The new iPad 2 was announced Wednesday, but aside from a faster processor and the iPad going on a diet, there were few of the bells and whistles the public was hoping to see. Most of the changes seemed to be decidedly cosmetic.
There were no display or resolution improvement or changes, no near-field communications for possible mobile payments and its wireless will be ho-hum 3G. While many were touting the faster processor, it's still 1 GHz custom-made or not.
The major changes:
- Available in black or white
- Faster A5 processor
- 3 ounces lighter
- 4.5 mm thinner
- Front and back cameras (so users can finally use Apple's FaceTime)
- Accessories, accessories, accessories
Apple unveiled its new marketing strategy -- the accessory. From the $39 HDMI adapter to the $39-$69 "smart cover," Apple seems determined to make more money this quarter even if the iPad 2 fails to be as successful as the original iPad (my vote: it won't be as successful.) However, throwing a bone to the business market by enabling front and back cameras for video conferencing could make the iPad even more enterprise-friendly.
To me, the iPad 2 felt rushed and kind of boring. I wanted to see some new revolutionary capability or service that would make me want to buy one, but I didn't feel it. There are plenty online who think differently and are talking up the iPad 2, but the reality is that it's not different enough to ditch an the original iPad. It has essentially the same battery life and capabilities, so an iPad owner won't need it.
But by far the biggest move from Apple was placing Steve Jobs front and center, quieting rumors about his health and showing their leader at his best. The iPad 2 is just another machine, but for many, Steve Jobs is the heart of Apple and its investors seem to believe that, too. His presence was probably much more needed than a new gadget for Apple and they used it to their advantage.
Unfortunately, with so few changes to the iPad, Apple opens itself up to a lot more competition from Android and any manufacturer willing to create a more exciting product.