Apple iPad 2 review

Apple iPad 2 tablet

The iPad 2 has been around for couple of years now but Apple has decided to keep on selling it despite the arrival of two newer generations of the tablet, the iPad 3 and iPad 4. The iPad 2 is available for £329 instead of the original price of £399.

Although you can buy the iPad 2 new from Apple, it's only available in one storage capacity, 16GB. You can buy it in a Wi-Fi only model or Wi-Fi + 3G, the latter is priced at £429.

Despite its old age, in tablet years, the iPad 2 remains an attractive option when looking for a tablet. It's thinner and lighter than both its successors, but doesn't have the impressive Retina display. The big spanner in the works is the the Nexus 10 from Google which has iPad 4 rivalling specs but a price tag of just £319.

See below for our original review of the iPad 2 from April 2011.

When we presented our first-look overview of Apple iPad 2 last month, Apple had not even announced its UK pricing. We were surprised, then, to discover that it would cost less than the first-gen model. See also: .

When you consider that the Apple iPad 2 is appreciably faster, thinner and lighter than the iPad 1, and boasts a pair of video cameras, you may wonder where shorcuts have been made in its construction. We certainly were - and we’re still looking for them.

Yet no product is perfect, and discerning users will always be looking for ways in which the experience could be improved. Here’s our rundown of how well Apple has executed its second take on the iPad - and where there’s still room for refining what’s already proven to be an incredibly successful formula.

Apple iPad 2: Screen

First impressions are of a subtly fuzzy screen. That’s from the perspective of an iPhone 4 user. It’s exactly the same resolution as the original iPad, but since that first tablet appeared, Apple updated its phone with the so-called Retina Display. Retina, because the human retina is unable to detect any dotted pixel structure when held at normal viewing distance. An iPad 2 keeps a 132 pixels per inch (ppi) resolution, against iPhone 4’s class-leading 326ppi.

So while iPad 2’s resolution is in line with most screens, when set against iPhone 4’s razor-sharp view, we see softer furred edges to fonts. 

Yet there’s little denying that iPad has the best tablet screen in the business. The incredible sensitive touchscreen is glass-fronted and shiny, but nothing like as reflective as, say, the Motorola Xoom’s mirror surface. And LED-backlit IPS technology here means you get rich, gorgeous colours, everything perfectly viewable from every angle.

Tablet Advisor

Apple iPad 2

Apple iPad 2 review: Apps and choices, choices

Many of our favourite iPhone apps haven’t been recoded for iPad. While iOS lets them work perfectly on iPad’s larger screen, you will be presented with a small working interface in the centre - expandable to fill the screen from the bottom right ‘2x’ button.

For sure, this is no criticism of iPad 2, more a comment on the iOS ecosystem with its 350,000 apps, of which ‘only’ 60,000 are customised for iPad.

The choice of iPad models has been doubled now by the simple addition of a white-border option to the line. We found the snow finish appealing, recalling the look of the original iPod. Buyers should beware that the Wi-Fi-only version still omits GPS, denying the device satnav services.

Apple iPad 2 review: Cameras

While we first questioned the need for rear-facing cameras (somehow, panning with a slate feels wrong), it’s the front camera that tipped this fence-sitter into buying an iPad 2. Apple’s own webchat, FaceTime, works well between iPhone 4s and Apple Macs, but carry-anywhere convenience coupled with larger screen and speaker means FaceTime on iPad 2 is something of a killer app. 

Blown up by the larger screen, FaceTime video is not as sharp as iPhone 4, and 640x480 camera pixels displayed over 1024x768 screen means there’s some softness. This is exaggerated by camera quality that’s barely ‘good enough’ in noise terms.

After some use, we had to concede that, just like the iPhone, a rear camera has its uses to switch views and show your chat partner what you’re viewing. We just wish webchat-leader Skype would optimise its app for iPad too.

