Tomorrow the malls and Apple stores will be buzzing with people packed wall to wall to be the first to experience the latest update from Apple. Even thought the iPad 2 is not a breakthrough product like the first iPad it still has some solid updates and I am sure will pack the stores with people happy to pay the $500-$800 for the latest tech. As many of you know I love my iPad, I tried not to fully buy into the hype and the crazy marketing buzz that Apple has when the first iPad was launched but once I took it for a test drive at the Apple store I was hooked. For me it was the best way to interact with a piece of tech and my laptop has been very neglected since I got the iPad. Also I saw the possibilities that apps could have that will really take advantage of the touch interface and make things so much more productive and natural. You can read my first review of the iPad here: iPad review for photographers.
With the iPad 2 coming out tomorrow is it a worthy upgrade or if you haven’t made the plunge yet worth the money? I won’t be able to get my hands on one until everyone else so am just giving my first thoughts here on what the iPad 2 can mean for us photographers and once I can have time to play with one will do a detailed review. First lets start with what has been improved compared to the first iPad:
All new design – Even though it may seem similar to the first iPad, apple has given the iPad a brand new design. From what I have heard with people who have used the new iPad those small changes make a big difference. It’s thinner, lighter and with more of a bevel to the edges feels better in your hands. It’s also available in black or white and from photos the white iPad does look pretty sweet.
Performance – This new iPad is going to just zoom with performance. It has a 1GHz, dual-core chip called the A5 along with double the amount of RAM from the first iPad. Geekbench results came out way better than the iPad, here are their performance testing (higher numbers are better) Geekbench Results (higher is better)
Apple iPad 2 721
Apple iPad 442
Apple iPhone 4 375
Also battery life seems to be a little better. Some tests have shown almost an hour more runtime on the iPad 2 vs the first iPad. You can get over 10 hours of battery life with this which is pretty amazing.
Graphics Improvement – Along with performance Apple has improved the graphics 9x over the iPad. From demos I have seen this means that certain transitions on apps are smooth and seamless, and once apps take full advantage of this it will be awesome!
Smart Covers – When listening to the coverage when everything was announced I thought these covers sounded a little worthless. The smart covers are a magnetic cover that will protect your iPad and also serves as a stand when you fold it up. Although they only protect the front and not the back watching how they work these covers do seem pretty useful. I also like how they really add no bulk to the iPad compared to some other covers that can double the thickness.
Some new things with the iPad 2:
2 cameras – This is great news for those of you who like to use facetime on your iPhone. I think this is going to be a great way for people to communicate, instead of having to go to your desktop or laptop to skype someone you can now easily use facetime from your iPad and video chat with them if they have another iPad, iPhone or mac with a webcam. I was hoping the first iPad would have had this as it really is a perfect fit. The only negative from what I have read is the camera quality for still isn’t that good at all. I always want a decent camera in a device but honestly for me this isn’t a big deal. If I am on the go without my SLR I will have my iPhone which is much easier to take photos with compared to pulling out a big iPad.
HDMI Mirroring – This is actually pretty huge for photographers in my mind. With Apple’s new HDMI dongle ($39) you can plug in your iPad 2 right into your HDTV. This can be so handy during a client meeting if you want to quickly show them something. I have used my iPad to show slideshows on my HDTV to new potential clients and it has been a great tool. I know that hooking a device up to your TV isn’t groundbreaking. Before the iPad I used to connect my laptop to my TV to showcase slideshows and my portfolio. However with the buzz of the iPad it is a great conversation starter and with how competitive wedding photography is you have to always stand out apart from the crowd. I think using your iPad to showcase your work in studio is a great device that will always get people talking. Now you can show anything on your iPad through your TV instead of being limited to just the movies app. Since I always want to try to connect with my brides as much as possible many times I will show them a blog post from a recent wedding or something on my website that really pertains to them. When I do that I have to unhook the iPad and show it to them on that screen. Now with the iPad 2 and HDMI dongle, what you see on your iPad is what your TV sees. With some great portfolio and presentation apps out there and more to come this will be a better and better way to show your work as more software comes out.
Some new software – Apple also announced new versions of iMovie and Garageband for iPad 2 that look pretty awesome. These won’t help your photography business but are pretty cool and show you the real potential of apps for this device.
Overall this looks like a very solid update and I am excited to get my hands on one and give you all a first hand look into the latest tech from Apple. More info coming soon!