[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

When Steve Jobs walked on stage for the announcement of the iPad 2 in San Francisco on March 2, nobody realized that the new iPad 2 would have the impact it has had so far. Over a million have been sold. Disappointed would-be customers waited in long lines at stores across the country and around the world only to discover that there were no more iPad 2 tablets available at that location. It was one of the most remarkable introductions of a device in history.

The iPad 2 may not be the lightest, thinnest or fastest tablet on the market today, but do you see long lines for any other tablet being made? The fact that Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry indicated that 60% of buyers so far already own an iPad, 40% of buyers are first time iPad buyers and 100% of buyers already own one Apple product speaks to the success that Mr. Jobs’ company has had marketing their iOS products.

According to a March 25 article on Bloomberg.com, Creative Strategies Inc. said that when measuring revenue, the iPad 2 is the fastest-selling technology product in history. They say, “The iPad 2 will account for at least 20 million tablet computer sales in the U.S. this year, or 83% of the market, said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This fiscal year, the iPad may bring in as much as $16.3 billion in revenue for Apple, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York.”

Even though Apple has sold over 100 million iPhones to date and it’s their top-selling product, it didn’t reach that level of contribution to the company’s bottom line until three years after its introduction.

So what makes the new iPad 2 such a compelling purchase for those 60% of customers buying one who already own an iPad?

[nextpage title=”Features”]

The iPad 2 is loaded with new features and enhancements, some of which are game breakers and some of which aren’t all that noticeable. Even the box is creative. As seen in Figure 1 below, it is simply a picture of the iPad 2 from a side view without a name or fancy graphics.

iPad 2Figure 1: The iPad 2 box

In Figure 2, once you open the box, you’ll find the iPad 2, the adapter and the cord.

iPad 2 TabletFigure 2: What’s in the box

iPad 2 (left) iPad (right) Figure 3: Side view comparison of iPad 2 on the left and iPad on the right

First, the appearance of the device is quite different. Similar to the iPhone 3’s rounded look, the new iPad 2 is 33% thinner and up to 15% lighter. Figure 3 (above) shows a side view comparison of the iPad 2 on the left, and the original iPad on the right. What that means to consumers is that it’s a lot easier to hold for extended periods of time. FaceTime chats and reading your favorite book or playing your favorite game get a lot easier with the svelte appearance and lighter weight. Figure 4 (below) shows the difference in thickness between the iPad 2, and the original iPad.

Comparing the thickness between iPad 2 and iPadFigure 4: Thickness comparison iPad 2 on left iPad on right

Under the hood, the new dual core A5 processor offers double the processing speed of the first iPad, and the new graphics chipset offers a stunning nine-fold increase in graphics acceleration. This makes the iPad 2 a topnotch gaming platform. Best of all, because the A5 Chip and a new efficient iOS operating system are so energy-efficient, the onboard battery offers the same 10-hour life as the previous version of the iPad.

iPad 2Figure 5: Back of iPad 2 – camera is at upper left

Two onboard cameras, one facing frontward and the other facing backward, bring the iPad 2 into the same world as the iPhone in terms of video capabilities. Although the backward facing camera (Figure 5, above) only shoots still photos at less than one megapixel, they both will shoot 720p video. That’s what really counts, because Apple has incorporated FaceTime into this new iPad. Users can now video chat via FaceTime with any other iOS device in the Apple line-up or with any Mac computer. All users need is a wireless network and a Mobile ME account. What’s really interesting about FaceTime isn’t so much that users are able to video chat with other Mac or iOS users, but that it has forced the opposition to develop some sort of video chat offering of their own. Apple is leading the way in changing an industry.

Apple added a three-axis gyroscope to the new iPad 2, which, combined with the accelerometer and compass allows the iPad to sense which direction it’s heading and how it’s moving. This is huge for games, maps and apps that need to know your every move. It takes gaming to a whole new level.

And, of course, the iPad 2 comes in two versions. Consumers have the option to purchase the Wi-Fi only version or the combined Wi-Fi 3G version which is available through both AT&T and Verizon. New to this version of the iPad is the opportunity to purchase it in black or white – something consumers have been clamoring for with the iPhone and will get right away with the iPad 2.

The newest operating system for the iPad 2 is currently iOS 4.3, which offers many significant upgrades from the previous version. With hundreds of thousands of Apps available through the iTunes App Store, the iPad 2 is leading the way in, as Steve Jobs said, “the post-PC era.” There is nothing like the user experience of picking up an iPad and using it for the first time. It’s very simple to use, but the iOS offers very serious capabilities – a combination that’s pretty hard to beat. The iPad and iPad 2, seen side by side in Figure 6, below, are truly transformative products that have changed how users think of tablet computers.

iPad 2 and iPad side-by-sideFigure 6: iPad 2 on left, iPad on right

The iPad is popular – far more popular than all the other tablets ever created. In 2010, according to Gartner, “the world spent USD 9.6 billion in tablets. According to Apple’s official numbers, the iPad got USD 9.566 billion.” Those figures are for 2010, but, Gartner says that “will grow to $29.4 billion in 2011, cannibalizing PCs and getting into the enterprise in full force.” He further states, “Apple will grab 70% of that market in 2011.”

