Apple iPad 2 – Coming March 11, 2011

Apple is well known for its snazzy, sleek product designs that have fan-boys (and girls) lining up at retail stores world-wide on product launch days. However, the rest of the crowd (those who are not interested in the latest “iProduct”) generally sees Apple’s product designs as nothing more than an industry slight–one that does a phenomenal job of covering up outdated system hardware.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say Apple’s latest products aren’t up to par with other related tech products. I just think they really believe the road to success is the old KISS method…keep it simple stupid. When the first iPhone came out, as well as every model since, tech gurus and Apple-haters have been complaining about low-quality cameras, slow processor speed, lack of memory, crashing apps, overheating issues, antenna problems and everything else under the Sun. They relentlessly compared them to every other smart phone on the market and in almost every case, the iPhone favored negatively. Meanwhile, while this tech war was being waged, one indisputable reality was taking place…millions of people were still buying iPhones.

iPad 2

And now we’ve come to this–the iPad 2. This week, Apple will start selling the 2nd incarnation of its famed tablet PC that everyone loved to hate. Once again, we have an Apple product that has met with some very harsh criticisms and comparisons to competing products–and still, once again, Apple has prevailed. While consumers were trying to find uses for the iPad, competitors were trying to beat it and iPad 1 did all but destroy e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook along with a host of other tablet PCs. Apple must be doing something right.

Quick Comparison:

iPad iPad 2
Base Price $399 (originally $499) $499
Colors Black Black or White
Dimensions 9.56 x 7.47 x 0.5 inches 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches
Weight 1.5-1.6 pounds 1.33-1.35 pounds
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB
Connections Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional AT&T 3G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional AT&T 3G or Verizon 3G
Screen 9.7-inch 1024×768 9.7-inch 1024×768
Processor 1GHz A4 1GHz dual-core A5
Battery Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Cameras None 720p rear, VGA front
Sensors Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, 3-axis gyro
Location Wi-Fi, Compass, Optional GPS (3G version) Wi-Fi, Compass, Optional GPS (3G versions)

As you can see, not much has changed. Of course “not much” is a subjective statement seeing as how someone might feel like the addition of two cameras is actually worth the upgrade. Personally, if I sold my current iPad and got the iPad 2, it would be for two reasons only: 1. I can get Verizon 3G service and 2. I can now get it in white.

The processor is likely the third biggest change for me. Although the first iPad was fast enough for what you would generally use it for, it’s nice to have an extra boost–all without degrading the battery life–or so we’ll see! About these cameras…I’m sure the front camera is the better one to have given the Skype® capabilities or maybe you’re hard up for updating your Facebook profile pic, but I don’t see much use for a rear camera. Chances are you’re already carrying a camera in your pocket anyway, so why would you want to hold a 9″ iPad up to your subject and snap a photo? Maybe for a quick eBay listing while you’re at the restaurant? Yeah, I can see that happening.

The Competition

The New York Times said today, “So Far Rivals Can’t Beat iPad’s Price”. When have you ever heard “rivals can’t beat […] price” when talking about Apple products?? Isn’t Apple supposed to be the most expensive ‘everything’ you can buy? On top of that, Apple outsiders will tell you that you’ve overpaid for a sub-par product: “If only you had bought (insert manufacturer name here), you could have saved money and had twice as much!” All I can say is, “Wow!”

At any rate, the Times went on to say that because of Apple’s deep pockets, they are able to save money by buying large amounts of parts up front for larger discounts as well as not having to pay licensing rights to chip makers due to Apple’s in-house chip manufacturing of the A4 and A5 processors. Plus, Apple has the App Store, which brings in more than a billion dollars each year–this alone can subsidize the cost of the iPad. All these factors can let Apple reduce their profit margin to say…25% instead of the usual 50% they pull in from iPhone.

Motorola Xoom
How does the Xoom stack up against the iPad 2?

Xoom iPad 2
Base Price $799 (w/ 2-yr contract: $599) $499
Colors Black Black or White
Dimensions 9.8 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches
Weight 1.6 pounds 1.33-1.35 pounds
Storage 32GB internal (future support for 32GB SD cards) 16GB/32GB/64GB
Connections Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Verizon 3G (4G compatible) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional AT&T 3G or Verizon 3G
Screen 10.1-inch 1280×800 (HD 720p) 9.7-inch 1024×768
Processor 1GHz dual-core 1GHz dual-core A5
Battery Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Cameras 5mp rear + Dual LED flash, 2mp front 720p rear, VGA front
Sensors Accelerometer Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, 3-axis gyro
Location Wi-Fi, eCompass, aGPS (with Google maps) Wi-Fi, Compass, Optional GPS (3G versions)

