By Dean Whittaker

Yes, the iPad 2 is out but in very limited supply around the country. Through some quirk in fate, I ended up with one. Now, of course I have to figure out what to do with my iPad. Fortunately, there is a ready market for resale and a waiting audience of friends and family. Is it worth the switch? In my view, maybe. The iPad does 80% of what the iPad 2 does. The benefits of the new version are: built-in forward and rear-facing cameras, a faster processor (twice as fast), and it is a 1/3 thinner and 1/3 lighter.

The forward looking camera allows for video calls using the FaceTime application. The rear-facing camera allows for images, business card scanning, bar code scanning, etc. The faster processor give a speed boost to the application, but it’s not very noticeable yet since the application has not been written to take advantage of it. The iPad 2 offers HDMI output which means that it can be connected to video projectors and flat panel monitors. This feature, coupled with the blue-tooth keyboard, makes the iPad 2 a viable alternative to a desktop and laptop computer.

A recent upgrade in the operating system has given the iPad and iPad 2 added capabilities. Two new apps that show the flexibility of the iPad platform are GarageBand and iMovie. GarageBand allows the user to compose, perform, record, and edit music. The iMovie app allows one to create, edit, and show videos including the ability to add soundtracks, titles, etc. AirPlay gives the iPad and iPad 2 the ability to stream music, photos, and video wirelessly. AirPrint allows the iPad and iPad 2 to print wirelessly to a compatible printer.

So, is it worth waiting in line to purchase? Probably not because life is short and you have better things to do. Should you get one? Absolutely! It is the best piece of information technology I have ever owned, and I have owned a LOT of it.