iPad investigate

Apple iPad 2: Who should buy and who should pass

A lot of people are attracted to the Apple iPad 2, but not all them should get it. Here's a look at the top candidates for the iPad 2, as well as those who should stick with iPad 1 or get a different device.

Nobody in the technology business does a better job than Apple of convincing people that they need to buy the next shiny new thing. However, despite the product magnetism of Steve Jobs and company, not everyone who thinks they need or want the new iPad 2 should actually buy it.

In order to help some of those folks save some money and to help others decide whether or not they are a good candidate for iPad 2, I've put together a quick first take on the iPad 2 question.

Who should buy?

  • Those who've waited - People who have already decided that the iPad is a good fit for their light computing and media consumption needs but have so far held out from buying the original iPad or any of the competing tablets are now rewarded for their patience. The iPad 2 maintains the same great catalog of apps and the same long battery life while doubling the performance, adding video calls, and slimming down the form factor -- all while maintaining the same price tag as the original. If you've held out so far, you now get a lot more tablet for your money.
  • Video callers - If you're already an iPad owner and the Apple tablet has become an indispensable device that you already use on a daily basis, then there's one big reason to upgrade: Video calling. Over the past year I've heard many iPad users complain that the biggest thing missing from the iPad was the ability to do video calls, using Skype or Apple's FaceTime. These users have viewed the iPad, with its "lean-back" user experience, as an ideal device for making video calls to long distance family and friends, calling home during business trips, or doing one-on-one video conferencing for business. In my opinion, the iPad 2's cameras are all about video calls. Apple certainly didn't design this to be a device for taking high quality still photos. The front-facing camera is for face-to-face calling and the back camera is primarily for showing your video callers what you're looking at.
  • Mobile multimedia creators - With the upgrade to a dual core processor and the addition of Apple multimedia apps iMovie and GarageBand for the iPad 2, the Apple tablet is expanding beyond being primarily a consumption device to becoming more of a creation device -- at least in the specialized area of multimedia creation (audio, video, podcasts, etc.). For those that who want to test the iPad as a mobile creation device that's more accessible to more content creators than a traditional PC (because of multitouch), then the iPad 2 is a worthy purchase or upgrade.

Who should pass?

  • Fans of iPad 1.0 - The worst reason for upgrading -- and I've heard this a lot more than expected -- is "I really like the original iPad so I'm going to get the new one." If you're not going to do much video calling and you're not going to experiment with the iPad for creating videos and podcasts, then there's really not much reason to upgrade from iPad 1 to iPad 2. You don't really need the dual core if you're not doing all the video calling and multimedia creation, and the slightly thinner/lighter form factor of the iPad 2 is nice but far from essential. The original iPad is still a great device and holding on to it for another year until the iPad 3 and the next generation of competitor tablets arrives could be a very wise choice.
  • Heavy readers - If one of the main reasons that you want an iPad is to use it as an e-reader then I wouldn't recommend the iPad 2. For hard-core readers who read 2+ hours at a time, who read mostly books, or who spend a lot of time reading outside in full sunlight, then I'd recommend an Amazon Kindle instead. If you're an omnivorous reader who wants a tablet primarily to read Web pages, magazine articles, non-fiction books with lots of maps and graphics, and PDF documents, then I'd simply recommend picking up an iPad 1, which lots of upgraders are currently unloading for as low as $300.
  • Supporters of open standards - Like the iPod before it, the iPad has appealed to a much wider audience than just traditional Mac and Apple fans. However, the thing to keep in mind before buying the iPad -- especially if it's your first Apple device -- is that it will start to insidiously rope you into the Apple ecosystem. Sure, you can get content from outside the Apple ecosystem and use it on your iPad, using Amazon music and videos or Netflix or Barnes & Noble Nook, for example, but you'll quickly find that it's easier to just use the Apple ecosystem to buy content. Before you know it, you'll have a small library of content with DRM that only works in iTunes and on Apple devices (this isn't the case with music any more, but it is still the case with movies and TV shows). So, next time you upgrade you'll be more likely to buy another Apple product so that you don't orphan a bunch of your content. If you're a supporter of open standards and use a lot of different platforms (e.g. Windows, Linux, Android, Xbox 360, etc.), then you'll have a hard time wrestling with the iPad to make it work with all of your content and open file formats, and you'll especially have a hard time getting content from the iPad to play nice with other platforms. You're probably better off waiting for a really good Android tablet to emerge.