Using speed benchmarks and two weeks of solid testing, PC Advisor's new in-depth Apple iPad 2 review shows that Apple's upgrade to the original Apple iPad is a worthy successor. Updated, 18 April 2011

Apple iPad 2 review: Smart Cover

Apple’s folding slatted screen-cover-cum-stand is a cute solution. The Smart Cover folds back like a book’s cover, serving as screen protector; as a typing stand to raise the rear; or supporting the iPad as a picture frame/webchat window in landscape mode. Shame, then, that a discreet black version forces you to splash £59 on the leather option instead of £36 for polyurethane.

Beware of those powerful magnets that seamlessly secure its edge, mind. It may be coincidence, but our train ticket’s stripe seemed to get wiped shortly after we started testing iPad 2 while commuting...

Apple iPad 2 review: Graphics

Some benighted pundits foresaw Apple adopting dual-core processors just to ‘catch up’ with Android competition; yet iPad 2 launched last month as the world’s first dual-core tablet. nVidia’s Tegra 2 was seen as impending nemesis for Apple’s A4 chip - only now we have an Apple A5 processor. Like Tegra, A5 is ARM Cortex-A9 architecture - only with PowerVR graphics that ironically far outpace nVidia’s mobile chipset.

In use, ably assisted by an optimised OS, graphics shine through, the panel replying to every touch with instant response. Pinch-to-zoom in web pages responds as if your fingertips were physically connected to the page beneath.

Apple iPad 2

Apple iPad 2 review: Instant on, long-time off

What truly separates iPad from Windows netbook/notebook alternatives is an instant-on capability, coupled with instant sleep at the touch of the sleep/wake button. And runtime of iPad 2 between wake and battery expiry is within keeping of the original’s 10-hour figure. For many, iPad use is dip-in, dip-out, rather than power-through until drained.

In our solid testing over two weeks, mixing browsing, video playback and app exploration, we found iPad 2 could survive three days between charges.

With the aid of a £35 HDMI dongle, you can now present whatever’s on the iPad’s screen to an HDMI-equipped monitor, TV or projector. Most apps we sampled mirror output on both displays, while some - such as astronomy app Star Walk - put the main picture on large screen, leaving iPad’s screen as control panel.

Aside from a Retina Display to make pixels disappear to the eye, we’d apreciate multi-user capability, to allow individual user accounts. Since a tablet PC, like a mobile phone, can be a deeply personal device - personal address books, email, photos and app/desktop layout - it’d be great to have distinct accounts. Or perhaps Apple prefers every family member to have their own pad to bolster sales and market share?

Next page: Our original review of the Apple iPad 2, by Macworld US's Jason Snell >>

Using speed tests, benchmarks and in-depth testing, PC Advisor's Apple iPad 2 review shows that Apple's upgrade to the original Apple iPad is a worthy successor to the "most successful consumer product ever launched". The following review by Macworld US's Jason Snell was updated on 10 March 2011

The Apple iPad 2 is faster, smaller, and lighter than the Apple iPad introduced a year ago - all while retaining the £429 entry price that has proven all but impossible for other tablet PC makers to match.

PC Advisor teamed up with the experts at our US sister title to bring you the first in-depth review of the Apple iPad on a UK website.

Apple iPad 2 review index:

This page - Apple iPad 2: the details

2 - Apple iPad 2 speed tests

3 - Apple iPad 2 accessories and software

4 - Apple iPad 2 in pictures

5 - Our expert verdict, specifications

Apple iPad 2 review: a game of millimetres (and grams)

The size difference between the original iPad and the Apple iPad 2 may seem slight, but that’s only because we’re dealing with such small products to begin with. But for products this small, every gram and fraction of a centremetre counts.

The Apple iPad 2 measures 241.2x185.7x8.8mm, and weighs in at 601g. That means Apple shaved 77g off the original Wi-Fi iPad. The iPad 2 is also 4mm narrower, 1.5mm shorter, and 4mm thinner than the original iPad.

A matter of small degrees, to be sure, until you consider the percentage change: the Apple iPad 2 is roughly two-thirds the thickness of the original iPad, and 88 percent of its weight (83 percent when comparing 3G models). Pick up an iPad 2 after handling an original iPad, and you’ll notice the difference right away. This is a lighter, thinner device.

