VodkaPundit

iPad 2: First Impressions

Apple reports “amazing” demand for the new iPad and some analysts think consumers might have bought one million of them over the weekend. At an average selling price of about $600, that’s a $600,000,000 weekend — not including sales of Smart Covers, which I imagine have a markup big enough to make Steve Jobs blush. Almost.

My son and I were at an Apple Store briefly on Saturday on unrelated business. The store was no more full than it usually is on the weekend, which is to say: Very. But the front-right corner — the iPad 2 corner — was packed together asses and elbows. We avoided that mess on our way to the Genius Bar. But on our way out, a gentleman abandoned his demo iPad just as we walked by. So I sat my son down on a stool* so he could play. OK, OK — Dad got in a little playtime, too.

First impression: My iPad 1 looks and feels thick and ugly and heavy compared to the new model. The tapered edges fit the hand much more comfortably. Apple somehow shaved off about one-seventh of the original weight, but made it feel like they copped it in half. The new razor-thin aluminum bezel is a tiny fraction of the thickness of the old one, and really makes the device disappear into your hand. There’s barely any there there — just that gorgeous screen.

We played a quick round of Age of Zombies, which was new to both of us. Had so much fun, I launched the App Store when we got home and installed it on my iPad. And on my iPad, the thing took seemingly forever to load and the controls weren’t as responsive. GarageBand is such a marvel that I didn’t even consider buying it — I think it’s going to need that dual-core processor and new graphics subsystem to really shine. And it does shine.

Didn’t get a chance to try out the camera, but it’s been universally panned. That said, taking pictures with a tablet looks and feels more than a little goofy, and I was half-surprised Apple included one. The front camera, however, for FaceTime calls, is drool-worthy in the extreme. I want that.

The Smart Covers? The polyurethane ones aren’t exactly easy on the eyes, but the leather ones are gorgeous and all of them make you gasp with a little delight when you see how well and easily (and smart!) they function.

I’m still waiting for iPad 3 next year before I upgrade. Melissa and I are on an every-other-year upgrade cycle for our iPhones and iPads — and iPhones get the odd-numbered years. But after playing with the new 2 on Saturday, it’s not going to be easy to stick to the plan.