In my last column, I discussed the iPad 2 and the new features the device incorporates, with big changes under the hood and the addition of cameras and a gyroscope. However, I didn’t have space to finish my hands-on review of the iPad 2, so in this column, I’ll take a look at some of the new apps and accessories that Apple has released that take advantage of this new tablet.
Part of the iLife suite of software that Apple features for their Mac computers, GarageBand makes it’s debut on the iPad. While not as fully featured as the Mac version, the iPad version of Garageband brings many neat functions to tablet consumers. A variety of instruments are easily selectable and can be played virtually on the tablet itself. Using multi-touch gestures, anyone can play guitar, drums, piano, organ, and bass. You can even plug in a guitar with your iPad and use it as an amp or effects box. The built-in mic can record your performances that can then be edited on the iPad itself. While the app doesn’t come with the iPad 2 by default, it’s a quick purchase in the App Store for $4.99 and is also compatible with the original iPad.
iMovie is another part of the iLife suite of utilities for the Mac, and a streamlined version was released with the iPhone 4 that takes advantage of the 720p video camera the iPhone 4 incorporated. Now, a version for the iPad 2 has been launched, so iPad users can record and edit video on their tablet. To share your creations, the app includes HD video sharing with YouTube, Facebook and more. Should you need to tweak your creations using the fully featured software on your Mac, you can transfer your projects through iTunes. It, too, doesn’t come with the iPad 2 but is also available for $4.99. iMovie isn’t compatible with the original iPad, however.
A new accessory that adds value and functionality to the iPad 2 is the new Smart Cover. The Smart Cover is a magnetic cover that aligns with the iPad 2 edge, giving a thin, yet durable, cover for the screen. When in place, it automatically puts the iPad 2 to sleep, conserving battery life. Even if opened slightly, the iPad springs back on, ready for use. The Smart Cover is partitioned into four sections, which fold into itself creating a stand for both typing and viewing upright. Available in a multitude of colors in polyurethane for $39 and leather for $69, the Smart Cover design seems simple, yet the functionality it provides is terrific.
Another great accessory released comes along with a much-needed feature. The 30-pin to HDMI adapter lets you use an external display for video mirroring, so that your iPad can be used in presentations and more. As the iPad 2 becomes more prevalent in the educational institutions and the boardroom, being able to share your display with a larger audience is a great and needed new feature. Priced at $39, it’s a small price to pay for the huge benefit it provides.
Overall, the iPad 2 is a decent advancement for Apple, as it has created an entire new segment of buyers in the marketplace for tablet computing. If you own an iPad already, do you need this one? In my opinion: no. But if you don’t have an iPad yet, then hop onboard the bandwagon and discover why Apple devices seem to be made of magic.