So, the Ipad 2 comes out on March 11th, and we finally got to see what the fuss was about yesterday, in one of Apple's now-standard presentations scattered hither and yon across the web. Engadget has a good summary of the details, but there are really few surprises. It's thinner, lighter, more powerful, has cameras (front and back) and costs the same. Oh, and it now comes in black and white.
Now, I don't want to sound too jaded about these points. They're actually really impressive from a technical perspective, and the promised increases in graphical power alone seem to hint at fantastic future uses. I feel like Apple has re-asserted its place of prominence in the market by once again being the price leader, something I still can't believe I'm saying with a straight face. I still look forward to other tablets pushing the market as a whole forward (and I'm definitely looking forward to HP's WebOS tablet - that excites me much more than Android or RIM at this point) but I'm also glad Apple keeps coming out strong, because i think that creates necessary pressure.
Still, as a well documented ipad enthusiast who makes rigorous, daily use of his ipad 1, is it worth the upgrade? Honestly, probably not.
A lot of this is because I'm still incredibly happy with my Ipad's performance and form factor, so incremental improvements in both aren't going to move my needle much. As a practical matter, I'm fairly certain I'll need to buy an Ipad3 when it comes out, if only because developers are lazy, and we're going to start seeing games designed for the more powerful engine that will slog on the ipad 1, but I think that threshold is a ways down the road. Similarly, the addition of cameras are cool, but not compelling. Facetime will excite me more when its more widespread and, honestly, when I can run a game over it. Until then, I'm fine using my laptop for such things.
It may be shallow, but I admit the element about the ipad 2 that I find most jealousy inducing is the cover. Man, they put some thought into that, and as someone who has tried many covers, it really looks like it's a good replacement for everything short of an otterbox defender. It's pretty awesome. Not "buy a whole new Ipad" awesome, but awesome.
I look at the ipad 2 release and what's scary is that it's all about new customers. For folks who carefully avoid Apple's initial releases (due to their tending to be public betas) it's enough of an upgrade to justify the wait. For others, it has just created the secondary market for Ipad 1's at a diminished price point. That's good positioning.
So, barring disaster or windfall, I don't see myself buying an Ipad 2. Though man, you can bet I'm going to get the new Garage Band for the Ipad (which BETTER be compatible with the Ipad 1) because it looks like the program I always wished Garage Band was.