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« Celebrating iPad's First Year - Apple Style | Main | iPad 2: Our last minute speculation roundup »

Thoughts on iPad 2

ipad2-facetime.jpg

The iPad 2 is just hours old, but it already seems to us like the definitive iPad. While the original iPad was nipping at the heels of 'real computers', the iPad 2 looks like it will scare the life out of highend netbooks and even cause the mighty MacBook Air some sleepless nights!

What Apple did today was provide a near perfect upgrade to a near perfect device, they also paved the way for a relatively straightforward iPad 3 announcement next year.

Here is our first look at the iPad 2, we have had zero hands-on time with the new device (hopefully Apple will invite us to future iPad related announcements), but we can glean quite a bit from just the specifications alone.

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Makes no mistake this is a serious hardware upgrade

9x 3D graphics performance. Apple made a very big deal about this massive boost in polygon pushing power and for good reason. A 9x increase over the iPad 1 puts the iPad 2 in broadly the same league as the newly announced (but not yet shipped) Sony NGP (or PSP 2), a device which Sony claims is almost as powerful as its PS3. The iPad 1 uses the same graphics core as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, the PowerVR SGX 535. The SGX 535 is theoretically capable of pushing out around 28 MPolys/s (polygons per second). Multiply that by a factor of 9 and you are looking at the best part of 252 ´╗┐MPolys/s. Remember that this is a theoretical peak performance figure and that real world performance is likely to be significantly less. Even so, the iPad 2 is a polygon munching monster!

The Sony NGP uses the SGX543MP4 (four cores) and can produce a theoretical 133M polygons/s. The only conclusion that we can form based on the available information is that the iPad 2 is using either the exact same GPU configuration as the NGP or possibly the higher specified SGX544MP4. Whatever the iPad 2 is using, is seems likely that it is more than equal to anything that Sony's new handheld console can muster. Game developers will not have to compromise polygon performance when choosing the A5 powered iPad 2.

As an aside, this bodes well for the iPhone 5 in June and the iPod Touch 4 in September. If they only manage half the polygon performance of the iPad they will surely produce home console quality graphics.

2x CPU performance. To be fair the iPad 1 is no slouch, it handles a variety of tasks with almost no slowdown, but there are an increasing number of applications that appear to push the A4 powered iPad 1 to its limits. Take ArtRage as an example. The A5 powered iPad 2 could reduce the painting lag in ArtRage by half or more, making for a much more natural painting experience. Every firsthand account of the iPad 2 suggests that it is 'blazingly fast'. More raw CPU power is never a bad thing, it will mean slicker multitasking, faster load times and a generally more pleasing experience.

Lighter and thinner. We have no problem with the thickness of the iPad 1, but it is a tad heavy. As the irrepressable march towards paper thin computers continues we can expect the iPad to get ever thinner and lighter. As long as this progression is not at the expensive of battery life you'll hear no complaints from us.

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Cameras. The iPad 2 sports a front and rear facing camera. The front facing camera is for FaceTime, a stunningly simple video chat client, while the rear facing camera offers 720p video capture. As we have already mentioned the inclusion of these cameras was inevitable. We can only begin to imagine the possibility that a full 720p HD video camera opens up. Yes, we know the idea of using your iPad as a video camera seems slightly ridiculous, but honestly, we think many will do just that, especially as you can now edit and upload that footage using just one device.

HDMI out. There are many reasons why this is a big deal. We will return to this feature in a future post, but let's just say this for now, 1080p output with PS3 level graphics. Oh yes!

iLife is on its way, bit by bit

The announcement and subsequent demonstration of iMovie and GarageBand for iPad had us smiling from ear to ear. We have long believed that iLife would find its way to the iPad platform, but to see it reproduced to such an extent on hardware with such power was the highlight of the entire announcement. If there was ever a clear signal that Apple see the iPad as a content creation device, this is it.

But where is iPhoto?

Simple. iPhoto has been held back to form a significant part of the iPad 3 (or iPad Pro) reveal. What better application could there be than iPhoto to demonstrated a new Retina class display? iPhoto is coming, make no mistake, it will arrive at the same time as the iPad with Retina display, perhaps this year, but certainly before April 2012.

Cheaper iPads for everyone

Right now we are buzzing with the prospect of what the iPad 2 is capable of, but almost as exciting is the prospect of the iPad 1 becoming that much more affordable. At the time of writing the original iPad 1 is listed in the UK Apple Store at just £329, that's a wonderful deal for those looking for their first iPad. We have no idea if this will last, but even if it doesn't there will surely be plenty of iPad 1 units available on eBay for quite some time.

We have plenty more iPad 2 commentary arriving shortly. Stay tuned folks!

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Reader Comments (10)

....totally underwhelmed i'm afraid !..i'm waiting for a retina display...with stylus/nomad brush support....hopefully a quadcore tegra3 chip and a card reader...plus a thinner and lighter casing !

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterandydj

I'm very excited for what this means for Filterstorm. I've already pushed the maximum export size in FSPro (due out in about a month) and FS3 to 8MP. With twice the ram and processing power, 16MP should hopefully be quite doable.

