The iPad 2 was announced on March 2nd and officially went on sale March 11th.  Sure, there was hype – Apple does hype well – but there must be more than hype to propel the kind of demand and sales Apple has experienced over the last 6 weeks.  Before I share my thoughts – and point you to some resources – on the iPad 2 I need to be clear about two things:

  • When Apple announced the original iPad on January 27, 2010 (just 16 months ago? Doesn’t it seem longer than that?  Jeesh!) I was one of those who said: “I don’t get it – why would people want a big iPhone… that can’t even make a phone call?”
  • I still don’t own or use an iPad (or iPad 2).

Those who have known me for 10+ years know that I was once a fairly early adopter of technology (remember the Palm Pilot?).  However, over the last 10 years, I’ve been more of a late adopter (a 7 year old iPod mini – which was a gift, and a 2 year old BlackBerry Curve – which replaced my 5 year old Treo).  One of my 2011 resolutions is to start moving back up the technology adoption curve; this blog has been good for me (personally, a new phone iPhone / Droid phone will come before an iPad / tablet).

After immersing myself in several of the hundreds (millions?) of reviews that are available, I’ve concluded that the iPad 2 is a nice, evolutionary upgrade over the original iPad.  It reinforces the already great iPad features: simple to learn and use, big application library (60,000 and growing), long battery life (10+ hours) and aggressive pricing (that $500 entry price is golden).  For professionals, here’s my list of 3 new features that stand out:

  1. Lighter and thinner: Yes, the original iPad only weighs 1.5 pounds and is 0.53” thick versus the iPad 2 which weighs 1.3 pounds and is 0.35” thick.  However, being 13% lighter and 34% thinner makes a BIG difference to those who use it for numerous hours every day (like a doctor seeing patients or an attorney dictating).
  2. More powerful processors:  A dual-core processor means the CPU is 2X faster and the graphics are 9X faster than the original.  Faster processing and graphics is always an advantage as apps continue to become more robust (think EHR/EMR).
  3. Two cameras:  Yes, they’re not great, high-resolution cameras but you can communicate with colleagues and share ideas quickly and easily.  The camera in front is so your colleague can see you while the camera in back is so your colleague can see what you see (perhaps an X-Ray or a chart for tomorrow’s court case).

My wanderings through the on-line reviews led me to some interesting factoids and resources for professionals; here’s my short-list:

Attorneys:  Check out the “10 Best iPad Apps for Lawyers” according to the self-proclaimed Hytech Lawyer (he also has a link to a YouTube video demonstrating his top 10 apps that’s both useful and entertaining).

Physicians:  According to a survey conducted by Aptilon in February 2011, 38% of U.S. Healthcare Professionals say they will own an Apple iPad within the next year and Apple’s product launch commercials highlight 3 different medical applications.

Financial Services Professionals:  ”The iPad for Financial Advisors and Wealth Managers” blog (no iPad 2 review but some good pros and cons on the original iPad).  A CPA’s short blog on the iPad 2 featured on The Progressive Accountant website.

If you already own an iPad, these new features probably aren’t enough to justify an upgrade.  If you don’t already own an iPad, the new iPad 2 could definitely accelerate your decision to get one.  For the professional – attorney, physician, financial services professional – the iPad 2 doesn’t bring enough new functionality to make it a “must have” device yet.  However, if you blink, your early-adopter colleagues will pass you by… and if you wait too long it will be hard to catch up with them and their new-found productivity.

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