As most of you are aware, Apple introduced iPad 2 today. Many of the new enhancements were predicted ahead of time… probably because this is the iPad Apple should have shipped originally. Seriously, Apple left 1st generation owners in the dust with this update. Hardware discussion is coming up but we want to talk about pricing first.
The resell value of old iPads has diminished greatly thanks to the new hardware and Apple’s deflated prices. Apple is selling refurbished 16GB Wi-Fi iPads for $350, new for $400. I had planned to sell my 32GB iPad for $500 and then update to the new generation without much trouble… but after seeing the drop in price, I had to go another route. I began shopping online and found that green.ebay.com was still offering $434 for my iPad (Apple’s selling them for $429 refurbished with a 1-year warranty). I jumped on that and will be shipping my old iPad to them tomorrow. A few other websites like Gazelle were still offering higher prices this morning, but realized their mistake and quickly changed the offers. Some were cut as much as $78. I guess eBay’s too big to care?
Moving onto the new features of iPad 2… holy crab cakes, Batman. Here are some of the notable updates:
- Dual Core 1GHz A5 processor — This is a new system-on-a-chip from Apple that is 50% faster than previous models and has 9x the graphics power of the previous chip. Apple was able to keep the same 10-hour battery life with the new additions. Very impressive.
- 33% thinner — Wow. I was actually expecting them to throw Thunderbolt into the iPad… there were rumors of a Mini DisplayPort connector at the top of the device, but that turned out to be the new microphone. Apple decided to go the other direction: form versus function. I can’t blame them, having a thinner and slightly lighter iPad is going to make for a better user experience. However, Thunderbolt would have been awesome. We’ll speculate more on the possibility of Micro Thunderbolt in the near future.
- Cameras – Apple added cameras to the iPad 2. People whispered camera rumors before the 1st generation even came out. Apple theoretically pulled them due to a design flaw, but they finally made their way into the iPad 2. There’s a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and a rear-facing HD Video camera. The front-facing camera maxes out at VGA resolution just like all of the other current devices. There’s still no word on the actual resolution of pictures taken with the rear-facing camera.
- Gyroscope – Apple included the gyroscope technology in the new iPad. This allows for finer control of movement in games and other accelerometer-related apps. Apple’s new iOS GarageBand software actually uses complex algorithms to dynamically change the volume of the keyboard depending on how hard you touch the screen. We can’t wait to try that.
The one thing missing from that list — most people don’t realize how important it is — is the RAM that will be available in the iPad 2. We’re assuming that Apple updated the RAM to 512MB to compare to the iPhone 4. Anything less would be very disappointing. When the original iPad came out, hearing (via iFixit) that the iPad only had 256MB of RAM left everyone very disappointed. In fact, I’d venture a guess that a lack of memory causes the majority of App crashes on the first gen iPad. It doesn’t always matter how fast your processor is, multitasking needs RAM to prevent crashing. I hope that Apple bumped it to 512MB if not more.
I’m also assuming that it still has the 5GHz wireless-n capable chip… this didn’t make its way into the iPhone 4 which forces me to run two wireless networks here at the office. The iPhone 4 can only handle 2.4GHz wireless-n. My iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad and Apple TV are all on 5GHz wireless-n. It would be nice to see the next iPhone make it’s way there as well so I can actually use the new streaming capabilities announced in iTunes 10.2.
Verdict: obviously, buy. Contrary to popular speculation, we think this is it for the next year. John Gruber started a rumor that there would be another iPad available in the Fall but we’re calling malarkey. The next version of the iPad will most likely have a higher resolution screen, but it’s going to be hard to improve upon this iPad. It finally has everything we think we want.
We’ll be at the Aspen Grove Apple Store (Littleton, CO) for the launch of the iPad 2. Come hang out with us.