Sure, the iPad 2 is slimmer, but the iPad 1 is already amazingly slim. Sure, it's faster, but the iPad 1 is already fast.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983


New iPad 2 adds cameras, little else

April 3, 2011

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2011, The Post-Standard

Should you buy Apple's new iPad 2?

The iPad 2, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced last month, is slimmer and faster than the original iPad. It has a camera in front and a camera in back. You can get it in black or white, too. You can buy it at box-box stores locally or from Apple's online store at http://store.apple.com/us.

And it's the same price as the original iPad, which I suppose we'll all have to start calling the iPad 1. Slimmer, faster, two cameras, the same price ($499 on up) -- how could you resist such a bargain?

Easily. If you really want to save money on an iPad, buy the original model. Apple is still selling it, but at a reduced price. You get a new iPad with a new warranty at a very attractive price if you choose the original model.

Go to the Clearance section of the online Apple store to order an original iPad at reduced pricing. Prices for new iPad 1 models start at $399. Prices for refurbished iPad 1 models start at $350.

(After writing this, I noticed that Apple has been selling its iPad 1 models at quite a clip. It's possible they will be sold out by the time you read this.)

But if you want a camera with your iPad, the choice is easier, of course: You buy the newer model. Personally, I prefer taking photos and videos with a camera, not with a phone or pad. The front-facing camera lets you conduct face-to-face conversations with other iPad 2 or Mac users using Face Time, software that comes free with the iPad 2 and the latest Macs. (You can buy it for earlier Macs for a couple of dollars at the Mac App Store.)

The front camera also works with Skype, the popular video-calling app. So for those who love the idea of a very slim tablet that does many of the functions a laptop is normally used for, the iPad 2 is ideal. Anyone who chats with far-away family members using Skype video calls should love the iPad 2.

Sure, the iPad 2 is slimmer, but the iPad 1 is already amazingly slim. Sure, it's faster, but the iPad 1 is already fast, and the only extra speed you’d notice with the iPad 2 is in graphics-inntensive games.

What's left out of the iPad 2 is important, too. Apple didn't change the display, which already, in the iPad 1, probably is the sharpest and clearest in the industry.

Apple added a new hardware dongle to the iPad 2 -- an adaptor that lets the iPad 2 send HD video and sound to a TV or projector -- and said the connector, which uses the industry-standard HDMI method, also works on the iPad 1. This corrects an annoying deficiency of the iPad -- its inability to mirror anything on the screen, in any app, to another monitor, a TV or a projector. The adaptor costs $39.

As for white or black iPads, that's cool. Apple also has a new, extra-cost case -- it's like Joseph's coat of many colors, available in shades that would make your mom blush -- and showing how your new super-slim iPad can slip under a door is sorta cute. But the way I see things, the Face Time camera is the best part of the iPad 2, and if you don't need it, you don't need the iPad 2. The iPad 1, especially at the new bargain price, is more attractive than ever.