Apple cleverly experimented with first iPad by not giving away too much to the consumers so that they can launch iPad 2 in a year’s time. So here it is, iPad 2 has hit the markets globally last week. A slimmer, lighter version with a few additions like a front camera to promote its video calling feature, Facetime and a back camera to record HD videos. A faster processor and improved graphics card to satisfy game and video enthusiasts. We think that’s where the good news ends.
Things missing in iPad 2
There were a lot of expectations from iPad 2 but some fans may end up disappointed. Let us look at some of the things not included in iPad 2:
- Retina Display – introduced and promoted in iPhone 4 as display resolution closest to human eye with a claimed resolution of 326 pixels per inch, it was largely expected that it will be included in iPad 2.
- Camera – although a front and back camera have been included as expected but they are not as powerful as ones offered by some of its peers or its own 5MP camera in iPhone 4.
- External media slots – There is no inbuilt SD card slot and even USB slot. Apple offers a separate dock connector that offers slots for SD, USB and HDMI.
- Support for flash – Although not a surprise, but we are sure everybody would love to see browser with full support for flash
- RAM – RAM has not been clearly specified although claims about increase in speed and multitask leave a question mark whether it is the new operating system or increase in RAM
- Support for 4G – unlike its competitors like Motorola who have included inbuilt support for 4G network and are offering free upgrade when it is launched, iPad
Alternatives to iPad
But none of iPad 2 improvements stand out on paper when compared to its rival products like the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy 10.1. Both run the newly launched Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system, that has impressed the critics with some believing that this is the closest Google has got to in its race to beat Apple’s software. Many believe it is just a matter of time when Google Android will offer a better enriching experience for users than Apple’s OS.
Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tab is slightly lighter than iPad2 and offers in built dual surround speakers and an 8MP camera at the back. Motorola Xoom offers support for 4G and a free upgrade when available and has a 5MP camera at the back. It also has a HDMI port to allow you to stream videos to your LCD/ LEDs. Yes, Apple iPad2 also claims up to 1080p video content but only through its own AV adaptor. Both Samsung and Motorola support Flash, something Apple has been defiantly refusing to accommodate since the times of iPhone.
Apple does however has the first mover advantage with around 65000 apps specially designed for iPad but how many of those apps are really useful and worth downloading? While on the other side, you have Google that is still way behind in number of apps for its tabs but still offers full range of free software beginning with Google talk, Gmail to its newest Google eBooks store with more than 3 million book titles available to choose from and its ever improving Google Maps navigation. As we saw with its smartphones, the number of apps can grow at a rapid pace and it is just a matter of time, the apps market will not be the key differentiator for the users while choosing between iPad and Android based tabs.
So, the real question is – are you looking for real good value for money or a great product with limited functionality at a premium price?