In order to shave off that smidgeon of thickness, Apple has transformed the anodized aluminum back panel of the iPad. The original model’s back panel was a frame with four flat edges and a gently curved back surface. The Apple iPad 2 eschews the frame, opting for a single surface that much more rapidly transitions from curve to flat. (This has the effect of making the iPad 2 much less wobbly than the original when laid on a flat surface.)

Without those edges, the Apple iPad 2’s ports and buttons are now positioned on a curving portion of the back panel, rather than on its side. The feel is quite different, a bit like reverting the flat surfaces of the Apple iPhone 4 to the curved back of an Apple iPhone 3G. A few times I found myself struggling to insert cables into the iPad 2’s dock connector at the proper angle because I was confused by the curve of the back panel.

The end result of all this slimming down is that the Apple iPad 2 is easier to handle than the original model. The original iPad turned out to be a product that really demanded a case of some sort, just to make it easier to handle.

The Apple iPad 2 is easier to carry with one hand, and the decreased weight makes it easier to hold for longer periods of time. But if you’re planning on using the iPad 2 to read a lot, you’ll still find yourself propping it against your chest or setting it on a table - the tablet is still not light enough to hold in one hand for extended periods of time. (For that, you’ll need something more on the scale of the Amazon Kindle 3, which is less than half the weight of the iPad 2.)

Apple iPad 2 review: 12 variations on a theme

The original iPad came in six different variations - Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi/3G versions, each available with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of storage. The product was such a hit that Apple apparently decided that even more variations would be better - as a result, there are 12 different versions of the Apple iPad 2 (18 in the US). It’s a little crazy.

The storage variation remains: every model is available in 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB capacities. You can also choose an iPad with either a traditional black bezel or a new white bezel - which Apple insists will be available on day one, despite the company’s failure in ever shipping the promised white version of the iPhone 4. That’s six variations right there. Now multiply them by two, since the Apple iPad 2 comes in a Wi-Fi-only version as well as two separate Wi-Fi/3G versions.

The good news is that the iPad 2 costs just what the original iPad did, starting from £429 for the 16GB, Wi-Fi-only model.There’s no price difference for white or black models.

Apple iPad 2 review: What hasn't changed

Though it’s thinner and lighter, the Apple iPad 2, at a glance, looks very much like the original iPad. Its front is a sheet of glass over a bright 1024-by-768-pixel display surrounded by a bezel (again, now available in black or white) that’s going to be necessary so long as humans grasp with opposable thumbs. The aluminum frame around the outside of the bezel of the original iPad has been reduced to a thin edge, almost entirely invisible, in the iPad 2.

The position of the iPad 2’s buttons and ports are, likewise, more or less undisturbed. There’s a sleep/wake button at the top right edge, a standard headphone jack at top left, a volume rocker and a sliding switch (configurable to lock screen orientation or mute alert sounds via the Settings app) at the top of the right side, a 30-pin dock connector port at the bottom, and a home button at the bottom of the front face.

The Apple iPad 2’s built-in microphone is dead centre at the top edge of the device—it was next to the headphone jack on the original iPad. Both 3G models feature a black plastic cutout along the top rear face in order to improve cellular reception; the 3G model also has a micro-SIM card slot along the top left edge.

Next: Apple iPad 2 speed tests >>

Using speed tests, benchmarks and in-depth testing, PC Advisor's Apple iPad 2 review shows that Apple's upgrade to the original Apple iPad is a worthy successor to the "most successful consumer product ever launched".

Apple iPad 2 review: Apple iPad 2 speed tests

The Apple iPad 2 uses a new Apple-designed processor called the A5, which is making its first appearance on the scene. Apple is generally cagey about tech specs for products like the iPhone and iPad, but by all accounts, the A5 is a dual-core version of the 1GHz A4 chip that powers the iPhone 4 and the original iPad. The iPad 2 also has 512MB of RAM - twice that of the original iPad - and a 200MHz bus speed, likewise twice that of the original.

