Amidst much fanfare, Apple surprised absolutely nobody when they announced the iPad 2 today. As we all expected, it’s thinner, lighter, has dual cameras and FaceTime, and has a dual-core processor. Unlike the rumors that were swirling prior to the event, there is no higher-res display, no radial changes to the OS (iOS5), and no USB or Thunderbolt ports, SD slots, or any kind of removable storage. Did people really think that the iPad 2 would have an SD slot?
The pricing is the same as before: $500 / $600 / $700 for 16/32/64 GB sizes on the Wi-Fi model, and an additional $130 to add a 3G radio. Since Apple has already sold $15 million original iPads, the question for a lot of people is: should I sell my iPad 1 and buy a shiny new iPad 2?
My answer is a NO, and here’s why. The iPad 2 just doesn’t bring enough changes to warrant the $200 to $300 difference between what I could sell the iPad 1 for and what the iPad 2 would cost. Yes, a faster, thinner iPad would be nice, but there just isn’t enough newness to warrant upgrading.
First and foremost, I’ve never considered the speed of the iPad 1 to be a problem. The device is mostly used for couch Web surfing, watching movies in bed, tweeting, and playing Angry Birds or other casual games — nothing that the iPad 1 has any trouble with. If I wanted to use my iPad to render large amounts of video or play Crysis, than these additional specs would be awesome, but for the tasks that the iPad is generally used for, it just doesn’t seem like its really necessary.
Secondly, a good number of the features announced today for the iPad 2 will also be available on the iPad 1. iOS 4.3 will be fully supported on the original iPad, and features like improved Safari speed, iTunes Home Sharing and AirPlay improvements will make the iPad 1 even better. In addition, the fancy HDMI dongle announced today will also work on the iPad 1, and even the iPhone and iPod touch, too. Every device is getting in on the HDMI party, not just the iPad 2.
The changes in the iPad 2 come down to its faster speed, cameras and a few cool new apps that are iPad 2-only, including iMovie and GarageBand. As cool as it looked to edit movies on an iPad, I can’t see it replacing a full desktop environment for any serious movie editing any time soon. iMovie for Mac does a great job of making it quick and easy to edit movies — do we really need to spend the time transferring the footage to an iPad to edit on?
It’s very obvious that Apple has made another great device, and I don’t doubt that it will sell extremely well. People who don’t have iPads yet should be all over the iPad 2 if they are interested, but my advice to iPad 1 owners is to wait until the next edition to upgrade–likely that revision will be more revolutionary than evolutionary, and could include things like that retina display everyone wanted. Who knows, maybe it will be out sooner than you think.