My two cents

While the Xoom has the iPad 2 beat in a few ways, it’s hard to justify the price. Even though you can upgrade the internal memory using a 32GB SD card, adding the cost of everything might just exceed the cost of the 64GB iPad. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Xoom has a bigger and better screen
  • Xoom has better cameras
  • Xoom has expandable memory (in the future)
  • Xoom will support 4G
  • Xoom has the Android app store
  • iPad 2 has a larger app Store
  • iPad 2 is much cheaper
  • iPad 2 comes in a wi-fi only model
  • iPad 2 looks cooler

I threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention! The fact of the matter is that Apple has another winner here and it all comes down to this: If you already own an iPad, keep it. There’s not much to upgrade to. If you can’t find a valid use for an iPad or another tablet pc, then don’t buy any of them. If you’re on the fence, buy the iPad 2. You can’t beat the size of the App Store and the price.

MacBook Air (2010) vs iPad vs MacBook Pro

I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been working heavily on my other site and just trying to maintain sanity throughout my life due to some unexpected changes not too long ago. At any rate, this post comes after my in-depth look at the new MacBook Air that came out less than a month ago. For all of you that feel Apple is just releasing the same old products in different packaging, understand this…you’re right.

Ok so I’m an Apple fan boy and I love to see what’s next and yes, I’ve been known to drop more shiny pennies on their products than I do on more important things in life, but rather than try to explain myself, let me at least justify my purchases! Actually, I already did that when I went over the various reasons about why I own an iPhone, an MacBook and an iPad. Of course there are plenty of other devices out there that could have done almost exactly the same things (if not, more) for a LOT less, but Apple has me sucked in!

So I buy an iPad because I wanted to take the mobility of the iPhone to a new level and I must tell you, I succeeded. Everything was going fine until I saw the new MacBook Air. And so it begins–the never-ending quest to have the perfect combination of technology to ensure that no matter where you’re at, you’re always connected and functional.

MacBook Air (2010 model)

When the first MacBook Air came out, it was “revolutionary”, it was “sleek” but most importantly, it could fit in a standard size manilla envelope. The problem with it was that it cost way too much money! In fact, I think the only good thing that came out of it was that it set a new standard for future MacBook designs.

Today, we have a new pair of MacBook Airs that look better than ever, are more powerful than ever and…still cost way too much money. Here’s the break down:

2010 MacBook Air models
2010 MacBook Air models

From this comparison, you can see that there is really only two models: the 11-inch screen and the 13-inch screen. Within those two models you can choose the size of your hard drive, but that’s it.

Now I already own a 13-inch MacBook (2008 model–before they all went to MacBook Pros), so the only real excitement I got from these is the fact that one of them is 11-inches. The other attractive feature here is the solid-state flash memory. If you get a chance to check out one of these in the store, you’ll notice quite a difference between the boot up and running speed of a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro. The Air will beat the Pro almost every time and it can do so with almost half the processor speed!

Pros and Cons


  • Small, portable and lightweight
  • Fast, flash memory
  • Full keyboard, full OSX
  • Built-in SD card reader
  • 5+ hours of battery life


  • No ROM drive
  • Small screens
  • Not upgradable
  • Onboard memory
  • No backlit keyboard
  • No built-in 3G service

iPad (1st Gen)

Apple iPad 1st generation
Apple iPad 1st generation

The iPad is great, but it’s only as great as the iPhone with a slightly better advantage of having a larger screen. The reason I bought one was to go more portable than my MacBook, but to have a larger screen than my iPhone and so far the results have been…ehhh. Granted, I love using the iPad and it comes in handy when you want to write something down, check your email while in the car or even just play some games when you’re bored.

The problem I keep running into is the fact that I want to use it like my MacBook, but because it doesn’t have an actual file system, I’m still stuck with the same limitations as the iPhone. So where before, I was looking for a mid-point between smartphone and laptop, it looks like now I’m looking for a mid-point between iPad and desktop computer. So far, all signs point to MacBook Air.

UPDATED: Now that the iPad 2 is coming out this month (March 11, 2011), take a look at the direct comparison and find out if you think you should upgrade! After reviewing its specs, I’ve decided that aside from a slightly faster processor and the addition of two new cameras, it’s practically the same as the first iPad.

MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)
Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)

As I mentioned, I don’t officially have a MacBook Pro because my model came out with there was still just MacBooks, but since my system specs are the same as the new Pros (albeit no SD card reader), I can speak on this. My original setup consisted of a desktop PC and an HP laptop. I sold the HP and got the MacBook for two reasons: new computer and to become more portable. That’s why I chose the 13-inch model.