Because the A5 is a dual-core processor, Apple claims the Apple iPad 2 can run at speeds up to double that of the original iPad. As with any dual-core processor, the key about “up to double” is that software must be optimized to take advantage of multiple processor cores, or that speed goes to waste. This is the first dual-core processor to appear on an iOS device, and it’ll be interesting to see under what circumstances the A5 is noticeably faster than the A4, and when it’s not.

But processor speed isn’t the only part of the system that determines how it performs. Graphics performance has become a major component in determining how fast a computing device feels. And Apple says that the graphics performance on the iPad 2 is as much as nine times faster than on the original iPad.

So does the iPad 2 measure up to Apple’s claims? Absolutely, though it’s hard to determine whether the dual-core processor or the improved graphics performance deserve the credit. (Maybe the question is moot.) From the moment I started using the iPad 2 with familiar apps from my original iPad, I could tell that the system was faster. I thought scrolling through tweets in Twitterrific on my iPad was smooth as can be … until I scrolled through the tweet list on the iPad 2. Everything felt smoother, and items loaded faster.

Part of the speed boost, especially when I started to test performance in Safari, probably needs to be credited to iOS 4.3, which ships with the iPad 2 and includes a dramatic improvement to Safari’s JavaScript engine. When I installed the golden master version of iOS 4.3 on an original iPad, performance improved as well. But even when both devices were running iOS 4.3, the iPad 2 was 1.6 times as fast as the original in running the SunSpider JavaScript test, and 1.9 times as fast as an iPhone 4 running the iOS 4.3 golden master.

In short, the iPad 2 is the fastest iOS device ever made, by a long shot. And it’s not just an academic distinction: you can sense the speed when you use it, because everything’s faster and smoother than it was on the original iPad.

Apple iPad 2 review: iOS speed tests

iOS speed tests

All devices tested with iOS 4.3 except where otherwise noted. All results are in seconds. Sunspider is a WebKit JavaScript performance test, with results in seconds. Web Page test measured number of seconds to load in its entirety. Don’t be surprised by the faster startup time of the iPad 1 running iOS 4.2; iOS devices without cellular radios have much shorter startup times than those with cellular radios, for whatever reason.

Despite the boosts in processing power, Apple claims that the iPad 2 has the same ten-hour battery life as the original model. In nearly a week of use, I never saw a reason to disbelieve the claims. The iPad’s all-day battery life, perhaps its killer feature, remains intact.

Apple iPad 2 review: Cameras and FaceTime

The original iPad debuted just before Apple embraced video chat with its FaceTime software and added a front-facing camera to the iPhone. (It subsequently added both front- and rear-facing cameras to the iPod touch.) With the iPad 2, the company has brought two cameras to all of its mobile Apple iOS devices.

The cameras in the iPad 2 are essentially the same as those in the fourth-generation iPod touch: it’s nice that they’re there, but they’re not particularly impressive in terms of quality. The front-facing camera is the same one used in the iPhone 4 and the iPod touch, offering only VGA resolution (640 by 480 pixels). It’s grainy in low-light settings, but is perfectly serviceable for its intended purpose, which is video chat.

FaceTime works on the iPad 2 much like it works on the Apple iPod touch; in the Settings app you log in with an Apple ID and set an email address to use as your FaceTime “number,” so people can call you. From the FaceTime app, you can call people in your contacts list and set favorites. (FaceTime on the iPad is, like FaceTime on the iPhone 4, supported only over Wi-Fi connections.)

Once you’ve connected, the iPad’s larger screen definitely exposes the low quality of FaceTime video (whether it’s caused by the low-quality camera or the intense bandwidth required by a live video chat, or both, is debatable). Still, the video is good enough to be usable. The iPad’s size, however, makes it a bit ungainly as a FaceTime device. It’s hard to have a long conversation while holding the iPad in your hand. Propping the tablet on a tabletop or in your lap works better; propping it up with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover in typing position gave my interlocutor a nice view of my ceiling fan, while putting it in the Smart Cover’s movie-viewing position made me hunch down in order to get in the frame.

