Yesterday Apple announced the imminent arrival of the new iPad 2, scheduled to commence selling at 5.00pm on the 11th March in US Apple stores. A successor to the much hailed original iPad which, when released in April 2010, brought about a paradigm shift in the world of portable computing. Pad devices seem the de rigueur device at present, with seemingly almost every computer manufacturer and then some releasing iPad clones, albeit most running Google’s free and much heralded Android operating system.
It’s is with no doubt then, that the industry must have waited for yesterdays announcement with bated breath to see how far Apple has moved the goal posts. Well, if you listen hard, you can probably hear the Apple iPad competitors let out a huge sigh of relief, as the shift is not that far.
The new iPad is 33% thinner, 15% lighter, comes in a white version as well as the previous black, and has front and rear cameras for Apples FaceTime face to face video calling. Apart from being thinner, It’s the same dimensions however and features the same 9.7-inch LED display and bezel. It does feature a much faster, dual core A5 processor providing Apple say, 9 times faster graphics, and enhanced video processing but still allowing 10 hours battery time. Rather disappointingly it does not come with any increased RAM capacity, with the choice remaining at 16gb, 32gb and 64gb as before. Sadly their are no change to the ports either, still no USB connection or SD card slot. although it does appear the Screen Rotation lock button may be re-enabled after all the fuss when it’s functionality was changed to a mute switch as part of the iOS 4.2 software upgrade. Apple plan to release a rather nifty Smart Cover which attaches magnetically, wakes up your iPad when opened and even folds back to make a stand; it does however, cost $39, so you can guess it will be near £39 for us Brits. The price of the iPad 2 in the US will remain the same as the original iPad so hopefully the same will hold true when the iPad 2 goes on sale within the UK.
If you’d thought the iPad has no use for the budding photographer, then you’d be wrong. It makes an ideal back-up device in the field and is an ideal RAW file viewer, which clearly put devices like the now defunct Epson P-4000 Multimedia storage view and all alike to some considerable shame. If you’re in any doubt of this please read Doug Chimney’s excellent article on The iPad for Photographers here. Doug uses his on all his workshops.
There are already many good photography Apps for the iPad, such as the Photographers Ephemeris, Golden Hour, and several Depth of Field calculators, and some great eBooks from Craft&Vision. However, the vast majority of so-called photography Apps currently available for download , have to be said, tend to be on the gimmicky side. Apple had pre-announced that they would be developing a high-end photography App for the iPad 2 and with the much faster graphics processor on-board this does give significant scope now for developers. Sadly, all Apple announced yesterday was an enhanced version of the fun, comic App, Photo Booth, so hopefully that wasn’t it and we can look forward to seeing some high-end RAW file processors making their way onto the iPad 2 in the near future.
Upgrade or Not?
I love my iPad. It’s a terrific little device, and one I use more than ever for internet browsing and reading, as well as music, movies and videos. It’s great for travel especially if you spend as much time on long haul flights as I do. I have all my PDF camera manuals and many photography eBooks on mine. I also use it for business and note taking.
Will I upgrade. I doubt it. FaceTime may be a big thing for many, but has no appeal for me, and it remains to be seen how good the camera is. More processing power is always welcome, but until I see some Apps using that, then I think many may wait. What I really was hankering after didn’t happen, increased RAM options, and the ability to add memory via an SD or micro SD card. I guess I’ll just have to see what the iPad 3 will bring?
There’s no competition really, whether you love them or hate them, Apple have changed the face of personal computing yet again. I’ve never been a particular fan of Apple equipment and I’ve always thought them overpriced. I’ve admired the beauty of their designs for sure, but have never particularly bought in to that Apple ethic, until the iPad that is.
Some say the iPad is just a big iPhone without the phone bit (I don’t have an iPhone), true, perhaps it is, but who would have thought that simple change in size would provide the most unique and innovative device of 2010.
I discovered the iPad quite by accident when I was thinking of getting iPods for my kids. All their peers at school seemed to have iPods and the paltry, but functional, little Sansa clip, MP3 players (no offence SanDisk) that I had bought them a couple of years ago were beginning to look seriously un-cool in the face of the latest touch screen iPods. It was while visiting my local Apple store in Sheffield that I chanced upon a young assistant demonstrating the then brand new iPad to some potential customers. Bingo! That’s just the device for my wife I thought. She’s never been particularly interested in computers, doesn’t really understand the internet (bless her!), and no matter how many times I’ve showed her how to send email on a windows laptop, something has always gone amiss whilst I’m away. Whilst all my work mates receive regular emails from their spouses when working overseas, for me it was a 2 to 3 time a year affair.
It was a strange birthday present (she’s not into tech), but I can honestly say the iPad has been a huge hit with my other half. Now she’s browsing the net, shopping online, exchanging emails with her friends, downloading the kids homework and school schedules, and even checking out relatives abroad on Facebook. These things she could never manage on a PC without getting into a muddle. I can honestly say the iPad has changed her life. OK, I had to set it up for her, synchronise it with iTunes and set up an account for her, but this simple little device has been a huge, huge hit.
I too was impressed with the iPad so plundered the piggy bank and bought my own not so long ago. It connects to the home WiFi faster and easier than any of my numerous laptops and desktops we have around the house. It was easy to setup, recognised all our email accounts, and is just so easy to use. I’ve never been a fan of touch screens (I have 2 redundant mobile Windows devices sitting in the bottom of my desk drawer) but the touch sensitive screen and inertia scrolling on the iPad just work brilliantly and so responsively. So much now I want every screen to work like that. I never though I could do without a keyboard, but typing on the iPad is a dream. And for browsing the internet, I haven’t come across a better device yet. If you’ve ever sat in bed trying to use a laptop (go on admit it, I bet you have!), whether it be for emails, late night work or just watching movies, you know it’’s just not designed for that, but hey, the iPad is a dream (no pun intended) to use. Now I can download and watch movies, watch my DVD’s, email, browse, listen to music or audio-books, read my blogs, journals, newspapers, magazines, my photography books, novels and much, much more, all in comfort on my iPad. I find I use the iPad around the house more than my laptop now. It’s just plain and simple fun and I can even use it out in the field on photo-shoot to back-up and review my RAW files.
Sure, it has a few caveats. Mr. Jobs in his arrogance, refused to implement Adobe Flash into the Safari web browser, so many websites (and that’s about 70% of them)are not fully functional, and what’s worse, I can’t watch the replays of the goals on the BBC football pages! It has no USB port although you can be duly ripped off by paying another 25 quid to Apple for a little plastic plug-in one. You can’t upgrade the memory, it has no SD card slot, and you have to do everything through the rather prohibitive and cumbersome iTunes. However, I can can live with all that, because I just love my iPad.