The iPad 2 is widely expected to be announced at today’s Apple event. A year after the initial, largely successful, iPad launch Apple will release its follow up device. To be honest though, from everything I have heard, this event might not be worth watching. The iPad 2 is being called an “interim model”, a “buffer”, or worse – throughout much of the web. Nearly everyone agrees on one thing. It is simply a stop gap between the first iPad and the 3rd.
So why would you want to purchase this one at all; a stop gap device? Well, why would millions purchase the Verizon iPhone 4 when the iPhone 5 is likely to be in stores in just a few months? Marketing? Or maybe people will purchase the iPad 2 because they never purchased the first one due to its lack of features, especially the forward facing camera that is so obviously a required component of any new Apple device. I think this is the reason Apple is releasing this device. They want to make sure that when a person thinks about buying a tablet, they buy an iPad.
When the iPad came out, we all guessed that the main reason the camera was left out was its addition could be left for future iterations of the device. Apple often does that kind of thing. Unfortunately for Apple, the competition in the tablet world has heated up substantially and many competing tablets have better screens, front and rear facing camera’s and other additional goodies. I think it is likely that Apple wasn’t intending to release an iPad 2 at all until closer toward the end of the year. That iPad would have had a better screen, the front and rear facing cameras, an SD slot, and probably a few additional items that will allow it to more closely mirror its competitors already on the market. The problem for Apple was that December was a long time away. All the while its competitors could showcase their devices and even offer up price cuts as the hardware inside came down in price. Apple needed to keep the cache of the iPad brand in consumer minds so they are doing an unplanned release (a release that wasn’t planned until probably just 4 or 5 months ago when they saw what the competitors were putting out).
The end result of this release will likely be disappointing. Sure, it will be able to use Facetime but the screen won’t be the Retina display we thought it would be. Sure, it might be faster (using a newer processor) but without the screen, it won’t be able to play any higher resolution games. I’ll likely watch the presentation today and see what Apple brings out. However, I will not be expecting too much. Look for the iPad 3 near the Christmas season. It’s the real device we are waiting for.