the iPad 2 digest

They’re here – Apple has allowed its lucky chosen few to publish their reviews of the new iPad. You’ll easily be able to look them all up of course, and there are already more summaries out there than I needed to read. So I’ll do it a little differently. Instead of telling you exactly what each review contains, I’ll go with a general reaction to some common themes.

As one might expect, every review was positive, some overwhelmingly so. Each also used some sort of variation on the “evolution, not revolution” theme which is, as usual, best summed up by the ever-pithy John Gruber:

It is a refinement of the original iPad — an impressive one, in several ways, considering that it arrives just 11 months after the original. But it is in no way a radical or significant departure from last year’s model.

In other words, don’t expect this iPad to be leaps and bounds ahead of the current one. Except for its much improved graphics, processor speed, added cameras, and thinner profile. Is that worth an extra $500 (minimum) to get a new one? The reviewer consensus is mixed – it’s probably not enough to force someone who already has an iPad to upgrade, but it sure looks compelling to new buyers.

edit: MG Siegler for TechCrunch has his review and adds on to that last point:

Let me sum all of this up in a simple way: the iPad 2, should you buy one? Maybe, it depends on a few factors. Will you want to buy one? Yes. Use that information wisely.

The new Smart Covers are universally praised too – I see these becoming a killer feature in no time. Apple’s really outdone themselves on this year’s cases so far; now I can’t wait to see what they come up with to accessorize the iPhone 5. If you haven’t seen the Smart Cover video yet, I highly suggest you check it out.

What I find most refreshing about the reviews is how much everyone seems to “get it” (to borrow a phrase from Ben Brooks) compared to last year. I’m used to enjoying Gruber’s reviews, but seeing similar sentiments from Engadget and normally specs-focused David Pogue is another story. Seems like Jobs’ message is finally getting through. Apple isn’t concerned with the specifics, they just want to make the simplest, easiest, most friendly computer in the world. They don’t care about being the fastest, the most customizable, or the cheapest (though the iPad is the cheapest tablet around), and obviously customers are choosing Apple’s way more often than not. And they should, because Apple is doing what Apple does better than anyone else.

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