The rear camera on the iPad 2 appears to be identical to the one found on the iPod touch. (It’s positioned just beneath the sleep button on the back side of the device, creating a challenge for iPad casemakers everywhere.) Apple touts this camera as being “for video,” and there’s a reason: as a still camera it’s about seven-tenths of a megapixel, with poor performance in low-light conditions. But it’s capable of shooting 720p HD video and, in well-lit environments, the quality is decent.

I’m not sure I’m ever going to hold up the iPad 2 and use it as a video camera, but it does work - and most important, you can use that camera from within FaceTime, so you can shoot video of your kids crazily running around and send it all back to grandma.

Apple iPad 2 review: 3G = GPS

One final wrinkle to the 3G buying decision: Only 3G iPad models come with GPS capabilities. There’s a good reason for this - iOS devices use something called assisted GPS to dramatically decrease the amount of time it takes for the devices to determine their location. (Despite the name, this is not some sort of phony GPS - the assisted just means that the devices look for nearby cellular towers to get a general fix on their location, which prevents a minutes-long GPS scan that would be required on a GPS device without the cellular assist.) In any event, if you dream of using your iPad as a jumbo GPS navigation console, you’ll absolutely need a 3G model.

NEXT: Apple iPad 2 accessories and software >>

 Using speed tests, benchmarks and in-depth testing, PC Advisor's Apple iPad 2 review shows that Apple's upgrade to the original Apple iPad is a worthy successor to the "most successful consumer product ever launched".

Apple iPad 2 review: smart accessories abound

With the release of the iPad 2, Apple is also releasing several accessories related to the iPad 2.

Most notable is the iPad Smart Cover, available in either leather or polyurethane. A Smart Cover magnetically adheres to the side of the iPad 2 and protects the front, locking and unlocking the iPad when you open and close the cover. It’s pretty nifty, and it sets the bar pretty high for all future iPad 2 accessories. To read a whole lot more about it, be sure to read my iPad 2 Smart Cover review.

But there are other accessories: the Apple Digital AV adapter finally lets capable iOS devices display HD video on HDTVs, and even lets the iPad 2 mirror its own screen on an external display. (Read on for details, or see our full review.)

There’s also a new iPad 2 Dock, which I wasn’t able to test. Like the original iPad Dock, it allows you to set your iPad upright in portrait orientation and charge, sync, or even play audio- or video-out. Now the bad news: The iPad 2 and the original iPad’s dock connector are different enough that accessories that tightly fit to the hardware won’t be compatible with the new model, so you probably won’t be able to reuse many of your iPad accessories if you buy an iPad 2. Apple also seems to have discontinued the iPad Keyboard Dock entirely. (No great loss, in my opinion - you’d be better off with a dock or a case and the excellent Apple Wireless Keyboard, a combination that allows you type in either portrait or landscape orientation, rather than the forced portrait orientation of the Keyboard Dock.)

Apple iPad 2 review: a video breakthrough

One of the most pleasantly surprising features of the iPad 2 is its improved support for HDTVs and HD video. A combination of iPad 2 hardware upgrades, a new adapter from Apple, and updates to the iOS share the credit, but the end result is great news for both entertainment and education.

On the entertainment side, the new Apple Digital AV Adapter lets the iPad 2 spread its wings. With this adapter, the iPad 2 can output high-definition video at resolutions up to 1080p, as well as Dolby Digital surround sound, all served via a standard HDMI cable that the owner of any HDTV will be familiar with.

I played back several HD video files on several different HDTVs via the iPad 2 and the HDMI adaptor, and the video quality was excellent. The inability to output HD video has been a sore spot on the iOS since the release of the original iPad, but now that it’s here, it looks (and sounds) great.

Exclusive to the iPad 2 that will be hailed by educators, presenters, and anyone else who has ever wanted to show off their iPad’s screen to a large crowd: video mirroring. When connected to the HDMI adapter, the iPad 2 will display a duplicate version of the contents of its screen on an external monitor. Want to demo an education app via a projector or HDTV for a classroom full of kids? The iPad 2 makes it possible.

