It is, indeed, thinner, lighter, faster, etc. It features an Apple proprietary thermal chip whose only purpose is to make it seem really cool. And it still has the famous multi-touch interface that's annoyingly different from the Apple "Magic" Trackpad. With the built-in accelerometers and gyroscope, the iPad 2 can tell where it is and what you're doing to it. You can poke it, prod it, tilt it and shake it. All of this makes possible such ground-breaking applications as these:
- You poke the screen and little fish swim over to check out your finger.
- You draw with your finger on the glass, and on the screen appears a drawing that looks like it was done with an old sneaker dipped in paint.
- You bring up the on-screen keyboard and type "When in the course of human events", and it gets automatically translated, right before your eyes, into "w#Hewmi8m 5rhe c 9oiu4sxze oldf uhjhinmANM E$$VBEWMNFTRS"
- You read electronic books, almost as easily as with a cheap ebook reader.
- You start the Safari browser, and go to GHo9pohglke3.,vco9jnm
The dramatic addition of cameras means you can run applications that make you look like a 1960's psychedelic poster, or like you're seeing a fun house mirror, or like you've been poked, prodded, tilted and shaken. Then you can switch to the back (front?) camera, which has all the resolution of a 2003 cell phone. You can video chat with friends, as long as they also have an iPad 2, iPhone or iPod Touch, and don't mind looking like a submerged cadaver.
But the main thing that's changed is the world. The iPad, one of the fastest selling devices in history, has created its own market. Before it, nobody needed a jumbo iPod Touch that didn't fit in your pocket. Now rival companies are tripping over themselves to match the iPad's elegance, features and price. And that, of course, means mutually assured obsolescence.
Maybe next year.