In this blog entry I’m not going to go on and on about why I think that the iPad is (or isn’t) the most interesting piece of educational technology that we’ve seen in many years. I’ll save that topic for another post.
However, what I want to discuss here is just a few resources that I’ve come across that might help you make your own decisions. First off, there is Snell’s general review of the iPad 2 from MacWorld. Essentially, he says that while the updated version is better, it’s not a huge game changer. The new unit has cameras, is thinner, is faster has a gyroscope inside to help it know how it’s being held and can work with an HDMI output adapter for you to mirror what’s on the iPad on a TV or with a projector. Two pieces of software that were also announced at the iPad’s release are quite interesting in that they address the concern that the iPad “isn’t really a content-creation device.” These software titles are Garage Band and iMovie. Both are very powerful and they each cost less than chf 10.
Another general review comes form the New York Times. Here, Pogue states that while the updated iPad is all I mentioned above, he also discusses the magnetic cover that acts as a switch to turn the unit off and on – which is pretty slick – although again, not a game changer. However, he disagrees with Snell and thinks that the update is, in fact a major upgrade – not for the specifications – but rather for the form factor. The simple fact that because this is something that you hold in your hands the thinness, speed increase and shaving of a few grams really does make a big difference. Oh, and the 300,000 apps that all run on the iPad doesn’t hurt either.
From my personal perspective, because I don’t have an iPad 1 to upgrade from, the decision is easy. I will be getting the iPad 2 with GSM. While I probably don’t need the GSM feature of it all the time, I will be using it both for work (to update this blog) and also for getting around – and the GSM unit also includes an assisted GPS chip so I can use it to get directions.