/ Technology

iPad 2 proves Apple is still king of the tablets

White iPad 2 at launch event

Yesterday Apple finally announced the iPad 2. It’s not a revolution by any means, far from it in fact. Yet close examination proves it’s still way ahead of the tablet competition.

If you haven’t read our first impressions of the iPad 2 yet, I suggest you do so now or watch our first look video below.

In any case I can summarise Apple’s latest tablet like this: it’s thinner, faster, lighter, and has cameras. It’s hardly an inspiring mix when it’s written like that, but the iPad 2 is far more than the sum of its parts.

65,000 apps and counting

The iPad 2’s most obvious strength is Apple’s App Store, which Steve Jobs triumphantly announced now has more than 65,000 iPad specific apps. Compare that, he said, to the 100 or so applications currently available on Android tablets.

That latter figure will doubtless grow like it has for Android smartphones, but the power of the App Store cannot be denied. Apple has now paid out over $2 billion in sales to App Store developers – an impressive feat by any estimation, though Apple didn’t divulge its cut.

With over 10 million iPads already in circulation, app developers are unlikely to roam far from Apple’s closely controlled walled garden. The App Store will only get better.

Mac apps move onto iPad

It helps that Apple keeps releasing impressive new apps, too. Announced yesterday were iMovie and GarageBand – iPad versions of its Mac applications.

iMovie in particular shows Apple’s software design prowess. It’s hard to believe that such a well-featured video editor could exist on a tablet, but exist it does.

Angus Farquhar was so impressed with iMovie that he’s already scheming to get an iPad 2 for video production. Good luck with that, Angus.

Attention to detail counts

Above all else, Apple’s attention to detail still shines through. The new design of the iPad 2 is impressively sleek and portable, thinner even than an iPhone 4. When people pick it up for the first time, they are going to be impressed.

And because Apple has an ever-increasing number of retail stores, people can go and try the iPad 2 for themselves. Jobs was effusive about the importance of its stores in the iPad’s success – the combination is bound to strike rich again with the iPad 2. But are you convinced by its apparent virtues?


The iPad 2 launch should be seen as a call to arms for Android app developers: bring the exciting, revolutionary, creative apps like Garage Band and iMovie to Android tablets, or see Apple win the tablet war.

With top-class movie and music software on board an Android tablet, Apple’s undeniable lead will be eroded. Besides, many of the strengths of Android tablets make them even more suitable to delivering a truly great interactive creative experience. Better on-board video cameras and Flash support have great potential. Add in the expandable storage offered by USB connections and micro-SD card slots, and a tablet is an ideal touchscreen device for editing music and video imported from and exported to other devices – phones, camcorders, audio recorders. Easy connectivity is something that even the next generation of iPad is unlikely to deliver.

The original iPad is great fun to play with and this looks even better. I’m not sure I need one or one of the cheaper alternatives made to compete with the iPad. I can justify spending over £1000 on a Mac laptop but not spending half that amount on an iPad.

Maybe the competition will bring down prices. I’ll live in hope and look forward to having a play with an iPad 2 when a friend gets one and decides to show it off.

Chris Barrett says:
4 March 2011

It is interesting to read your raving about the ipad 2, i have an ipad and this is being witten on it.
The ipad was bought to evaluate as a mobile business tool and i must say it is very good except one extremely irritating thing – no support for flash player – only 90% plus including your review detail in flash and i cannot view it. This issue currently prevents me from rolling out the use of ipads to my external staff and as it stands the anidroid market of tablets is where we will go.
It is about time apple stopped the nonsense excuses for not supporting flash. – when it is obvoius to all they reasons are wholly commercial control.

cavecanem says:
11 November 2011

I note the oft-raised comments about the lack of Flash on Apple products and would draw attention to the fact that Adobe’s development of Mobile Flash will be ceasing with HTML5 becoming the focus of its future efforts…

Interestingly enough, one of the reasons Jobs gave for not incorporating Flash on Apple’s (non-desktop) products was that Adobe had failed to demonstrate an efficient, effective, functional mobile implementation despite repeated promises.

I can confirm that I have yet to experience a consistent, fully-usable, implementation on phone or tablet – generally too patchy, slow-running or crash-prone for enjoyment !

Unfortunately, whilst Flash had its uses in the past, it has grown too long in the tooth to run comfortably on newer tech (particularly touchscreen); lazily-implemented overuse hasn’t helped either… Best to start the migration to other, more appropriate tools which can cope with the excessively fragmented nature of the hardware specs in the mobile market !