Why Thinner Isn't Always Better : An iPad Upgrade Experienceby Chris Taylor, mashable.com
March 14th 2011
Given our visually driven, weight-obsessed culture, it isn’t surprising that many launch-day reviews of the iPad 2 focused on its slimmed-down form factor. Unboxing mine Friday, I felt exactly as if I were greeting a friend who was grinning about the pounds he had shed since our last meeting.
“Hey, look at you!” I said. “Did you lose weight? You look amazing!” I knew the iPad 2 was all about the emotional response (as we wrote in our day one review). Here was one emotion I wasn’t expecting: a real surge of pride in an old pal’s new look.
But weight loss isn’t everything. It can hide a lot of underlying issues. After a long weekend of testing all my old apps on the iPad 2, I see the ways in which it is actually inferior to its former self, as well as superior. Lighter, faster and more confident as it seems — as a lot of us seem when we get thinner — it also gets much hotter in your lap, feels slightly cheaper, and its upgrade process is significantly flawed. A little background: when the original iPad came out, the lack of a camera seemed such a glaring omission that I felt I was better off waiting for version two or three (the same strategy I had used, successfully, with the iPhone). But then a friend loaned me hers. A little reading, some light Netflixing and a few games of Marble Mixer, and I was hooked. This was lean-back computing a laptop could never hope to match. In the past year, I became an obsessive user, especially after iOS 4.2 introduced multitasking and folders to the device. I collected hundreds of apps and carefully arranged them in folders.
Therein lies the first problem for upgraders: It isn’t easy enough to re-add all those apps, and the iPad 2 sneers at your folder arrangement.
I plugged mine in and told it to restore from my most recent iPad backup. That it did, up to a point — it didn’t add the apps. I had to go through and manually check the box next to each one (for some reason, there’s no “select all” feature in this part of iTunes) and sync again. All good now — except more than half of my folders had simply vanished, and the other half were emptier than normal. Result: a long night of rearranging my app folders. (I did, however, come up with a much more intuitive system than I had previously — and had to wonder, was that Apple’s intention?)
Next I put the machine through its paces with one of its most processor-intensive games, Infinity Blade. The game loaded and ran noticeably faster. It almost felt like I was running it on a gaming PC instead of a handheld tablet. But that’s when I first noticed an unfamiliar sensation — a significant chunk of the back of the iPad 2 was getting very warm.
To a non-user, that may not seem surprising. There’s a couple of CPUs in there working overtime, and computers just get hot, right? Wrong — at least, wrong in the case of my original iPad. No matter how much I thrashed the original device with multiple power user apps, it retained a cold, metallic feel. Even out in the warm California sun, it didn’t lose its cool.
And that was a big part of the appeal. I’ve spent too many years burning my lap with so-called laptops. Here, finally, was a computer that promised never to cook your nether regions. The iPad 2 doesn’t ever get laptop hot — you can’t exactly fry an egg on it. But even a small amount of heat seems to break that promise. This is a device that is supposed to disappear, effectively, and leave you alone with your apps. Heat is a reminder that it’s still there.
The extra heat is likely a function of the redesigned aluminum unibody frame, which is responsible for much of the thinning down. I like the new curved design of the frame, which is slightly easier to hold than the original. Unlike some reviewers I haven’t had a problem putting the iPad 2 on its dock — it just takes a little more care.
But to me the frame also felt a little cheaper, almost as if it were plastic. (Before you write in, yes, I know it isn’t actually plastic — but the iPad 2 is about the way it makes you feel.) Is the trade-off worth it? Hard to judge, even after three days, but I will say this: I find myself holding my iPad 2 in two hands, just like the original. Don’t expect a Kindle here.
I also found myself longing for a combination device — the sturdy heft of the original with the speed of its younger sibling. But how do you tell an old friend you want him to gain back the pounds he just lost while keeping his new can-do attitude?
Original Page: http://mashable.com/2011/03/14/ipad-upgrade/
Shared from Read It Later