iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

Summary: The industry trope on Apple's next-generation tablet is that it's just a ho-hum upgrade, no longer the earthshaking product on the market. But after the obligatory caveats, reviews say the machine mostly rocks. Was that so hard?


The industry trope on Apple's next-generation tablet is that it's just a ho-hum upgrade, no longer the earthshaking product on the market. But after the obligatory caveats, reviews say the machine mostly rocks. Was that so hard?

At USA Today, Edward Baig says the iPad 2 is a relatively modest upgrade.

As Apple unleashes the latest object of desire, a slimmed-down iPad 2, it makes what was already a splendid slab even better, even if the overall upgrade is relatively modest. Apple didn't boost the screen resolution or bump up the storage. There's no iPad that can take advantage of nascent high-speed 4G cellular networks. The external speaker is mono. No SD card slot or USB, either.

But then in the very next paragraph says "these are nitpicks."

Why start out with a list of nitpicks? It's the trope talking.

Worse, the title of Baig's review is "iPad 2 is even better than the original." Was there ever a thought in anyone's mind that Apple's next-gen iPad wouldn't be better than the first? That it would worse? Or stay the same? Come on!

Joshua Topolsky at Engadget says that the iPad 2 is "iterative," and warns that Apple will have to "deliver bigger guns" in the next round of models.

Not so good, right? But when he actually looks closely at its performance, it's a different story.

The CPU and graphics performance of this tablet felt extremely impressive to us -- the iPad 2 performed excellently no matter what we threw at it, games and graphically taxing apps seemed to have higher frame rates, and even when dealing with CPU intensive programs like GarageBand, it rarely (if ever) seemed to be struggling.

By the Geekbench results, the iPad 2 is 62 percent faster.

In addition, the battery life is an hour longer than the original iPad. Topolsky said he used the new model heavily but didn't recharge it for 5 days. This important spec for real-world performance beats the Motorola Xoom by 2 hours.

It might frustrate the competition to hear this, but it needs to be said: the iPad 2 isn't just the best tablet on the market, it feels like the only tablet on the market. As much as we'd like to say that something like the Xoom has threatened Apple's presence in this space, it's difficult (if not impossible) to do that.

Enough with the trope. Just start out with the fact that the iPad 2 rocks and go from there.

Oh and by the way, late last week several analysts raised their estimates on iPad 2 sales, some to 30 million (which is for the 12 month period after the release), 43.7 million and 45 million units.

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Tablets

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  • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

    Yeah it's weird isn't it? I think the problem might well have been Apple improved parts that weren't seen as a problem before:

    The iPad was already very thin. Apple made it thinner.

    The iPad was already blazingly fast. Apple made it faster.

    The iPad already had fantastic battery life. Not only did Apple improve this, but they down played it.

    The improvements to iOS are coming to all iPads (classic as well as "2") so they don't really count.

    Then other aspects are unchanged, no exposed filesystem. But I think this is a good design decision, but hardly "news". No Flash, same story, Flash would be a bad idea, but this isn't "news". Slots of storage devices would be pointless without exposing the filesystem, but still people ask for them.

    It seems Apple are determined to NOT make this an IT product. You don't see much of the "computer within" either in Apple's marketing, or indeed, the product itself. This is part of their brilliance, and what's missing from Google's Android.

    Instead what we probably should look at are the real stars of the iPad2 - Garageband and iMovie. But people seem to focus on the device rather than what it does. Clearly we're still thinking like it's a "PC".
    • USA Today's Baig is weakest reviewer among these

      @jeremychappell: he was not paying to Garageband or iMovie any attention.

      Yet he showed himself as ignorant when reviewing screen of iPad 2. <b>Baig does not even know the difference</b> between usual TN matrix (Xoom) and IPS (iPad/iPad 2). He also has no idea what it means to have all of screen layers glued together to fight parasitic refraction (only iPad/iPad 2).

      Also, what is with idea of testing battery life with maxed-out brightness?

      I mean I had to set brightness to very low levels on original iPad, or else it was making me blind (screen would become much brighter than surrounding, what is unhealthy for eyes).

      If Baig meant to measure battery life in condition of using it under sun light, then it is still pointless since contrast is not good enough for that 8.5 hours use even with maximum brightness set. It is not realistic scenario at all; <b>pointless</b>.
      • Wow that sounds like a great screen

        "He also has no idea what it means to have all of screen layers glued together to fight parasitic refraction (only iPad/iPad 2)."