There was concern that this new iPad 2 would be just an interim step between the iPad and the iPad 3, which some pundits claim will be announced in the fall. There are many improvements and changes to this iPad and in order to offer a newer iPad in the fall, Apple will put themselves in a "spot" with their faithful. What would the reaction of Apple users be to a new iPad 2 in the spring only to be offered an iPad 3 in the fall? Probably not the best marketing plan because it would definitely alienate customers, so probably an iPad 3in the fall is unlikely. If you’re on the fence about buying an iPad 2 because you want to wait for the iPad 3 with it’s possible retina display and whatever other improvements it might have, don’t wait. The retina display on the iPhone made a huge difference. The iPad 2 already has a beautiful screen, the addition of a retinal display, although a good improvement, shouldn’t dissuade someone from buying now.

[nextpage title=”Accessories”]

Apple has come out with two new accessories for the iPad 2. The new Smart Cover is a great addition to a user’s iPad 2. The Smart Cover comes in two choices of material. There are 5 color choices for the polyurethane covers: blue, green, orange, pink and grey. Likewise, there are five and five color choices for the leather covers: grey, caramel, black, navy and dark red.

The polyurethane covers retail for USD 39, the leather covers retail for USD 69. The covers are ingenious. They attach to the iPad 2 with magnets that align with the magnets put into the new iPad 2 case, so when the user puts the cover onto the iPad 2 it automatically aligns itself. The cover has a soft inside which cleans the screen on the iPad 2 when closed, and the four-segmented covers fold up to create a FaceTime and video stand or a keyboard stand. It’s an inspired design and well worth purchasing for your new iPad 2.

The new Smart Cover will wake up the iPad 2 the second the user bends the first segment back and put the iPad 2 back to sleep when it’s closed.

The second new accessory is the Digital AV Adapter, a device that mirrors what is on the user’s iPad 2 with a widescreen TV, using an HDMI adapter. The adapter also includes a 30-pin connector to charge the iPad while the user is playing content from the iPad 2 to a TV. This accessory is priced at USD 39.

[nextpage title=”New Software”]

Two of the most striking new pieces of software available for this new version of the iPad include GarageBand and iMovie, both of which are popular applications for Mac computer users. While GarageBand for the Mac is a program that users who write their own music can utilize, and those wishing to learn how to play particular musical instruments can practice with, the iPad 2 version offers different options. Using the accelerometer, the user can change the tone of the musical instrument they might be playing. For instance, when playing the piano, striking the key hard makes a sound like striking a real piano key hard. Gently caress the keys and the sound emulates a real piano being delicately played.

This USD 4.99 program offers a full eight track recording studio where users can lay down their own music and easily export it to iTunes or social media sites. For the neophyte who can’t play a tune in real life, Smart Instruments take the worry and difficulty out of making your own music and still offer you the access to recording and sharing your creations.

The new USD 4.99 version of iMovie for the iPad makes use of the multi-touch capabilities in the iPad to give precision editing of movies the user has created. Creating and editing your own movies and turning out professional results has been put into the hands of everyone. Easy to understand and use, the new iPad version of iMovie is a great addition to someone’s iPad 2.

With over 65,000 apps in the iTunes App Store that are specifically designed to run on the iPad platform, it’s pretty clear why iPad is the dominant tablet on the market.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the Apple iPad 2 include:

  • Dimensions (Wi-Fi): 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches (241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8 mm) 
  • Weight (Wi-Fi): 1.33 Lbs (601 g)
  • Dimensions (Wi-Fi + 3G): 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches (241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8 mm)
  • Weight (Wi-Fi + 3G): 1.35 lbs (613 g) or 1.34 lbs (607 g) for the Verizon model
  • Storage Capacity: 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB
  • Networking (Wi-Fi): 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Networking (Wi-Fi + 3G): Above plus UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz) and GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Netowkring (Wi-Fi + 3G Verizon model): CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz)
  • Display: 9.7-inch, 1024×768, 132 ppi
  • CPU: 1 GHz dual-core Apple A5
  • Back camera: 720p, 30 FPS, 5x digital zoom
  • Front camera: 640×480 (VGA), 30 FPS
  • Battery Life: Up to 10 hours of surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music; up to nine hours using 3G data network
  • Carriers in the US: Verizon and AT&T 
  • More Information: https://www.apple.com
  • MSRP in the US (Wi-Fi): USD 499 (16 GB), USD 599 (32 GB), and USD 699 (64 GB)
  • MSRP in the US (Wi-Fi + 3G): USD 629 (16 GB), USD 729 (32 GB), and USD 829 (64 GB), plus service plan

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

The new iPad 2 is lighter, faster, slimmer and a lot more feature-laden than the original iPad. This is not merely a midterm upgrade designed to bridge the original iPad with the future iPad 3 – this is a significant upgrade to the iPad and worthwhile in its own right.

The iPad 2 will maintain Apple’s huge lead in the tablet market. Whether Motorola Xoom, RIM’s PlayBook and others will erode their dominance remains to be seen. If estimates are correct, Apple will maintain at least a 70% market share for 2011, garnering them billions of dollars of revenue. In spite of several anticipated improvements that didn’t come to fruition – namely the retina display, a Thunderbolt port and higher resolution cameras, the iPad 2 is still the leader. It may not be the slimmest, or the fastest. Nor does it exhibit the best display or have the most power. However, this tablet has the power of the iTunes App Store behind it. Because o
f that, expect the iPad 2 to maintain a significant market dominance through 2011. It’s a great buy, Verizon and AT&T have decent plans, and the apps will possibly make it the most incredibly useful device you might ever own.