iPad 2 Unboxing and First Look

Living in an enormous city like Los Angeles often has its perks – such as a wide variety of events on any given day that one can attend, numerous restaurants to satisfy the foodie at heart, and tremendous diversity. In the case of pursuing a product such as the iPad 2 upon launch, I felt that the many Best Buys, Targets, Apple stores, and independent Apple retailers would simplify my quest for the highly anticipated device… That if I were willing to drive all over the city over the course of the weekend, I was bound to get my hands on one fairly effortlessly.

I even had one placed on hold for me at a local Apple retailer and was assured that if all else fell through, I would receive one no later than the following Tuesday without needing to wait in one of the lengthy Apple store lines. Well, that was not the case. “My” iPad 2 that was reserved happened to have been sold to customers who showed up at 5pm, although I was informed not to do so, and I was told I could order one again and wait a few weeks. Time was of the essence, so I chose to wait in line at the Apple Store at the Grove the following day. I was fortunate to get my hands on their last unit, which was a bit different from the specs I wanted (16GB, Wi-Fi-only, black), but a close enough match to satisfy my needs.

Without further adieu, here’s the 16GB iPad 2 in White with Verizon 3G and its grey polyurethane Smart Cover.

In its box, which is quite similar to the original iPad’s box, but simpler.

When you open the box, there’s a protective layer of plastic on the device.

Just like the previous generation, you get a small product guide, your dock connector, and a 10W USB power adapter.

In this iteration, Apple has created a more seamless design that has minimal bulk without compromising durability.

Rear-facing camera, mute switch, power button, volume controls, and 3G antenna

The iPad 2 is sitting next to a Pentel R.S.V.P. pen, which it is noticeably thinner than…

The SmartCover snaps on magnetically and feels as if it’s part of the device.

When you slide the SmartCover over, the sensor responds by waking the device. Similarly, upon closing it, the device goes into sleep mode. Simple, but rather genius.

The iPad 2 seems to pick up fingerprints just as easily as the original device…

When paired with my favorite companion accessory, the Apple Wireless Keyboard

The iPad 2 is way more portable and lightweight than a laptop, as long as it’s sufficient for your computing needs. This is my preferred way to use it. Please note: The mouse belongs to a desktop and is not part of the iPad 2 workspace configuration.

Although I have yet to use it extensively, I was rather pleased with the responsiveness of the device. Although the original iPad was efficient and quite snappy, I found this to be even more so. The optimizations in Safari are noticeable and make browsing even more enjoyable on this device.

Apps and websites of a graphical nature seemed to render more efficiently and nicely, and overall less loading delays were experienced.

In regard to its physical attributes, I was surprised at how sturdy it feels, despite being only 8.8mm thick. The difference in weight, although not substantial, when combined with its thinner body makes it fit into one’s hands more naturally.

The battery’s longevity seems unaltered from the previous generation, which is impressive given its enhanced performance, courtesy of its dual-core A5 chip and upgraded RAM (from 256MB to 512MB).

Although I would not consider it an iPad 1 killer by any stretch, I feel it is a solid upgrade for those looking for enhanced performance (for gaming, video editing, audio recording, and so forth) and the ability to connect via FaceTime, Skype, or other VOIP applications.

A more detailed review will follow in the coming days, so stay tuned and enjoy your device–as well as the rapidly growing selection of apps that are being developed for it–whether it be the original iPad or the new iPad 2.

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