As time went on, I noticed I was using the MacBook more and more and the desktop less and less. The problem with this was that the laptop became my desktop replacement, but now I was stuck with a 13-in screen!


While each of these devices serves different purposes and not everyone will find the same use in them, my opinion is that owning a MacBook Pro and an iPad or a MacBook Air and an iPad are great additions to the smartphone you probably already own. Each of them allows you to be portable in different ways and depending on the situation, you will find that they complement your life very well. Now, if you own all three, you just have nothing better to spend your money on!

As for me, I’m almost at the point where I want to change my tech setup once again. This is what I foresee:

  1. Sell my current desktop PC
  2. Sell my iPad
  3. Sell my MacBook
  4. Buy a Mac Mini to replace my desktop
  5. Buy a MacBook Air (11-inch) to replace my MacBook and iPad
  6. Keep my iPhone 4 as my extremely portable device

Now if only Apple would put some built-in 3G capabilities on the MacBook Air–or any MacBook for that matter, then we’d be sittin’ pretty!

Practical Uses for the iPad

I recently read an article that talked about how the iPad is being used in up-scale restaurants. Would it be surprising to learn that the iPad is being used as an electronic wine list?! This prompted me to evaluate the overall practicality of the iPad itself.

Understandably so, whenever a new “tech” device arrives on the scene, one of the first things that happens is people ask if it’s worth the retail price. Well, I’ve owned an iPad for almost two months now and I can say I’ve gotten my practical uses out of it for sure.

In the Workplace

You can kiss writing notes on paper goodbye! The iPad is the perfect complement for all your work meetings. There are plenty of note-taking apps available for the iPad, but the one I liked the most is Penultimate. This app allows you to create virtual notebooks, in which you can have an unlimited amount of pages of notes. The best part about it is that you can write all your notes with just your finger or you can get a fancy stylus that works with the iPad (and iPhone/iPod Touch).

I also use it while I walk around troubleshooting problems for my co-workers. I use it to take more notes or to enter things into my calendar on the fly. Everyone at my job now wants an iPad because it replaces Post-It notes (to an extant) as well as paper notepads and pens.

At Home

What’s the difference between work and home these days? For me, there is no difference, but it’s nice to be able to kick back and relax while playing a few games to hold you over until dinner. My favorite started out as FlightCTRL HD because that the first game I demoed on the iPad when I went to the Apple store to see one for the first time. It’s a super fun game that becomes really addicting really fast. My newest favorite is Texas Poker because it’s free and because it has online multiplayer capabilities.

Beyond games, the iPad serves many purposes at home, some of which are:

  • A lightweight replacement for your laptop
  • Video/movie/tv show player
  • Portable radio (Internet music and radio stations)
  • Kitchen aid for pulling up recipes
  • Alarm clock
  • Ebook reader

Speaking of ebook readers, all you Amazon Kindle owners can look no further for your next device upgrade. Yes, there’s a Kindle app for the iPad that allows you to open and read all of your already purchased Kindle books–and in full color!

On the go

If you’re actually moving while using the iPad, hopefully you’re a passenger and not the driver and if you have the 3G version, you can do everything I said above while driving to your next destination. I’ve taken my iPad almost everywhere I go. I’ve used it in stores, at gas stations, at restaurants and riding around with friends.

I think the best part of the iPad is the ability to be more portable than having a laptop, but large enough to not be stuck on the tiny screen of a smartphone.

My gripes

The iPad is great and works as well as any product can be expected, but alas…there are some gripes that I have. Just a fair warning–these gripes come from the iPad software version 3.2.2.

  • No file system – The iPad uses the same software as the iPhone and therefore has many limitations as far as file sharing, file manipulation, file storage and everything else to do with files.
  • Limited web browsing – The iPad still suffers from the limitations that affect the iPhone like no Flash support, weird Java problems and no tabbed browsing (if using Safari).
  • No printing – Even the cheapest of netbooks can print! But, I hear that wireless printing will be available on the next software update in November, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it actually works.
  • No multitasking – Yet. This is also a new feature coming out and I have a feeling, it’ll become much more useful on the iPad than it was on the iPhone.

All in all, the iPad is a great device and is very useful in the right setting, but if you’re on the fence about it, you may not really need it. It truly is just an oversized iPhone/iPod touch. If you’re looking for something closer to a netbook in features, you’ll need to get a netbook…or wait until all these new touch-screen “iPad killers” start coming out from HP, Lenovo, etc. They are supposed to integrate features of a netbook with the design and simplicity of an iPad.