If, like me, you’ve read a couple of books on the iPad 2 using the iBooks app, you might’ve noticed the combination throws up a glitch.
A static right thumb, resting in a particular (the most usual in my case) spot on the rim of the screen, can cause a flurry of unwanted page turns. It’s happened to me half a dozen times accidentally, and plenty more intentionally as I put together this YouTube video demonstrating the problem.
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED THE GLITCH? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
As glitches go, it is only mildly annoying – depending on what is happening in the plot at the time. Losing your place and having to flick back through the pages till you find it and can start reading again could be infuriating if you were only lines away from finding out who pulled the trigger or whether the girl got the boy.
Enough to ditch ebooks and go back to print books, with their physical indentations showing where we’ve been? Probably not, but frustrating just the same. I’m going to drop Apple a line about it and see whether a fix is on the way, and will let you know what I hear.
Flurrying of pages aside, should you invest in an iPad 2?
If, as an early adopter like me, you have formed an iPad addiction, changing a lifetime’s habits to make the most of its capabilities, you’ll want to upgrade.
If, like me, you ditched your Filofax to use the iPad as a diary and address book, cancelled your newspaper subscriptions to read iPad editions, switched to watching your favourite ABC programs via the iView app rather then on free-to-air, began to cull your physical library and stock up on ebooks, and set up all your favourite blog and social media feeds to appear in a magazine-like format via the Flipboard app … you’ll want to upgrade to iPad 2.
And if you haven’t ventured into tablet territory yet but want to soon, it will be worth paying a little extra to buy the iPad 2 (which ranges in cost from $579 for 16GB and WiFi-only and $949 for 64GB WiFi plus 3G) rather than a second hand or reduced-price superceded model.
The iPad 2 is 15 per cent lighter and 33 per cent thinner. The original iPad felt like a flat slab of rock in my handbag after a few days spent with its svelte younger sibling. Reading or watching videos on the couch or in bed was quite a different experience too – in terms of weight, imagine gripping a hefty hardback book in the case of the first iPad, and a large format paperback with the iPad 2.
The new model is much faster – Apple claims ordinary processing is twice as fast, and graphics processing is nine times as speedy. I’m not arguing. My daily newspaper fix downloads so quickly I can start reading straight away, instead of making a cup of tea first. Downloading books is also a noticeably racier experience.
There are a couple of new features, most notably the introduction of front and rear cameras, a choice between white and black trim around the screen, and swish new magnetic Smart Covers.
The covers cost extra, but come in a range of colours and in either polyurethane ($45) or leather ($79). They snap on and off the second you hold them near the edge of the iPad, and clean the screen automatically when you click them shut. They also wake the device up and send it back to sleep as you open and close them. The covers fold over to form a stand for easy typing (you don’t need a separate keyboard, the on-screen one is brilliant once you’re used to it) or video viewing/video phone calls using FaceTime.
FaceTime is Apple’s proprietary equivalent of Skype. It makes use of your existing email and phone contacts to allow you tap once to video call anyone who has an iPhone 4, latest-model iPod touch or iPad 2 and is on WiFi. The iPad 2 is superior to a phone or laptop for video calls because it’s so easy to hand around at the dinner table when chatting to loved ones who are far away.
The camera is disappointing though. They both are – the video calling camera is adequate for that purpose, but the rear-facing camera is really only designed for shooting low-res video for editing using the fabulous iMovie app (which is not available for the original iPad). The output is a little grainy, but fine for posting on YouTube or Facebook. While the previous iPad had no camera, most smartphones and the next wave of Android tablets offer more powerful cameras – 5 megapixels compared to the iPad 2’s reported 0.7 megapixels. Bring it on, iPad 3.
The biggest failing for me, though, is that (as I mentioned on the day Steve Jobs announced it was on the way) this generation of the iPad lacks the crystal-clear retinal display of the iPhone 4. Apple’s retinal display technology is mind-blowing – especially for ebook devotees. When it launched the iPhone 4, Apple said its screen offered four times the pixel count and four times the contrast ratio of previous iPhone models, making it impossible for the human eye to distinguish individual pixels. Text and illustrations have never been clearer. Fingers crossed it’ll arrive on the iPad 3 as well.
In coming days, weeks and months we will see a series new of Android-powered tablets on sale here – two new, larger Samsung Galaxy Tabs, the Blackberry Playbook and Motorola Xoom among them – but the iPad will likely remain the pick of the bunch because of the number and quality of apps designed for it: 65,000 to less than 100 for Android 3.0 (the latest, tablet-specific version of the mobile operating system, dubbed Honeycomb) tablets at last count. Sure, the Android crowd will offer better cameras, but it will be months before their dedicated app selection becomes competitive.
I don’t expect we’re about to see Honeycomb versions of children’s titles like Hairy Maclary, Alice in Wonderland, Animalia and The Cat in the Hat, nor of grown ups’ ebook apps like Simon Garfield’s Just My Type, David Suzuki’s The Legacy, or Paul Kelly’s How to Make Gravy, all of which are already available for the iPad.
So, for ebook enthusiasts, the faster and lighter iPad 2 is the ultimate gadget, with its support for a variety of e-reader apps – including iBooks, Kobo, Kindle, iFlow, Bluefire and OverDrive, and for browser-based e-reading technologies like that of booki.sh (which is no relation to ebookish.com.au), as well as individual ebook apps.