        It's only 768 pixels by 1024, so I'd be viewing the web at 75% zoom or less. A bit of glue, no matter how cleverly marketed, does not mitigate that.

        The battery life is good, but not new, the tradeoff is that USB port problem (can't be charged from most USB ports). Again a tradeoff.

        So it's not an unqualified great, and their review reflect that.
      • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

        @guihombre What sites are you looking at where they don't fit on 1024x768 (or if you hold it the other way 768x1024). Do you know how easy it is on an iPad to zoom? Yeah there's "pinch" but on a site there's "double tap" you see something interesting (ie, not the ads that surround every damn site these days) and you "double tap". So no, you'd not be viewing the web at 75% all the time.

        This isn't "fanboyism" go try it (there must be an Apple store somewhere near you). You might still have criticisms and concerns about the iPad, but the browsing experience won't be one of them.

        Actually the iPad CAN be charged from most USB ports, but it charges slowly, and yes, if you wake it and use the radios a lot then you can discharge it faster than it charges.

        However for a lot of people they'll never need to use the (included) charger as they'll be able to charge it over USB (if I plug it in to my display it charges - the charger only comes with me if I'm away over a weekend).

        The thing is, as the article says - they've all front loaded the negative, the "bottom line" is the iPad2 is the best tablet available, and has improvements over the original in almost every respect.
      • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

        "What sites are you looking at where they don't fit on 1024x768 ".... "double tap"... "pinch"... ignore the adverts..."
        I make even Zdnet's page to be 944 pixels wide with a 305 pixels index bar (not just adverts). So to do portrait, it needs to be greater than 944 pixels.

        Now you may say 'well flip it into landscape for those sites', to which I'd answer "does it do portrait or not??", I would say not, because it has too few horizontal pixels for most websites.

        It may have nice zoom, but that's just admitting that you *need* to zoom. There may be adverts in the margins, but there are indexes too. etc.

        Ultimately Apple will bump up the resolution, and will support Flash, but until they do we'll have to listen to the excuses.

        "This isn't "fanboyism" go try it"
        Yes it is.

        "they've all front loaded the negative", they overlooked the shortcomings in iPad 1 so it's reasonable to discuss them in 2. Especially since they'd speculated at all those shortcomings being fixed.
      • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

        Your argument doesn't hold much water. Which resolution you set your browser to is irrelevant. That fact that you don't want to zoom is irrelevant. If I could make my desktop browser zoom like an iPad I would as it maximizes the use of space, etc.

        Yes, one day, when it becomes both technically and economically feasible to do so, Apple will increase the resolution of the iPad. Assuming they keep the same IPS display, etc. that would be much nicer.

        As for Flash, you're dreaming. There is no need for flash on a device like this and those devices that do "support" it do so poorly. I've even disabled Flash on my work computer. Web sites are less annoying and pages load faster. A win / win for me. What's more, just because a web site displays Flash when you visit, doesn't necessarily mean the iPad sees nothing in it's place. Many sites are now accommodating iPad / iOS users specifically.
    • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?


      why hate the iPad? ok, so it doesn't work for you. buy whichever tablet you want.

      if the rest of us like the iPad, why can't you accept that? why do you want everyone to have the same opinion you have?

      live...and let live.
    • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

      Well I don't know. But I just can't say yes either!

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  • I don't get it

    What's with the fanboyism? Why do you care how much they sold or will sell? Do you have a lot Apple shares?

    P.S. I agree it's great, but it's being judged comparatively to iPad and the difference is not that astounding
    • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

      @ms414 No (sadly). However, I really like the iPad. I'm a nice guy, I think everyone should have nice things. It's purely selfless.

      On the flipside, I like the iPad, I want it to be a success so I can keep with the platform. I want more stuff for the iPad. I want Apple to keep improving the iPad so there are even nicer ones for me to buy later on. It's purely selfish.

      I dunno, about the "not that astounding" - isn't GarageBand/iMovie pretty astounding? I mean, did anyone think the iPad would be able to do that?
      • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?


        Who didn't? It makes no sense that they weren't there from the beginning.
  • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

    Why can't they just say it's great? Because It's NOT.
    Only Apple fanboys would have to fall in line to buy iPad2.
    Apple needs more than paid articles and advertisement to convince thinking people.