Also read

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

133 comments
821
821

I live in a hole (high terrain around me) and can't get AT&T. Now with the Ipad 2 using Verizon I'm in business. Nice review. Thanks.

yana123
yana123

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yana123
yana123

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Andrew__ipadgrabbit2
Andrew__ipadgrabbit2

Hi there, have you guys checked out the Grabbit2 for iPad2? Go to the fundraiser page and take advantage of their unbeatable offer by end of the week: http://kck.st/ho0ntY " -It has a thermoplastic hardshell for the iPad2 with a rotatable leather handle. And a hardcover for the screen. - they even have this clip where you can use it like a monitor-stand or to hang your iPad on the wall. - you guys got to hurry, deadline is in 6 days

invalidresponse
invalidresponse

but not myself...i won't be buying a tablet (if at all) until like the article creator said, a decent android tablet comes out....or if a good one comes out that runs something that resembles win7 or a linux distro.... i am strongly against an operating system that seems to intentionally restrict the capabilities of a device, and this is where apple fails in my opinion. i almost equate apple's imposed OS limitations to the circa-1990s packard-bell navigator software (yes it's an analogy and not a direct comparison). in other words, intended for certain specific operations only and/or for inexperienced users. i shouldn't have to void the warranty of a device in order to use it however i want.

jfreedle2
jfreedle2

The iPad is a joke, and the Android based devices are as much a joke as the iPad. Neither devices has a good use except for people to waste money.

jpdecesare
jpdecesare

I'm a big early adopter and have-the-latest champion, and I'm a dreaded fanboy, but my v1 iPad does a lot and does what I need. If going from 256mp to 512mb and a camera is the big plus (I know, dual-core A5 processor too), it doesn't seem worth it. I don't need the camera and I have zero video playback problems so performance is fine. I honestly think I'll wait and see what iPad 3 brings to the table. I have to disagree with Jason on the Kindle advice however, because the Kindle App for iPad is killer, it's COLOR, and some tech books include videos embedded. I do a lot of Photoshop and Premiere reading, a B&W Kindle doesn;t cut it. Also, why maintain a device that does just one thing? That's what we like about our phones and pads, they do everything imaginable. Just my $.02...

camcost
camcost

I passed on the iPad 2. Passed on Android tablets too. Went right for the close-out bargain-priced iPad 1. I was looking for a low price, and for iPad quality (better than Android alternatives, in my opinion). Getting it for $200 off the original price placed the iPad 1 in the same price range as much inferior devices in that price range. Couldn't pass it up! And... I LOVE it!

OKNightOwl
OKNightOwl

If one were to be honest they would admit that the iPad and iPad2 are nothing more than the iPhone (all versions) except bigger and without the Phone feature. I took a Big Bite out of the Apple, and found that between my iPhone and Laptop/Netbook there is little that the iPad can do for me.

Daisy Dew
Daisy Dew

good job...made me really drop the idea of buying iPad2 and saving my bucks! :D

marperl
marperl

There are apps and then there are apps-- 1. AttachMe It's a special iPad attachment that hooks right onto your chest hairs for easy portability at the beach. 2. BonMots How many times do you fervently wish you'd had a clever comeback or repartee when you needed it? BonMots supplies you with the wit you lack. More whimsical apps at Thinking Out Loud, http://marperl.blogspot.com/2011/03/latest-apps-for-ipad2.html.

ShockMe
ShockMe

My iPad 1 still does the job and I'm looking for an LTE iPhone on Verizon whenever it should appear. My criticisms of the current software keyboard remain: The keymap doesn't match existing keyboards and requires a new typing style to account for numbers and symbols The finger isn't accurate enough for precise cursor placement and text selection Other than those issues I look forward to increasingly better synching, sharing, and forwarding of application states among universal applications on the different apple form factors. OTA updates and synching would be more convenient than iTunes alone although I like the ability to manage and back up all my devices on my laptop. I find that most of my synching involves transferring my purchases from my iOS devices BACK to the Mac rather than the reverse. A locker with about a terabyte of storage for my purchases and fileeswould be a great enhancement to MobileMe if they intend to keep charging for it. Very happy with my current iPad although if I made the choice today I would have gone with the 64GB wifi version. I have so many games and so much video I like to have with me 16 GB just doesn't cut it, even though homes sharing is super awesome when I'm on my home network. Ironically, other than for PDFs and notes during meetings, I spend most of my day making word documents and coding apps for the people who actually do use iPads and iPhones very productively in the field.

