FACE­OFF

Ap­ple’s new iPad may of­fer some handy ad­di­tions, but it is hardly break­ing new ground, writes Jen­nifer DudleyNicholson

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

THE suc­ces­sor to the tablet com­puter that sparked a world­wide trend is 19 days away from its Aus­tralian ar­rival. The iPad 2, un­veiled by Ap­ple chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Jobs last week, will of­fer users a thin­ner and lighter form, faster pro­cess­ing, mo­tion­sen­si­tive gam­ing and, for the first time, photo and video cap­ture on the tablet.

Jobs, who re­turned from med­i­cal leave to an­nounce the sec­ond iPad, called the new edi­tion re­mark­able and de­cried those who mocked his nam­ing the first iPad mag­i­cal, cit­ing 14.8 mil­lion sales last year.

While tech­nol­ogy an­a­lysts agree the iPad up­date is likely to keep Ap­ple ahead of the tablet game, some have la­belled the im­prove­ments in­cre­men­tal and ques­tioned whether it will be enough to en­tice ex­ist­ing own­ers to up­grade.

Un­veiled in San Fran­cisco, the iPad 2 ap­peared in a dif­fer­ent form to the pre­vi­ous model.

While main­tain­ing its 9.7-inch screen size, the iPad has lost more than 100g and is a third thin­ner at 8.8mm, mak­ing it slim­mer than an iPhone 4. The back of the iPad is more curved as a re­sult.

It is an all-new de­sign, Jobs says, not a tweaked one.

In ad­di­tion to the slim­down, the iPad has two cam­eras. On its front is a VGAqual­ity cam­era, while a big­ger cam­era at the rear will cap­ture 720p high-def­i­ni­tion video.

Both can be used for Face­time video calls and to take nov­elty pho­tos with the new Photo Booth app pack­aged with the tablet.

To keep up with a grow­ing list of com­pet­ing tablets such as those from HP, Sam­sung and Black­Berry, Ap­ple has added a dual-core pro­ces­sor, the A5, to the iPad.

Jobs prom­ises it will be twice as fast as its pre­de­ces­sor.

A new gy­ro­scope pro­vides bet­ter mo­tion-sen­si­tive gam­ing, iMovie and GarageBand apps will be launched for mak­ing movies and mu­sic on the de­vice, and the lat­est iPad will come with new soft­ware, iOS 4.3.

In an un­ex­pected ad­di­tion, it will also fea­ture mag­nets hid­den un­der its left side that can be used to keep a new Ap­ple lid, called a Smart Cover, in place over its screen.

Tel­syte re­search di­rec­tor Foad Fadaghi says Ap­ple ap­pears to have come up with the goods to stay on top of the tablet mar­ket. He pre­dicts the com­pany will sell 900,000 iPads in Aus­tralia this year.

‘‘ It’s met our ex­pec­ta­tions and we do still be­lieve the iPad will be the No. 1-sell­ing tablet in 2011,’’ Fadaghi says.

‘‘ A lot of peo­ple have been hold­ing off buy­ing an iPad be­cause they’re wait­ing for new fea­tures, in par­tic­u­lar the cam­era.’’

He says the Ap­ple tablet’s pop­u­lar­ity could also be helped by the price that, for the US, re­mained the same level as the old model ($US499).

Time will tell if the up­grades pay off. Just 19 days, in fact. Jen­nifer Dud­ley-Ni­chol­son trav­elled to San Fran­cisco as a guest of Ap­ple

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