A lot has happened since my last post. I got my iPad 2 and the Smart Cover. Here we go!
iPad 2 review
A lot of critics might say that the new iPad isn't so different from the previous generation. They'd be mostly right. Both iPads run the same software. They're mostly the same size. For some reason, though, I've carried this one more places than my previous one. It never leaves my side. I've wondered why that is...and here's what I've come up with:
It actually FEELS different. (more on that below)
But that doesn't really matter to me. I don't play games on it.
This is cool...but so far, it's mostly been a novelty--especially PhotoBooth. I suppose PhotoBooth is a novelty, anyway. I used the camera in my architecture course this week to record a portion of our class activity. I was surprised at the improved experience of using a tablet rather than a phone to record video. Holding onto it with both hands improved stability and the larger screen made me feel like it was able to capture a wider shot (even if it doesn't really). I wish the camera shot HD video like my phone does...but the iPad will get there. The Smart Cover acted as a table stand, so I was able to turn the iPad without the video shaking.
The Smart Cover
I think this might honestly be the reason I like it better than the first one. It serves the same function as the portfolio cover/case I had with my first one, but there's at least one huge difference: it leaves the back of the iPad exposed. Why is that significant? No matter whether the Smart Cover is covering the screen or not, when I hold it, I never forget that I'm holding an iPad. I feel the curved edges; the metal. They're always there.
It seems ironic to think that the accessory improves the product experience so greatly that it could potentially drive the sale of the product...but Apple is no stranger to the phenomenon. Recall that the LunaTik watch strap actually drove me to purchase the 6th generation iPod Nano. The difference here is that Apple created the accessory--and they spent a lot of resources to market the Smart Cover. Far more than the previous portfolio cover--which was functional, but far from attractive.
If you're thinking about buying an iPad 2, be sure to pick up a Smart Cover. In my opinion, it's the single accessory that can completely change and improve your experience. If you don't want to give any more money to Apple, there are some alternatives (e.g. Miniot) that serve the same function. I'm intrigued by all of the book covers...but would never sacrifice the engineered feel of the iPad for them. If you've used a case/cover other than the Smart Cover, I want to hear about your experience. Just drop me a note in the comments section!