wonderwomanjoyful
wonderwomanjoyful

You're comment about not using as an E-Reader is spot on. I have a Kindle and just order iPad 2. (Didn't get iPad 1) I am a heavy reader and the Kindle does not make me fatigued while backlit screens do. My husband will be enjoying his comic book obession on the iPad, though. :)

MS inc.
MS inc.

iPad 2 is the ideal device for networking, its has no competition.. Claudia Marca Social:

juliewatson9999
juliewatson9999

Ipad is a best option for game players and i love to play games. Ipad has the best clarity and smoothness in touch for games. Palm Pre 2

Slayerdamo
Slayerdamo

why would you buy an ipad2 as far as i can see the ipad 2 is just a thinner ipad 1 with 2 cameras it's stupid theres no real purpose to it. why do you need an ipad 2 to call people face to face over the phone the iphone does that and i can guarantee that people who own an ipad own an iphone

drewgrahamsmith
drewgrahamsmith

Thought for sure I was going to buy the iPad 2, but I'll wait for something that is more open. I bought a nice Apple 27" but hate being stuck with just Apple stuff. I run my machine with Windows 7. When there is a good tablet that runs Windows or Android I'll buy it. Until then I"m wiating.

zbatia
zbatia

When iPadX will match my notebook in productivity but will offer something extra that is REALLY makes a difference only then I will CONSIDER spend $200-$300 more for the computer. As for now, my HP Mini does a great job for about $250.

sgreen
sgreen

Jobs has a great mind and a great team however there are some people out there who just need it all in one box.

treerod1
treerod1

I read a lot, but I live in the pacific northwest, there's plenty of drizzle & rain but and much sun - besides I mostly read indoors, so for me Kindle sucks without a light source. I have no need for the cameras and Face Time, but I do use my iPad for my photo-management and light duty photo editing. I also use my iPad-1 for photo slide shows and powerpoint presentations, so a faster processor would be nice. Final decision - I'll wait for iPad-3 probably due this coming Christmas.

M8R-grnkig
M8R-grnkig

When the iPad supports .avi files, I'll consider buying.

techinfos
techinfos

Can I watch Flash video using iPad-2?

Chronological
Chronological

who just want fancy cool tech stuff even if we don't really use them? lol.

abc123a
abc123a

This is a completely content free article. The criteria described does not make any sense. I have waited for iPad2 but most likely I am PROBABLY going to pass because one of my needs is extra storage and a better camera. The author could have done a MUCh better job of describing pro's and con's of getting a tablet computer based on need and value rather some really shallow criteria.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

My iPad 1 (No, I'm not buying a 2--at least, I don't think so right now) serves a lot of purposes for me in writing, photography, database management and travel. I know that the lack of Flash compatibility is the loudest complaint against it, but quite honestly I've had next to no issues viewing video data on the news sites I view or on YouTube. From personal experience with Flash on my desktop computer, I actively block Flash anyway due to its poor resource management and proven use as a highway for malware into a PC. Outside of that, I honestly see no limitation in what you can install, only where you install it from, and to be honest, I trust Apple far more than I would most third-party sites for easy, reliable and reasonably-secure downloads to my mobile device. I don't want to need an anti-virus/malware app sucking away at my battery every time I use it. On a desktop? Yes, I don't mind having one active--with the Mac it's just another layer of protection that doesn't notably affect the operation of the machine. On a mobile device? Every app running pulls processor cycles which draw on the battery. Outside of that, you can easily use the iPad however you want. With over 300,000 apps available for iOS, you can pretty much find whatever you need to make the iPad a tool for your purposes. Or not--it's really up to the user.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... they would admit such a statement is personal opinion, not a global one. In my own case, the iPad 1 flat replaced my notebook for all my mobility needs, including making presentations to charity groups and keeping a database of people and sponsors for said groups. It may not be enough for you, but it's much better than the alternatives for me.

