Why the iPad 2 is actually the iPad 1.5

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iPad2The amount of hype leading up to the iPad 2 launch by Steve Jobs earlier this week may have been an unprecedented favourable push in publicity and trends for Apple, but also slightly anti-climactic as many tech enthusiasts shared the same overall synopsis on the unveiled final product: It simply failed to deliver.

Now before all the fanboys start blasting me for defiling their consecrated Apple gadget-gardens, let me further say that I’m an avid enthusiast of the iPad, the father of all tablets. I even happen to own one. Yet, with the transition from iPad 1 to iPad 2, it’s only logical that expectations should be set slightly higher, with all the minor and major drawbacks from the previous version resolved.

However, many of the key features and improvements which most enthusiasts were hoping would be included in the iPad 2 were absent, leaving many in the digital community disappointed. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. No USB port and/ or SD slot
    Despite the hype around the new adapter (priced around US$39), which provides HDMI support to television and other devices, and early speculation about Apple reconsidering its former resistance to accessories, most disappointing was the lack of accessory support on the iPad 2. USB and SD slots are no longer an issue of compatibility, something Apple has unfortunately not heeded.
  2. No improvements on screen resolution
    The iPad 2 still has the same 1024×628 pixel display ratio as its predecessor giving it a meager 132 pixels per inch when compared to the iPhone 4‘s Retina display of 326 pixels per inch density. Tighter pixels allow for better clarity and a better e-book reading experience, an integral part of the overall iPad experience.
  3. No 4G Connectivity
    Internationally, 4G networks have already taken off and with two of Apple’s US phone carriers both rolling out new high speed wireless networks later this year, it is disappointing that the iPad 2 was confirmed to support only the current 3G level of connectivity. Even more dissapointing if you consider that Motorola’s Xoom currently sells with the promise of a free 4G upgrade. The obvious reason was the push towards the 10 hour battery life which is expected to diminish the device’s battery life when on 4G.
  4. Lack of NFC capability
    Near-field communication technology may be aimed primarily at phones as opposed to tablets but including NFC chips in the iPad would solidify the next-generation of mobile payment systems. Android’s Gingerbread 2.3 system currently supports NFC for one phone. Apple would have taken a bold step towards pioneering this futuristic technology if they had included it.
  5. Low resolution cameras
    Okay, so while the idea of using your tablet PC as a camera may not be viable for most photo or video enthusiasts, it seems lacking that Apple would ‘dumb-down’ on the simplicity of ensuring their version 2 product is not equipped with high-res specs. The rear-facing camera on the iPad 2 is 1 megapixel whereas Motorola’s Xoom sports a 5 megapixel camera. Cost and size may have influenced the implementation and choice of low-res options as the iPad 2 is significantly sleeker than its predecessor. The front-facing camera shoots only VGA quality, an even lower resolution, further indication of poor competitive stats from Apple.
  6. No improvements on the overall user interface
    While my comparative argument may be drawing strongly in favor Android, again the arrival of a new user interface for the iPad would have been a significant game-changer. The newest version of iOS 4.3 appears with minor incremental changes to the interface without any new sophistication to excite. Unlike Android’s Honeycomb tablet OS which boasts a more elegant home screen with unobtrusive popups and third party widgets that allows for customization.
  7. No Flash support
    More disappointing is that Apple have yet again failed to support Adobe Flash on their latest device. With all the games, apps, videos and websites that make use of Flash, its only logical that including it would be essential to any gadget offering mobile browsing.
  8. No storage improvements
    Apple maintained the same exact drive sizes for the iPad 2 as with the original iPad despite rumors that a 128 GB version would be available.

In summary, despite a few bumps up on key specs and processor power, cameras and lighter portability, the overall final product feels more like an iteration in the iPad evolution, making it more of an iPad 1.5 than an iPad 2.0.

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  • http://twitter.com/adielslarmie Adiel Slarmie

    I think the informed tech enthusiast would be aware that version 2 of any apple product will always be an iterative version of the previous. And the iterative way of evolving helps stretch their lead over other tablet manufacturers.

    Agree with alot of your points though. All of us have our iPad list of gripes and i don’t think that’ll end irrespective which version we’re on.

    I have alot of apple kit, but don’t consider myself a fanboy. I just like the way they do stuff…

  • Hgfj

    What a moronic article

  • part of the herd

    how is apple suppose to make money if they give you all improvements in the 2nd version? you will be paying for those features/improvements many years into the future. see they still working on multi-tasking for the iphone and its into version 4. maybe they will get it right in version 5?

  • http://twitter.com/RianVDM Rian van der Merwe

    May I ask, who are the “many in the digital community” who were disappointed by the iPad 2 announcement?

    It’s been well-known for a while that the iPad 2 won’t have a USB port, and the retina display debate is purely a question of math, and a way for Apple to not make things really difficult for developers right now (like Android does with their multiple screen resolutions) until a full retina display can be supported (read more about the math here: http://daringfireball.net/2011/01/cold_water_ipad_retina_display )

    Flash, NFC, 4G… none of those were credible rumors to begin with.

    Even Samsung admitted that the iPad 2 is making them rethink their strategy: http://www.loopinsight.com/2011/03/04/ipad-2-makes-samsung-rethink-inadequate-parts-of-galaxy-tab/

    But perhaps the biggest flaw in the argument in this article is not realising where Apple is going with all of this. If you look at the iPad 2 and especially the changes coming in Lion, you’ll see they are moving to what is now being called a Post-PC world. From http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/03/editorial-its-apples-post-pc-world-were-all-just-living/#:

    “In this new world, Apple no longer has to compete on specs and features, nor does it want to. There is no Mac vs. PC here — only “the future” versus “the past.” It won’t be a debate about displays, memory, wireless options — it will be a debate about the quality of the experience. Apple is not just eschewing the spec conversation in favor of a different conversation — it’s rendering those former conversations useless. It would be like trying to compare a race car to a deeply satisfying book. In a post-PC world, the experience of the product is central and significant above all else. It’s not the RAM or CPU speed, screen resolution or number of ports which dictate whether a product is valuable; it becomes purely about the experience of using the device. What that means is that while Motorola and Verizon will spend millions of dollars advertising the Xoom’s 4G upgrade options, CPU speed, and high-resolution cameras, Apple need only delight consumers and tell them that specs and and speed are the domain of a dinosaur called the PC. Apple isn’t claiming victory in the Space Race — it’s ceding space to the competition.”

    Read John Gruber’s summary of the event: http://daringfireball.net/2011/03/the_chair. I don’t think there is any way you can call the iPad 2 a disappointment if you look at it in the context of the entire Apple ecosystem.

  • Anonymous

    I agree…
    * Back camera: Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still camera with 5x digital zoom
    * Front camera: Video recording, VGA up to 30 frames per second with audio; VGA-quality still camera
    * Tap to control exposure for video or stills
    * Photo and video geotagging over Wi-Fi

    What is with the whole lie about 1 mega pixel?

  • http://ogr3.com/trabisdementia Ricardo Costa
  • http://www.bodhost.co.uk/cloud-server-hosting.php CloudhostingUK

    Good classification doesn’t need a version name.

  • http://twitter.com/AlanAlston Alan Alston

    I wish I had the time to write a similar rebuke to this article as found over here as it really deserves it:
    http://daringfireball.net/2011/03/bending_over_backwards

    Actually no: I wish the person who wrote this article in the 1st place didn’t waste his time penning it in the 1st place.

  • http://geekworldnews.blogspot.com/ Geekworldnews

    it’s awesome.

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