Taking a break from death and violence in the Middle-East…
Apple unveiled their new iPad 2 last night (Sydney time). I’m generally a big fan of Apple’s products, I love their innovation and usability as well as the great consumer experience. I was going to buy an original iPad at one stage, but was convinced that waiting for the second model would be a better idea, since it would definitely show some fantastic improvements.
Not so, the second version of the tablet is not exactly awe-inspiring. The upgrades they have made, besides a fancy new cover, are pretty much no-brainers – a slight redesign to make it smaller and lighter, a faster processor and cameras. The improvements to the OS are also quite minimal – free photoediting software, better streaming and a faster browser.
They have also allowed you to change the side button, which seems exactly like the iPhone’s mute button but for some reason locks the screen instead, into a mute button. And they have allowed internet tethering from an iPhone to an iPad, so that you can use your iPad for internet without having to switch sim cards and not have a phone, which is especially annoying to do as Apple figured they would make it extremely difficult to remove the sim card from the iPhone, also for no apparent reason.
These are things that really should have been included in the first place. There’s no reason for their exclusion besides Apple’s “we know best” mantra.
This is all extremely underwhelming. There are so many things that should have been there that I can’t even write about them in detail, I’ll just list them here:
- External memory capabilities – you have large apps, a music collection and a movies collection, all in high quality. When you can buy a flash drive with 1,000gb for $80, spending $1k on a 64gb device doesn’t seem so appealing.
- Better display – sure the graphics are faster, but I want them clearer.
- More magazines, books and movies – Apple has done very well in getting music into its iTunes store, not so for other media. Their insistence on charging 30% commission on everything means that publishers and film studios are signing deals with Google or Amazon and holding-out against Apple.
An OS overhaul:
- Better Safari – The little iPhone version is fine on a tiny screen, but I’m always frustrated that the iPad one lacks functionality like proper tabs, extensions, themes and everything else that you have on a regular computer.
- Flash!!!! – Steve Jobs needs to get off his high horse here. Whatever you want to say about battery life, processor speeds etc, without flash too much of the internet is not usable.
- Windows/widgets – why can I not have keynote and pages open at the same time? Why do I have to leave safari to check my mail or update twitter? It massively detracts from the potential uses of the iPad.
- Expose – the little dock thing is not the ideal way to switch through apps. Apple has a great way of looking at different screens and switching between them, why isn’t the iPad able to do this?
What this means is that Apple’s competition is starting to look much more appealing, they will have a lot of these features that Apple has left-out.