ShockMe
ShockMe

The other is an accessory ;)

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Simply put, the iPad can be a remarkably productive tool because of its size and mobility. It's larger than a smart phone, which makes it easier to view when displaying a presentation to a client or customer, while not forcing you to set it down to use it. I'll grant a tablet isn't for everyone and all purposes, but it's a very effective tool in knowledgeable hands.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

But personally I think you'll find them far more restrictive, despite their supposedly 'open' platforms.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Many, many other people have discovered just how productive a tablet can be. Yes, it is a toy for many, but even a toy can have real use in the right hands. After all, Mattel assembled the M-16, even if it was designed by Colt. Is the M-16 a toy, or a tool? If you ask me it's a toy--flimsy and buggy compared to the much older M-14. Significantly lighter, but I prefer the heft of a solid weapon over the plastic feel of today's military arms. A tablet can be as much of not a better tool for mobile use than any laptop--when used within its limits. Quite honestly, the iPad has proven that the limits are created in the minds of the user. It may not use the exact same software as a desktop, but it certainly serves its purposes well.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... though we live 3,000 miles apart. I'll agree that the faster processor of the iPad 2 is tempting, but like you I don't have a need for the cameras--I have enough other cameras to meet my need. I do think your estimate of the iPad 3's release is off--Apple is much more likely to release it in March again, since their policy seems to require 12 months between notable updates for hardware.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I haven't had an issue with a single video file I've looked at, short of Flash which I've been ignoring for years, now. I download video files from my camcorders, from youtube, from Netflix and through iTunes and quite honestly I have trouble believing that .avi is ignored. Now I've got to specifically see if I can find a .avi that won't play. Well waddya know, he's right. Wonder why it hasn't affected me before?

techinfos
techinfos

how do you manage to watch videos from YouTube.com since they are Flash videos?

techinfos
techinfos

how do you manage to watch videos from YouTube.com since they are Flash videos?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I didn't say I didn't like it; I said it was cute. The rest was to demonstrate that I did exactly what I claimed and watched it on my iPad.

Slayer_
Slayer_

What, you don't like the show? Its actually pretty good as it gets going into the episodes. Example, one of the few ways he can "heal up" is by having intercourse with the fairy, which, the character admits, makes no sense whatsoever, but works.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... then yes. Just because a video is in Flash doesn't mean it's on YouTube. Searching for "The Legend of Neil" on YouTube itself, it's perfectly playable. Did it myself just now. In other words, if it's a Flash video that is linked or hosted on YouTube, then an iOS device should be able to view it with no issue. I have yet to not be able to view anything on YouTube. CVT.ca is NOT YouTube, but their videos appear to be available there. Cute, by the way. A guy gets drunk and falls for a character in Zelda and manages to get himself transported to the Zelda universe. Downright operatic.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Does it? Cause I assumed just everything under *.youtube.com would work under a youtube app, and would explain why it seems every site, every event, with a flash viewer, has their own app for viewing videos. Can I go here? http://www.effinfunny.com/legend-of-neil/seasons?vid=342&sid=1&tid=0 I mean, its just a reskinned flash viewer, same as youtube uses, does it work?

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

You said there was a separate app for each and every web page, which you use as an excuse for how the iTunes app store has over 300,000 apps available (your own words above), whereas there is only a single YouTube app that works for all YouTube pages. How it does so, I don't know, though I assume it's some form of HTML5 converter or H.264 translator. Now you're trying to straw man my argument saying that we're saying the same thing, which we're not. Again, there is only one (1) YouTube app on the app store (that I know of) and not hundred of thousands 'stuffing' the app store.

Slayer_
Slayer_

It all, why don't you just point out how you want to argue everything, even when you obviously are agreeing with me.... "Turn right here" "No you are wrong, you have to turn right here"

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

One app does it all as far as YouTube videos are concerned.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And these apps stream the videos. And you wonder why they have such high app numbers, its because every site with flash, needs an app so you can view it on your iToy

stevef61
stevef61

Either Ipad or Iphone you click and watch. There are all kind of ways the content is displayed. You can even play your Zynga games...

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

As yet, I've had no issue viewing any YouTube video linked or searched, even on iPad 1.