In mirroring mode, the iPad’s interface is crystal clear. It looks great. Because the iPad’s video interface is a 4:3 aspect ratio, you’ll find black bars on the sides of the TV when in mirroring mode. The bars grow even wider if you put the iPad in portrait orientation, but the image of an iPad 2 in portrait mode still looks good - albeit smaller - on an HDTV.

On a few TVs I tried, however, I needed to adjust the video settings in order to display the entire picture. It depends on how your TV set frames HD content; my advice is to fiddle with the video settings until you get a picture that pleases you.

For the record, the iPad 2’s mirroring mode and its video-out mode don’t fight with each other. If an app supports direct video output to an external display, the iPad stops mirroring and switches to that mode. In addition to the Video app, there are lots of other examples: Keynote uses the external display as a presentation screen, for instance.

Apple iPad 2 review: the software story

The iPad 2 arrives with a new version of the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This version, iOS 4.3, is hardly earth-shattering, but does offers a few nice new features.

Third-party apps can now take advantage of streaming video via AirPlay, the system that lets iOS devices stream audio and video to various devices, most notably the second-generation Apple TV. The Videos and iPod apps can now connect to Macs or PCs running iTunes via the Home Sharing system, meaning - at long last! - you can stream music or videos from any Mac or PC in your house to your iOS device, elsewhere on your local network.

In iOS 4.3, the slide switch on the iPad can be put to use in one of two ways: It can either function as an orientation-lock switch, as it did when the iPad was first released; or it can function as a mute switch for alert sounds, as it did upon the release of iOS 4.2. In iOS 4.3, users can choose either behaviour via the Settings app. Now can’t we all just get along?

There are a bunch of other additions to iOS 4.3; stay tuned to for our full report on iOS 4.3, which is forthcoming.

Along with the new version of the operating system, Apple is introducing two apps as a part of the iPad 2 launch. One, iMovie, is an update to the existing version of iMovie that runs on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch. The other, GarageBand, is an all-new app for the iPad. Both apps are excellent, showing off the power of the iPad, the iOS, and, specifically, the iPad 2.

It’s interesting that for the original iPad launch, Apple showcased three iWork apps: Keynote, Numbers, and Pages. It sent a message that the iPad could be used for productivity, not just for consumption. And in the intervening 11 months, we’ve seen all sorts of interesting productivity applications released for the iPad. (Along with lots of games.) The iPad app ecosystem launched strong and has continued to grow, making it one of the iPad’s biggest advantages over competing tablets.

This time out, Apple has launched its new iPad with a pair of creativity apps. What’s the message? In the case of iMovie, it’s clearly tied to the existence of the iPad’s cameras. Now you can shoot video with the iPad (ideally the HD-capable rear-facing one) and then edit it right within iMovie. Apple’s also enabled a video workflow that starts with video shot on an iPhone 4, and then ends up being transferred to an iPad 2 for editing.

GarageBand for iPad is an almost breathtaking achievement. At times it feels more responsive than GarageBand running on the late-model iMac on my desk at work. Strumming its “smart guitars” made me almost feel musical, and I was able to create a (terrible) cover version of Fountains of Wayne’s “Hey Julie” in about 30 minutes, complete with vocals, guitar, bass, drums, and organ. My nine-year-old daughter was entranced with the app as well.

GarageBand for iPad isn’t as full-featured as the Mac version, but neither does it feel like a toy version. It’s a real app with a lot of real power, and I’d imagine that it will become madly popular in schools and garages everywhere. For more information, check out my first look at GarageBand for iPad.

Both apps do suffer from one of the great failings of the iOS: difficulty in getting files in and out and moving them around. To move an iMovie project from the iPhone to the iPad, for example, you’ve got to (1) export the file on the iPhone, (2) connect it to a Mac, (3) go to iTunes, (4) click the Apps tab, (5) scroll down, (6) click on iMovie, (7) click on your project, (8) click Save to put it on your hard drive; and then you have to (9) detach your iPhone, (10) attach your iPad, (11) click on it in iTunes, (12) click on the Apps tab, (13) scroll down, (14) click on iMovie, and then (15) drag your project back into iTunes.

