As you may have heard, today is the release day for the Apple iPad 2. Luckily, my husband, Butch, was already scheduled for vacation today, so he was kind enough to sacrifice half his day waiting in line at the local Apple store. Butch told me that the Apple employees provided coffee, water, and even lollipops for the people who were waiting. After I picked up my daughter from school, I joined him on line for the last 45 minutes of the wait. There was a large crowd, and we were about 40th in line. Everybody there was friendly and excited, so the wait wasn’t so bad.
The doors opened promptly at 5:00, and the first 30 or so people went inside. The store was loaded with employees, and each served as a personal shopper for each customer or family group. Obviously everybody knew what they were there for, so turnaround time was short. When it was our turn, Lori greeted us at the door with a smile and handshakes.
We were lucky enough to get the two white 32GB WiFi-only iPads we wanted, and we were even able to get our first choices for the Smart Covers – the blue polyurethane one in the pictures is mine. Butch got green.
We rushed home, ripped open the boxes, and started the long process of getting all the dozens of apps, hundreds of books, and pictures onto our new iPads. The process takes forever when you want to play. It seems especially long for me because Butch earned the right to have his set up first.
My first impression was that this thing is very light! It feels considerably lighter than my first iPad. And it’s very thin. It may look in the picture that the old one is propped on the edge of the iPad 2, but it’s not – it’s just that much thicker than the iPad 2. The curved back and the thinner profile makes it very comfortable to hold. It even seems easier to hold in one hand because of the lighter weight, but the metal back is still slippery. I think I’ll use two hands to be safe. The white bezel makes the iPad 2 seem smaller than the original one. When the screen is lighted up, the white bezel really looks like a picture frame – more so than the black bezel did. I don’t find it distracting though.
I like the look of the Smart Case. It goes on as easily as Steve promised. It really does wake the iPad when you pull open the cover, and you can hear the iPad go to sleep when you close the cover. Very cool! And I like the way the cover folds into a stand; it will be very nice to not need a separate stand.
I’ve only had a few minutes with a loaded up iPad 2, but it seems noticeably faster than the iPad. The Gadgeteer website loaded in about half the time. The touchscreen is very responsive. Even though it’s still lacking stereo speakers, the sound is much better – clearer and louder. Screen resolution is of course about the same as with the original iPad.
This isn’t my first Apple product, but it was my first time participating in one of the Apple release events. Apple employees made the process as quick and easy as possible. They truly seemed as excited as we customers were. As fun as the purchasing process was, I’m sure exploring my new iPad 2 further will be even more fun!
Oh – and I thought photographing the original iPad was tough… That black/white contrast is a killer! I’m sorry if the photos are a little difficult to see. I think I’ll need to experiment to learn how to best light the iPad 2.
This photo is in answer to Jackie’s question about the hinge. (You can click it to enlarge.) There is no gap on the iPad where the cover fits. The back of the iPad is rather like the back of my iPod touch (2nd gen) with it’s smooth, gently sloped sides. The cover itself has a hinge system that’s shaped to fit the shape of the iPad 2. The long bar (parallel to the green polyurethane hinge) is magnetic and there are magnets inside the iPad along the edge. When you bring them close together, the magnets grab each other. The little metal piece at the bottom moves freely to allow you to open the cover. You can see it has a bean shape so it fits the curve of the side.