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTai Shimizu

the lighter and thinner part you mentioned in your article above:-
if i may quote you:-

"Lighter and thinner. We have no problem with the thickness of the iPad 1, but it is a tad heavy. As the irrepressable march towards paper thin computers continues we can expect the iPad to get ever thinner and lighter. As long as this progression is not at the expensive of battery life you'll hear no complaints from us."

Heavy is indeed one of the main issues that the iPad 1 had uncovered, especially for users that were holding it for a long amount of time (physicians, teachers, avid novel readers etc.)

There is a solution out there though. We @themeglio wanted to offer just the right solution to be able to utilize the iPad where weight would not be an issue, keeping in mind comfort, and having to use the iPad as a stable stand on any surface. The URL mentioned explains it all :) - Please do check it out.

Although the accessory The Meglio, is still in pre-production stages we hope to push enough awareness soon and have it out in the market - Let's get talking and we hope to introduce the world to a product that compliments the iPad in so many ways, letting the boundaries with what can be achieved by the iPad, pushed.

Thank you!
Ghaz.

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterghaz

Andy: We think you might be waiting until 2012 for that spec. In fact, thinking about it, it will never happen as Apple design their own chipsets for the iPad, so a Tegra 3 powered iPad is extremely unlikely.

Tai: 16MP would be fantastic, we can't wait to see what you can do! I wonder if the new GPU is OpenCL compliant... That might give FS a massive speed boost in some functions.

Ghaz: Looks like a good product you have there, thanks for getting in touch, we wish you every success!

March 3, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

Ghaz I checked out your link and personally I wouldn't buy your product. Here's why:
cost - I'd have to buy another one for the ipad 2 and it's more expensive than current products out there
functionality - doesn't seem practical; all the weight on the fingers

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIpad Owner

haha so I saw my wife's post and I had to explain to her that it's not more expensive than similar products out there - just had to put that out there. I think most users would actually spend 50 on it, so not bad on pricing at all.

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIpad Owner's husband

I totally agree...i'll be waiting till 2012 for the 3rd gen....i almost bought the ipad 1st gen on the day of release in the UK.....so waiting is not really an issue in this instance ! I appreciate that Apple design their own chipsets for the iPad...However now that microsoft have announced that Windows 8 will be compatible with ARM chipsets due late 2012...maybe the wait for IPad 3 running an equivalent quadcore chipset together with a retina display following the Wacom taken over...that might not be such a bad wait imao !
...My interest in the iPad extends to music apps to...so the amalgamation of midi is fantastic progress....a native HDMI and SD slot would complete the wish list !

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterandydj

Hi there iPad Creative -

Thank you for your comments. I am definitely glad you liked what you have seen around the Meglio
I was telling iPad Owner's Husband that we are definitely also planning on releasing the iPad 2's version of the Meglio, where the Meglio will be modified to adhere to the specs and new changes made to the iPad 2.

We hope to release to the market soon, both versions of the Meglio to make sure both iPad1 and iPad2 users have an equal oppertunity to enjoy their iPad.

We hope you can check out the kick starter campaign for the Meglio as well, (pre-order now button on the site) and be a hopeful Backer for the Meglio in order to promote awareness and funding.

Discussion or comments on there are always appreciated and feedback is great to have as well. Feel free to spread the news and the web-site I sent your way to others you know and tech blogs you often comment on and review/view.

We would like others to be as excited about the Meglio as we are here :)

Thank you!

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterghaz

To iPad Owner's husband -

hello there,

nice to see your email , especially the second one here :)

I was going to actually email you and let you know that we have definitely decided to ship out the Meglio for iPad 1 and also are in works to get the second version of Meglio developed with our vendors for the new iPad2 to adhere to it's design and specs as well.

We simply have to redesign the base that the Meglio sits on so that clips seamlessly to the iPad and will allow for a controllable slide along the sides of the iPad 2
Plus the changes to the base that the Meglio sits on will be trivial for the iPad 2, especially when contrasted with the engineering effort required to build the ergonomic shape and the bend currently incorporated in the Meglio

if all goes well we plan to release both versions to the market very soon.

Second, as you mentioned the price is okay, in fact per your estimates users would pay $50 even.
I agree that the current pricing model is reasonable as well.

So, I am hoping to know a couple of things from you.

One, with what you have seen, pics, videos and everything the meglio has to offer, would you buy the Meglio?
Also, would you be able to offer your updates/comments on the discussions section of the Kick starter campaign, someone with your expertise and knowledge would be really amazing to have a couple of words from you about what you think.

Please do follow us on twitter, @themeglio, and we hope you will be a backer on the kick starter campaign as well.
We hope to get as much discussion going as possible, so let me know if the Meglio is something you find worthy of mentioning on your site as well, as the smart iPad accessory coming very soon.

Glad to hear back from you.

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterghaz

Thanks ! for giving such a great information. I really like your post as your post is informative as well as interesting. I am also quite excited to see your upcoming post. So please keep writing.

April 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIphone App Reviews

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