Apple, there’s got to be a better way. Maybe in iOS 5?

NEXT: Apple iPad 2 in pictures >>

Apple iPad Smart Cover review

The Apple iPad 2 represents a radical update for Apple's tablet PC, being thinner, lighter and faster, with dual cameras. Kudos to Apple then, that the iPad 2 will cost the same as the first iteration.

Apple iPad 2 review: in pictures

iPad 2

The newest iteration of Apple's tablet is lighter, thinner, and - surprise - it also comes in white.

iPad 2

The iPad 2 is noticeably nicer to hold than its predecessor. The weight helps, but the thinness and the tapering along the back side make it much easier to rest in one hand.

iPad 2

The reduced thickness of the iPad 2 means that we can't say the iPad's buttons and ports are on its side - there really is no side. There's a front and a back, really, with a very small amount of curved, tapered space. That's where the buttons and ports are. It's a very different feel from the original iPad.

iPad 2

The iPad 2 has gained a new tapered aluminum back and a rear camera, capable of recording 720p HD video (at 30 frames per second) and a still camera with a 5x digital zoom.

iPad 2

The iPad 2's altered shape is obviously visible when laid face-down. The device's mono speaker grille has been visibly altered, though whether that improves sound quality has yet to be determined.

iPad 2

Three form factors on the table: the original iPad on the left, the iPad 2 in the centre, and the iPhone 4 on the right.

iPad 2

Macworld's Andy Ihnatko plays with the iPad 2's Photo Booth app.

iPad 2

Like the iPhone 4, the iPad 2's front camera is VGA-quality, though it still manages to get a decent picture.

iPad 2

Apple introduced a series of covers for the new iPad at Wednesday's launch event. Held to the iPad using magnets, the iPad Smart Cover is a rectangle exactly the size and shape of the iPad's screen. The side that faces inward is made of soft microfibre cloth; the outside is either leather or polyurethane in one of five colours each.

iPad 2

The Smart Cover can stand your iPad upright, prop it up for typing, or cover it entirely, depending on its position.

Here, an iPad is propped at viewing angle using a blue Smart Cover.

NEXT: Our expert verdict, specifications >>

Apple iPad 2: Specs

  • 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 processor (ARM Cortex-A9)
  • 9.7in (1024 x 768) LED-backlit glass IPS screen, capacitive multi-touch, 132ppi, oleophobic coating
  • 16GB, 32GB or 64GB NAND flash storage
  • rear camera: HD video 960 x 720, 30fps, still shots with 5x digital zoom
  • front camera: 640 x 480, 30fps
  • Wi-Fi + 3G model: GPS receiver, UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • built-in 25Wh rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
  • 30-pin dock connector port, 3.5mm stereo headphone mini-jack
  • built-in speaker, mic
  • three-axis gyro
  • digital compass
  • 241.2x185.7x8.8mm
  • 601g (Wi-Fi only), 613g (Wi-Fi & 3G)
  • 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 processor (ARM Cortex-A9)
  • 9.7in (1024 x 768) LED-backlit glass IPS screen, capacitive multi-touch, 132ppi, oleophobic coating
  • 16GB, 32GB or 64GB NAND flash storage
  • rear camera: HD video 960 x 720, 30fps, still shots with 5x digital zoom
  • front camera: 640 x 480, 30fps
  • Wi-Fi + 3G model: GPS receiver, UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100MHz)
  • GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz)
  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • built-in 25Wh rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
  • 30-pin dock connector port, 3.5mm stereo headphone mini-jack
  • built-in speaker, mic
  • three-axis gyro
  • digital compass
  • 241.2x185.7x8.8mm
  • 601g (Wi-Fi only), 613g (Wi-Fi & 3G)


Deservedly, Apple owns this market right now, and it knows it. The price drop is the icing on the competition-killing cake, leaving iPad 2 as statement of the tablet art today. If we had to name a second-place contender, the only device nearing the slickness of operation and natural hardware/software integration is – last year’s iPad. Anyone wishing to explore effortless computing is advised to try Apple's iPad 2.