Apple Introduces iPad 2 – Should You Care?

That Apple had a revision of its iPad line of tablet computers out of the box wasn’t a particular surprise, though the exact details of what they were going to release weren’t known until it was announced late last week. It’s not, despite all that Apple may say, a revolution in tablet computing, and much more an evolution of the concept, adding a faster processor, a step similar to what you’d see in laptops, and even Apple same did the same thing happened the week before with its Macbook Pro line: built-in cameras for Apple’s Facetime video calling solution and an overall thinner and lighter body.

If you don’t see it, I must say that if you already have an iPad, this is a pretty easy iteration to skip. Sure, it’s faster, but the only other major new tech feature is the built-in camera, and the usefulness of these on tablets is questionable at best. It’s also worth noting that last year’s iPads, still very capable machines, are selling across the country at what amounts to clearance prices. For the capacity you get, last year’s iPad at this year’s clearance prices could be the tablet bargain of the year.

At the same time that Apple introduces the iPad 2, its competitors are lining up competing tablets at a reasonable pace. Blackberry has its Playbook due out before the middle of the year, Motorola has the Android-inspired Xoom tablet, Viewsonic already has the Viewpad 10s on store shelves, and Samsung is betting both ways. There is an upcoming iteration of its Galaxy Tab Android-based tablet to be released in a 10″ form factor, similar to the iPad, as well as the Series 7 “slider” tablet, which runs full Windows 7. It’s a tablet” slider” because Behind the screen is a full keyboard and trackpad, so you can convert it pretty quickly from a simple touch-based machine to a small laptop. All of that nicely configured. Windows 7 just aren’t designed with touch in mind, so while it works, to date it’s never really worked right. Having had a brief review session with the Series 7, it might just be the tablet to break this curse on. particular, with more than a passing effort to provide you with useful touch-based applications.

If touch computing makes sense to you, whether you’re looking at it from a pure consumer video and web-style “consumption” model, or even as a portable productivity tool, it’s going to be an interesting year. As it stands, Apple’s decision not to tinker with the iPad 2 leaves the field pretty open to competitors, and it might be worth waiting to see what comes out and at what price before committing.

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