0.9MP (possibly more for stills - if it does that). Outside of video chat, what other possible applications could a 10" tablet have for photo/video cameras? It makes sense for a phone, with a camera-like form factor, but tablet cameras have a very narrow set of practical use-cases as far as I can see.

    "iPad 2 Video Editing: $4.99
    Honey Comb Video Editing: Included"

    Considering the price difference between the Xoom and a 32GB 3G iPad 2, it's hard to see how this $5 matters.

    The Xoom demands a $70 premium ($65 if you count the iMovie tax) - what you get is a slightly higher-res, but lower quality screen (see AnandTech review), a currently anemic app store, much less battery life, a thicker/heavier machine, and (probably) more RAM. Then of course there are cheaper iPad 2 models as well.
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    Why do people resort to lying and or misleading people to spin things in favor or their preferred brand? You do realize that the Xoom is one Honeycomb tablet and that other Honeycomb tablets will be cheaper, right?

    Where do you get "much less battery life"? If you've already seen the Anandtech review, you'll see the battery life is pretty even.

    Stop with the pathetic spin.

  • smithg5 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    Juzcallmeneo explicitly evoked the Xoom tablet when comparing the cameras - I suppose I could have handled his two comparisons separately.

    I stand corrected on battery life - I guess I skimmed that page. That said, considering the iPad 2 is ~120g lighter and a lot thinner with similar internals, you would expect that the Xoom battery should last at least as long.

    I understand these discussions can get heated with brand loyalty and whatnot, but while I'm an iPad fan of sorts, I'm pretty sure I'm not intentionally lying or misleading people to "spin" something. I'm generally platform agnostic - while I have an iPad, I use a WP7 phone and Windows 7 PC, and work on RHEL servers all day for work.

    I happen to think the iPad is a fantastic product, and if anything, most of the irrationality in discussing tablets comes from the other side - the side that refuses to acknowledge the successful designs Apple has with their mobile products. Yes, a year later we're seeing bulkier tablets that are catching up in performance/battery life to the iPad line, but Honeycomb is essentially app-less and just starting to roll out. Meanwhile the iPad 2 offers the cheapest full-blown tablet experience and at nearly every feature combination (except the 7" space, which it still beats in price in most cases), has an extremely healthy app market, and is best or tied with best in battery life, size/weight, performance, and screen quality - all four are clearly the most important aspects of a tablet. Yet, there's a tremendous volume of negativity and skepticism from a very large portion of this site and others - what gives? People almost sound like luddites on this thread - "why does it have to be so small?" "There have been plenty of Tablets in the past." - and then they point to some piece of junk that barely works.

    Granted, Honeycomb tablets are awesome and getting more awesome, but to think that they somehow outclass the iPad right now is foolish. Maybe they have feature A or option B, but at best these make up for the huge volume of apps and other advantages the iPad offers right now.
  • smithg5 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    Ok, I shouldn't say piece of junk - but you have to admit that size/weight/battery-life put the iPad in a totally different class (that Honeycomb is targeting) than those other tablets.
  • smithg5 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    Just to be clear, I'm talking about older, pre-iPad tablets here.
  • Juzcallmeneo - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    if you are only talking about the very first attempts at an android tablet, then yes they are worthless and the iPad does beat them. it's not the same case for the future of what will be available and the possibilities that Honeycomb will bring us.

    If you want visual proof of the cheap cameras, go to the iFixit video. 0.3 on the front, 0.7 on the back. I own a 7D, and am very much into photography. I know everything about pixels and sensor quality..lens quality..(or lack thereof). These are just plain junk cameras. Granted, 99% of people won't want to use this as their main camera..but these cameras are pathetic and I expected something slightly better at least.
  • Juzcallmeneo - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    They announced it the exact same way they did the iPod Touch 4th Gen. They do 4:3 video resolutions so that you don't get black bars every time you play back a video like you do when you watch a movie on it. The resolution for actual 720p is .9MP..but thats 16:9. Apple makes them do 960x720, which is .7MP. And they clearly stated that the front camera was "VGA" which is 0.3MP.

    If we were talking about the Tablet I support, we can bring in the Eee Pads. I just brought up the Xoom because its the first of many honeycombs.

    With the Nvidia Tegra 2, you get more battery life & more processing power. And yes, most Honeycomb tablets have twice the RAM as the iPad 2. The Quad Cores we see in september will probably have at least 2GB of RAM. If they have more RAM and more battery, whats the downside?
  • smithg5 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    "With the Nvidia Tegra 2, you get more battery life & more processing power. And yes, most Honeycomb tablets have twice the RAM as the iPad 2. The Quad Cores we see in september will probably have at least 2GB of RAM. If they have more RAM and more battery, whats the downside?"

    I'm pretty sure the iPad 2's A5 will be comparable, or perhaps slightly exceed the Tegra 2. It's not confirmed, but odds are it will have a dual core Cortex A9 like the Tegra 2, and the GPU may outperform it (if it's the dual 543 GPU that was rumored). I also don't see any indication that the Tegra 2 has better battery life, since the Xoom is bigger and pretty much matches the iPad in this category.

    I agree that Honeycomb tablets seem to have 1GB standard and the iPad will probably have 512MB (still not confirmed), but until Quad core Android tablets come out, the iPad 2 is pretty much on even footing with Honeycomb tablets, but is thinner/lighter, has tons of apps, and tends to be cheaper.

    I'm really not trying to say the iPad is the greatest or anything - I just don't understand why people claim it's not a good product. It's an excellent, top-of-its-class product. The iPad 1 defined the category, and the iPad 2 puts the hardware at the same level as the Tegra 2 tablets while reducing size. Why are people bashing it so much?

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