    Apple is running out of creative juices so they just decided to improve iPad a little bit and release it for public consumption. Netbook is still the way to go for supporting businesses and doing 'real' work on mobile. iPad and iPad2 are just oversized iPhones on steroids. Mission Critical jobs are netbook and laptops area of expertise. While tablets are for loners who love to entertain themselves with overpriced paperweights. iPad for the Enterprise? Dream on.

    The Apple mind share is starting to wear out. Samsung, LG, Motorolla, HTC and others have already stand up for themselves to get respectable attentions on their designs. Android have already surpassed iOS and even Kinect already kicked the iPhone and iPad to the gutter for selling 10 million units on its initial stage. Windows Phone 7 will be the knock out punch that will hit Apple to the gut. Say goodbye to paid articles and advertisements by Apple. Goodbye Apple. Nice knowing you.

    (Apple endorsements ruined the sitcom Big Bang Theory)
    • what planet do you live on?

      - Apple is running out of creative juices...
      they reinvented tablet computing last year, selling ipads like crazy and delivered a strong update within a year. running out of creative juices? wow, you expect a lot, even from the most innovative company on this earth.

      - netbooks the way to go...
      you realize that netbook sales have decreased strongly over the last two years, partly because of the ipad?

      - ipad for the enterprise, dream on...
      man, you really are delusional. ipad for the enterprise is very real, 80% of the fortune 500 already deploying or testing it. never before in history had a new platform this kind of enterprise penetration in such a short time.

      - apple mindshare is starting to wear out...
      where? not on this planet. did you realize the enormous amount of free publicity apple got for their ipad 2 launch alone? i understand that the apple hating blogosphere is frustrated with the kind of admiration apple gets in the media. but sorry, it's real and is only increasing

      - android has already surpassed iOS...
      by what metric, by giving away an OS for free? apple is selling hardware, not an OS. and by the way nowadays some obscure derivates as tapas and OMS that are strong in china and india are counted as android, but actually are not

      - kinect...
      you gotta be kidding. a game controller? why not compare ipad to raspberry frappuccino sales then? and in addition the numbers are wrong. kinect sold 8 million units in two months in 2010. in the same time frame apple sold around 5.5 million ipads. but in 2011 kinect sold only 2 million units more until today, in the same time frame apple probably sold around 5 million ipads and 14 million iphones.
      banned from zdnet
      • Actually, I believe Apple sold 14 million...

        @banned from zdnet of the original iPads, but please correct me if I'm wrong about this.
      • ipad units

        @godsfault <br>apple sold 14.8 million ipads in 2010. in the timeframe since the kinect was available in 2010 (nov + dec) apple probably sold around 5 million units (7.33 million for the whole quarter).
        banned from zdnet
      • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

        @banned from zdnet obviously you dont have a clue about what youre saying.apple selling hardware?alot of the stuff in it isnt an apple product.except the chipset?good ole taiwan to the rescue.you realize you probably work for apple,keep selling misinformation?pssst..on rate android as a whole outselling ifruit.only thing it isnt is ipad.but careless i have a laptop.hahahaha about the tapas and oms...get brain before you speak...your an embarrassment.
    • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

      Netbook? Really???
      I work for a Fortune 200 company, and I can't even recall the last time I saw a Netbook at a sales meeting???

      Lot's of phones (mostly iPhone), and an occasional laptop - but seriously, alot of iPads - including the one I just wrote this post on...

      You're completely wrong, and completely missing the point!!!
      • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

        I agree.. I see same thing
      • RE: iPad 2: Why can't they just say it's great?

        @leemartin40 worst thing..fanboys like you. that really is missing the real point and humorous..thats for the laugh. ill get one i need alot of useless apps and crappy itunes...p.s written on a xoom.p.s.s i just got rid of my oversized iphone.
    • You Missed the Point

      @iluvmsft The Windows 7 phone? Really? You lost all credibility in that one statement.

      I am not an Apple fanboy. I own a first-gen iPod Touch and it works great. I use a Samsung Galaxy S Smartphone that I love. I travel with a Dell 10.1" Netbook that does everything I need it to do. However, I am looking to purchase 2 tablets for use by staff doing online reputation management. As far as I can tell, the iPad2 and Motorola Xoom are the best devices currently available. I may buy one of each initially.

      The real bottom line is that you are missing the point. The iPad is an entertainment device with "some" business capability. In most cases sufficient enough business capabillity. That's the point! Apple isn't going anywhere.