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Terrier Tech: Apple iPad 2

A face-lift for the world’s best-selling tablet

| From BU Today | By Alan Wong and Aaron L’Heureux. Video by Alan Wong and Joseph Chan
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“Terrier Tech” hosts Warren Towers and Courtney Bogard review the Apple iPad 2. Photo by Vernon Doucette

Less than a year after the iPad’s initial release, the product that definitively created the tablet market has been given a face-lift.

Apple’s latest updates make the iPad 2 one of the best tablets on the market, but fret not, early adopters: your original iPad isn’t obsolete just yet. The screen in the original is as top-notch as in the new model, and the battery life is solid and reliable in both.

The Apple iPad 2 starts at a relatively affordable $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model and can cost as much as $829 for a 64GB 3G model through AT&T or Verizon. While Wi-Fi is widely available on campus, 3G service will come in handy nearly everywhere else. We enjoy the flexibility of being able to choose between AT&T and Verizon, but found, after some testing, that AT&T’s service was more consistent in the Boston-Cambridge area.

Most notably, the iPad 2’s new features include two cameras and a more powerful processor that Apple claims is nine times faster than the original. We feel that the processor is actually only five to seven times faster—but who’s counting?

Although fairly invisible behind normal processes, the new 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 processor’s presence should become apparent with the increased graphic quality of certain apps, particularly games, especially as developers harness the iPad 2’s increased speed.

As for the iPad 2’s cameras, they are, we are sorry to report, surprisingly bad. Picture and video quality are grainy and inferior to the Motorola Xoom, which we recently reviewed. Another big disappointment: Mobile Safari in the iPad 2 still doesn’t support Flash.

In terms of design and ergonomics, Apple’s sensibilities remain impeccable. The slim silver trim on the original iPad is gone, replaced with an even more minimalist monolithic appearance. The buttons, headphone jack, and speaker are well placed. The new model is about 33 percent slimmer and 15 percent lighter than the original, so one could argue (not us) that the iPad 2 feels almost too streamlined.

“You forgot the most important part,” says “Terrier Tech” host Warren Towers. “The iPad 2 now comes in black or white. Solid work, Apple.”

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