iPad 2 - five features Apple didn't includeWhy no Retina Display, Flash or Thunderbolt?

04 March 2011

Apple iPad 2 - white - with multi-coloured Smartcovers

Apple this week announced the Apple iPad 2, successor to the original iPad which launched back in January 2010. The new model is thinner, faster and lighter, but is still lacking five key features.

1. A better screen

While Apple chose to update the iPad with a new dual-core processor and faster graphics chip, Steve Jobs was noticeably silent on the subject of the iPad 2's screen. The reason? It's exactly the same as the original iPad's screen. 

It's the same 9.7-inch 1,024x768 pixel resolution touchscreen, with a pixel density of just 132 pixels per inch (ppi). This now seems a little dated when the iPhone 4's 3.5-inch screen packs a pixel density of 326ppi and delivers smoother text and graphics. The addition of a Retina Display to the iPad 2 was always one of the more unlikely iPad 2 rumours to become reality, largely due to concerns over how Apple could maintain a 10-hour battery life with the increased graphics processing power required. 

Also, the screen still remains too reflective to read in bright sunlight. So, for this generation of iPad, the screen remains the number one area where we expected more from Apple.

For all our first impressions of the Apple iPad 2, live from the launch event, watch our first look hands-on iPad 2 video preview

2. Adobe Flash support

Predictably, there were plenty of consumer comments on our iPad 2 launch live blog, asking whether the iPad 2 would support Flash. 

Equally guessable was the answer: a resounding 'no'. And there's no sign of this changing any time soon - the question is likely to still be asked when iPad 3 launches.

3. Higher capacity

Anyone wanting to store their entire music and video collection on an iPad will be left disappointed by the iPad 2. 

Its maximum capacity is static at 64GB - the same as the iPod Touch - and pre-launch rumours that Apple would add a 128GB version of the iPad proved to be false. Not only that, but there's still no USB port or SD card slot, so the iPad's Android rivals still have the edge when it comes to expandable storage. 

4. Thunderbolt

Not only is there no Thunderbolt on the iPad 2, but its connectivity has hardly improved at all over the original iPad. 

Thunderbolt is the new high-speed connector, debuted on the new MacBook Pro, which supports high-resolution displays and high-speed data transfer in an all-in one port. Thunderbolt would have been a welcome addition to the iPad 2, as would a USB port for connecting external storage. No joy - the best that Apple could muster for the iPad update was an HDMI connector offering a 1080p video output to TVs. And users will have to buy this adaptor separately, paying more for functionality which rival tablets offer as standard.

5. Revolutionary design

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the iPad 2 has an 'all-new' design. In practice, while the iPad 2 is thinner and lighter, not much has changed.

There's still a wide black bezel and a 'home' button which, rumour had it, was being phased out. And while it's noticeably thinner, the 15% weight loss doesn't make a huge difference when you're holding it. And there are no revolutions in how it's constructed - still the same brushed aluminium casing and glass screen. It's not a bad design, and it's still streets ahead of most of the competition, but the physical differences are subtle enough for the 'all-new' moniker to be classed as hype rather than substance.

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