Sunday, March 27, 2011

ipad 2 review from the Apple Store Chadstone (From a predominant Pro Audio and audiophile perspective)

It has been available in the US for two weeks and Australia since Friday but that didn't stop the store being packed full of people. It was an interesting crowd at the apple store.  Certainly not like the stores of 5+ years ago which were only Apple resellers. I secretly recorded video from my spy camera on my watch phone.

The apple store was crowded with Harvey Norman and Fad types of people.  Some of the questions people were asking the Apple Guru's were some of the most basic & rudimentary questions, with customers grappling to understand the difference between the wifi models & 3G. I can certainly understand the stories that ipad owners dont know how to transfer their cd's onto their device and just buy them again through the apple store (at higher prices than the CD). The Apple store is certainly a money making machine.

The ipad has been a tremendous success story and has been reviewed highly, but I am one of the rare reviewers who does not certainly give it a high rating.  I believe that Apple is cashing in on its infamous "mindshare" to hype a product that is not really necessary. I think a lot of people will get disappointed with the walled garden feel of the device when wanting to do more with it.I feel that the ipad2 exploits "dummy" computer users and dumbs them down even more for $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

I will be purchasing the Apple AV adapter with HDMI for my ipod touch 4G which is very expensive for $45.  HDMI should come with the ipad2, who wants to carry bags of adapters for sd cards & HDMI adapters (and pay around $80 for adapters).

The only thing that interested me about the ipad2 was GarageBand.  This was hyped big time during the keynote presentation. Being a musician and producer I could imagine situations where you could use some musical artistic creativity with an ipad2.  Wearing my Sennheiser mm100 bluetooth headphones connected to my Espow watch phone  (my headphones have 2 bluetooth channels) , I decided to see what sort of latency I could get with drum kits on garageband. I was able to connect my headphones to the ipad2 after searching through around 40 discovered devices, but alas there was no sound coming out of them from garageband.  I guess garage band doesn't work with bluetooth headphones, which is a disappointment because not having cables gives a lot more freedom with the device. I guess I could use headphones with a cable but I get sick of having cables...

Disappointed I left the store and thought about what else I could use the device for.  I can't really use the device to record a band in garageband because their are no studio quality inputs for a mixer.  For only a little extra from the 64g device I could get a Macbook Air which could record a band with its firewire or usb inputs.  Hell I could even get a netbook for $400 that could record a band at studio quality.

Yes I like to sit outside at the beach or park and read, but you cant do that with an ipad.  Using the ipod touch today at the track to use the Nike software was a pain in the sunlight.  I would therefore purchase an ereader with e-ink for that activity.

Finally you could use the ipad 2 as an audiophile device with its digital HDMI output, but that is a hell of an expense. I can use an ipod touch for that and use homesharing to share my 400g music collection.  I can even purchase a logitech pure-fi speaker system and an ipod touch for cheaper than an ipad 2. Here I can transport these speakers (which sound fantastic) to any room in the house and listen to 400gigs of music through the base ipod touch 8Gig (really handy in the shower). The cost is $250 for an 8G ipod touch 4g and $130 for the speakers.

I am not going to watch video on an ipad2.  That is what TV's and monitors are for, plus it is too heavy to hold.  I cant use flash on the ipad2 (yes you can use sklylight but I dont want to open an app) so am pretty restricted with general web viewing.  For quick checks of email and casual surfing an ipod will suffice.

Finally i understand that ipod/iphone gamers are enticed by the ipad 2, for a new experience of gaming.  Once again I would rather use a PS3 or PC for this activity.  Buying a steering wheel controller is more fun than using an ipad2 for steering (where you have to rotate the screen!!!!!)

So all'n'all I give it a 6 out of 10.  For the money of an ipad 2, a pair of headphones and an headphone amp will give more entertainment, or a set of good speakers. You could even get an apple TV and a monitor to play video from your iphone or ipod touch.

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