2011: The Year of the iPad 2, but Should I Get One? Feature - The Next Level

2011: The Year of the iPad 2, but Should I Get One?

Insight on Apple's second-generation tablet.

Article by Chris Bahn (Email)
March 12th 2011, 01:58AM

Steve Jobs is after my money.

I've been sitting here over the past twelve hours contemplating whether I should pick up an iPad 2. In just a little under two hours (which will be less by the time this blog is written), Apple's second-generation tablet will go on sale at select retailers throughout North America.

The iPad 2 is thin

It should be an easy dilemma to solve: either I buy it or not. Do I really need to purchase it, especially since I own the original? Before I tell you what I decided, let's rewind with a bit of history.

It all began last year, during the holidays. A national sales contest based around tablet sales was held for the entire month of December. Eligible winners who achieved the highest sales percentage of tablets would be rewarded with their choice of a free Samsung Tab or a 16GB iPad.

I'll admit that in the beginning, I felt the odds of me winning a nationally sponsored contest seemed slim to none. However, I knew that we had an exceptional team capable of delivering outstanding results. How difficult could it be? Well, as it turned out - not hard at all. We killed it, and several weeks later, I was the proud owner of an iPad 32GB model.

A happy child
If she had it her way, I'd be buying her one too.

Although it's only been a few weeks, I can't imagine my life now without the iPad. When I am at home, it's great for the family as my daughter (Lindsay) can develop her reading comprehension skills or find entertainment with games like Angry Birds, Uno, or Fruit Ninja. At work, it's great because I receive a lot of work-related emails and often don't have access to a PC. Using our mobile hotspot, I can just access the webmail client and stay in touch with coworkers throughout my district. Then there's, of course, everything in-between: a plethora of applications ranging from games to office utilities.

It's proven to be so useful, that I almost regret purchasing a desktop. However, the iPad is still lacking in a few areas. Apple has yet to incorporate Flash support on its devices, and that can be a major annoyance when it comes to your web browsing experience.

When it comes to basic organizational tools, the iPad doesn't deliver robust options out the box. Recently I imported some family photos, then decided to include some personal video game wallpapers. I wanted to categorize them and was disappointed to discover that I'd have to use iTunes to get the end results I desired. This is something that I prayed would be addressed with the new iOS update that was released last night. A lot of what was outlined in the changelog will have little impact on my daily use of the device.

So that brings me back to the iPad 2. The second-generation model is essentially a slimmer, lighter version of its predecessor, featuring dual cameras and a more powerful processor. iPad 2 will join its rest of the Apple product lineup currently offering Facetime, allowing users to connect with friends and family with via video communications. GarageBand, a new application targeted for both casual and music gurus alike. For those of you have a little fun during your Facetime sessions will love PhotoBooth. IPersonally, this app doesn't score a ton of cool points with me, but I am sure it for some. In spite of these remarkable, welcome features, I wish Apple was able to cram in a few more enhancements. Retina display, Flash support, a new UI, and other geek-desired features that already exist on the Android are nowhere to be found. Although I am well aware how much the XOOM kicks ass in some of the aforementioned "faults" with the iPad lineup, the range of quality apps (games in particular) just aren't there . . . yet. Plus, it's a lot more expensive than Motorola's latest toy, which I am finding it difficult to justify.

So I've got an hour to make up my mind. What should I do? Wait it out a bit more until the iPad 3 comes out or just take the plunge? Perhaps when I go down to Best Buy and start playing with it, my decision will get a little easier.

Oh, who am I fooling? I am just going to go for it. Congrats, Steve Jobs. You've succeeded in getting my money.

Shortly after this article went live, Chris arrived at his local Best Buy, only to find that he would not be going home with an iPad 2. Silly wabbit. Chris covers gadgets, TV and assorted pop culture for The Next Level. He also obsessively plays Super Street Fighter and is an active member of FightNation(FNEX). Follow him @bahnism on Twitter.

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