Why the iPad 2 is actually the iPad 1.5
The 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.