Finally got ahold of an iPad 2 – 16G, AT&T 3G model. Compared to my original iPad it is a huge improvement and I think it was well worth spending the money. Here are some of my thoughts on the unit:
I got the AT&T version because I have a Verizon iPhone and can tether the iPad to that. If I can’t get Verizon service I can then fire up the AT&T 3G and so I will always have coverage. And vice versa, of course. It is not easy to find wifi in my town and so 3G is a necessity if I want to watch, for example, a movie while having lunch at my local coffee shop. By the way, I often have found myself unable to find a reliable free wifi connection even in New York City – that’s one reason why I have a 3G Kindle.
It is amazing how much better the new iPad feels in the hand. It seems much lighter than my original iPad, even though it isn’t that much lighter in actuality. The thinner unit is much easier to hold and carry around. It really does feel like a different machine. I find that I am carrying it around much more than I did the other unit, and sometimes I don’t turn on my computer at all to watch a Netflix movie or a Crunchyroll anime.
I have gradually been coming to prefer the iPad to the Kindle for reading. This is for two reasons: first, I like the larger screen and, second, I find that my thumbs hurt from pushing the Kindle buttons after reading more than an hour or so. Much to my surprise I find that the “swipe” is a more natural way to change pages. However, the weight of the original iPad kept me from using it a lot. The iPad 2, being lighter and thinner, is extremely easy to hold and is rapidly replacing my Kindle as my primary ereader. (By the way, I’ve never bought a book from the Apple iBookstore and don’t intend to – too limiting in terms of restricting you to Apple devices. I’l still stick with Amazon even though I if read on an iPad. My Kindle will always remain my “prime” unit, however. Can’t ignore that fantastic battery life.)
There is no question that the iPad 2 is faster and snappier than my original iPad. Doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in practice, at least with the software available so far, but it makes the overall experience much more pleasant. Browser rendering speed seems much faster as well.
Accessories: I fell in love with the DODOcase for the iPad and got one for the iPad 2 as well ($59.95). I generally don’t use a case, but when I do that’s the one I pick. I also picked up one of the Apple covers for the device. I originally thought it was a gimmick, but I find that it is really extremely useful. It’s very nice to turn the unit on just by opening the cover and not have to go through a push button/swipe thing every time. As for carrying it around, the new Tom Bihn Breve is perfect ($55). It’s a simple well padded case with a zippered slot at the back for the iPad and two small pockets on the front for a charger or other stuff. I got it for my original iPad and it will continue in use for the iPad 2. I also have an order in for DODOcase’s BOOKback ($19.95). This is a great fabric back that sticks onto the iPad and keeps it from being so slippery. Unfortunately, the iPad 2 still has a slippery back, but the new form factor makes it less scary to hold naked. The BOOKback and the Apple cover will do for 80% of my carrying needs.
Final words: I’m very happy with the iPad 2 consider it a worthwhile upgrade. My original iPad will now be placed on my desk and used as a third monitor screen with the Air Display app.
Here are some pictures of the accessories mentioned above:
Tom Bihn Breve: