Category Archives: Reviews

Jay Leno’s Garage

I am a car guy and I love to learn about the cars of yesterday and today. My favorite television show is BBC’s Top Gear for its information and its wit. However, sometimes the presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, fail to provide enough information about the car. Luckily, there are other places that review cars of today, such as the auto magazines, but there are not really any television shows that review the cars from the past and provide history.

For the past several years, Tonight Show host Jay Leno has provided a place for the ultimate car enthusiast to learn about cars. Jay Leno’s Garage is not only a website, but an actual garage where Leno’s car collection is housed in California. The website offers a great deal of information for car lovers such as car reviews (of cars young and old), book review, interviews, and much more. One thing that Leno offers that Top Gear does not is in depth information on each car, and often, interviews with the car’s designers or an auto company exectuive. This provides a well rounded review of the car coming from both the executives and Leno. He completes the majority of his reviews by attempting to get the car to do a burnout!

I high recommend Jay Leno’s Garage to anyone who is interested in cars. I find it difficult not to spend hours watching reviews of Leno’s 1965 Shelby GT 350 Mustang, his super car collection (pictured above), or his reviews of the newest Aston Martins (my favorite modern car company). Jay Leno’s Garage offers entertainment for all types of auto enthusiasts and should become a part of everyone’s bookmark collection.

Here is one of Leno’s reviews for example. In this video he reviews his McLaren F1.

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Book Review: Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson.  Steve Jobs.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011.  630 pp. Hardcover $35.00 ISBN 978-1451648539.

There have been several books written about Steve Jobs over the years, but only Isaacson’s can claim the title “Authorized Biography.”  As Isaacson explains in the introduction, the book came about due to Steve’s persistence and was created following over forty interviews with Steve.  In addition, Isaacson interviewed about one hundred other people including family, friends, foes, and rivals.  This combination provides for one of the most complete biographies of Steve Jobs, an extremely private man, ever produced.

Everyone is familiar with the story of Apple’s creation, but what Isaacson is able to provide is some insight into Steve’s thinking.  From the book we learn that Steve was rebellious from childhood, experimented with a wide variety of drugs, and was a devout Buddhist.  There are other concerning aspects of Steve’s life including his bizarre diets and cruelty to those he deemed inferior.

One aspect of Steve’s personality that Isaacson focuses on his Steve’s “reality distortion field.”  Steve applied this distortion field rather liberally throughout his life.  Whether he was convincing others to meet impossible deadlines or denying that he was the father of his oldest daughter, his reality distortion field could be easy for others to buy into.  At times it did prove correct, however, and those around him were able to pull off the impossible.  However, the reality distortion field did fail him on several occasions, most notably his decision not to receive an operation to remove a tumor from his pancreas in 2003.

Isaacson’s book provides great tales from Steve’s experiences at Apple, NeXT, and Pixar.  The book feels taught and complete.  Perhaps the most difficult chapters to read are those that describe Steve’s cancer and how much he suffered the last year of his life.  Amazingly, despite is suffering; he was able to appear on stage twice in 2011, although, as the book describes, Steve had to prepare himself for these appearances.  The cancer was extremely aggressive and created a cycle that destroyed his appetite and caused him great pain and depression.  He never stopped working with Apple engineers, however, and was even designing a yacht for himself and his family when he died.

Steve has been compared to many other giants of industry and design, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Frank Lloyd Wright.  Steve was not perfect, and neither were any of these men.  Often their work took precedence over everything else, including their families.  Steve was no different.  His children, three of them were interviewed for the book, understood that their father was doing great work and did not blame him for his, at times, neglect.  Neither did his wife, Laurene Powell.

Isaacson’s book reads quickly and is high recommended for anyone interested in Apple, technology, or learning about a giant of our time.  There are occasions when stories are repeated, and the reader questions whether or not Isaacson himself falls under the spell of Steve’s reality distortion field, but this is likely due to the speed at which this book was released.  Nevertheless, Steve Jobs is a masterpiece about a guy who, could be an asshole at times, but vastly changed the way we use technology….and was taken from the world far too soon.

Isaacson’s book reveals one glimmer of hope, however.  Steve’s oldest son, Reed, developed an interest in cancer research and is currently studying at Stanford University, the same institution that treated his father.  The type of cancer that claimed Steve has been studied intensely thanks to Steve and his willingness to allow Stanford to study him and his tumor.  There are drugs today to slow the growth of the cancer to allow those suffering from it to enjoy a long and healthy life.  Steve hoped that he would be one of the last to die from his cancer, and he very well could be.

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iPhone 4S Review

It turns out we did not get our fabled iPhone 5, but we did get a new device from Apple last week, the iPhone 4S.  As usual, I received my device on day one and am prepared to review it.

Design

The iPhone 4 had an impressive design with glass and on the front and back and a stainless steel band holding everything in, and the iPhone 4S maintains that design.  The 3.5 inch retina display remains as well.  Again, those hoping for the iPhone 5 might be disappointed, but the 4S looks great, especially in white.

Hardware

What is new with the 4S is the internals.  Apple’s dual core A5 chip (from the iPad 2) is paired with 512MB of RAM.  Apple claims the A5 will improve performance by up to 2X for daily tasks and up to 7X for graphic rich games.  The iPhone 4S is quicker at launch apps, loading apps, and just about everything else.

Another major change internally is the antenna.  There was a lot of controversy surrounding the iPhone 4’s antenna.  So much that Apple provided free cases to iPhone 4 customers experiencing a drop in network connectivity.  Apple has supposedly fixed this issue by allowing the phone to switch seamlessly between two antennas built into the phone.  So far, tests have indicted this system has worked.

Camera 

Apple is very proud of the fact that the iPhone 4 is the most popular camera on Flickr and they have upgraded the camera for the 4S. The sensor is increased from 5MP to 8MP, but the real story is in the CMOS sensor from Sony.  The backlit sensor allows in more light making the images crisper in low-light situations.  In addition, Apple has added an additional lens into the design allowing for more accurate color depiction.  All these features, along with the new  f/2.4 aperture (improved from the old phone’s f/2.8) make for a great camera.

In addition, the camera now takes 1080p video and, paired with iOS 5, includes many new built in photo editing options.

iOS 5

The latest release of iOS improves greatly on what Apple has already created, and addresses many of the concerns put forth by those in the tech world.  The creation of Notification Center is certainly one of the greatest features in iOS 5.  Notification Center is similar to that on an Android device and makes it easy to keep track of everything you missed.

Other features such as: iMessage, Newsstand, Reminders, Twitter integration, and mail improvement are just a few of the over 200 new features in iOS 5.  Perhaps one of the greatest new features is the fact that Apple has made their devices truly wireless.  It is not longer necessary to sync your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to iTunes for backups and updates.  Syncing can be done over WiFi and the OS is now updated over-the-air via delta updates.

Overall, iOS 5 is a very solid OS.  There were some download issues when it was released last week (my iPhone 4 was bricked for a few hours), but that was largely due to the amount of traffic on Apple’s servers.  It has been reported that 1/3 of all iOS devices are now running iOS 5.  It hasn’t even been out a week yet!

iCloud

A major new feature of iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion is iCloud.  iCloud allows the user to wirelessly sync photos, calendars, contacts, bookmarks, documents, books, mail, and iTunes between all your Apple devices without the need to sync.  It is all done automatically and it works very well.  For example, I downloaded an iBook yesterday to my iPad, it automatically downloaded it to iTunes and to my iPhone.  I also added an appointment to my calendar on my iPhone and it automatically added it to my calendars on my iPad and MacBook Pro.  As Steve Jobs said in June, it just works.

All these features are also accessible from iCloud.com if you are not on an iCloud enabled device.  Users can also signup for a free .me email address if they choose.  Perhaps the most amazing part of iCloud is the price, FREE.  iCloud is free to all iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion users.  I believe this is going to start a trend in the tech world as cloud services become more and more popular.

Siri 

Perhaps the greatest, and most fun, feature of the iPhone 4S is Siri.  I am sure you have seen all the articles about Siri’s attitude and snappy remarks, but she really is helpful.  She can send email and texts, set reminders and appointments, make phone calls, play music, search the web, and just about anything else you might need.  She does so, as she says, humbly.  Siri is remarkably smooth for a beta and there are few times that she misunderstands.

Yes, Siri is fun to ask off the wall questions, but she is very useful and I think will only get better with time. I believe that Apple will eventually share Siri’s APIs with developers and we will see voice integration with 3rd party apps and that will truly make Siri the master of everything.

Impressions 

I have to admit that at first I was a little disappointed by the announcement of the iPhone 4S on October 4, but after using it for a few days, you begin to realize that Apple still has the complete package.  Having used Android phones, most recently the Samsung Galaxy S II, there appears to be an inherent cheapness to the feeling of the chassis of many phones.  The iPhone 4S, like the iPhone 4, feels very strong and durable, despite being made from glass.  The other issue with many phones is the disconnect between the hardware and software, but with Apple, both are made by the same people to ensure they work together seamlessly.  The iPhone 4S is a strong smartphone with great overall features, but other devices, such as the Motorola Droid RAZR, are thinner and have larger displays.  Apple is on par with the current market, after all, Apple did sell 4 million over the weekend, but a major redesign in 2012 will be required if they do not want to fall behind the crowd.

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The Problem with Apple’s Newsstand

Apple’s iOS 5 is full of great new features (features I will review in full detail in my review of the iPhone 4S) and one of my favorite was supposed to be Newsstand.  I say “supposed to be” because there is one major flaw in Newsstand.  It is not the fact that it is nearly impossible to put Newsstand into a folder, but it is the price of subscription to some of the publications.  The idea of selling media digitally is to cut down on the costs of printing and postage.  One would think, therefore, that digital editions of magazines and newspapers would be cheaper than their paper counterparts, and some are.  For example, The New York Times can be delivered to your iPad for $20 per month.  That is a $10 savings per month over home delivery costs.  Autoweek’s digital subscription only costs $4.99 for a year subscription, half off a print subscription.  National Geographic charges $19.99 for the Newsstand subscription, the same as print.  Charing the same amount is fine, but some magazines have really gotten it backwards.  Motor Trend is a great example of a poorly conceived pricing structure.  If I subscribed to Motor Trend by mail, I only pay $10.  However, if I want to get it digitally on my iPad it is $19.99.  WHY???  The iPad edition is more interactive and includes videos, yes, but I can get the same videos from their website for FREE. Why should I pay more for a magazine that it not generating the costs of printing and postage?  Motor Trend is not the only magazine doing this, here are a few other examples:

-Popular Mechanics: $12 by mail, $19.99 on iPad

Esquire: $8 by mail, $19.99 on iPad

Golf Magazine: $10 by mail, $19.99 on iPad

Reader’s Digest: $10 by mail, $14.99 on iPad

Vanity Fair: $19.99 by mail, $19.99 on iPad

The New Yorker: $59.99 by mail, $59.99 on iPad

Publishers need to realize that in order for a digital distribution system to work, they are going to need an aggressive pricing strategy.  Charging twice as much for digital over print is ridiculous.  I understand that this is new to many publishers and they are working on pricing, design, etc, but I feel that over time prices will come down.  I do not mind paying for content, but I do mind being screwed.

*I have emailed Motor Trend with my concern and will update this post if they reply, but I doubt they will.

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Pottermore (Beta): A Full Review

I have been in Pottermore now for a week and have worked my way through the first nine chapters of Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone.  When I first heard that J. K. Rowling planned on doing Pottermore, I was unsure as to what a website could add to the books.  What I have found out, however, is that there is a lot to be added to the world of Harry Potter.  In this review, I will share screen captures, a review of the site/layout, and the experience itself.  I will not spoil any of the new information provided by Rowling or give a chapter-by-chapter run down of what you will experience.  That is for you to explore whether you are waiting for your Beta invite or the full release in October.

I will begin by saying that the website is very stable.  There was some concern as to whether or not the site was built with Adobe’s Flash technology, but it appears that Sony has chosen to go with HTML 5 or some variant.  Which means that Pottermore will work on tablets and phones without Flash.  In fact, Pottermore runs very smoothly on my iPhone!  There have been only a few occasions where the site has been down for maintenance, but that is to be expected since this is a Beta period.

In each chapter, the layout of the page remains the same.  The above image is from Chapter 9 and I will use this to explain the element on the page.  (1) This the the “main menu” for Pottermore from which you can jump to Diagon Alley, Gringotts, the Great Hall, or your Common Room.  There are also links to Spells, Potions, your Trunk, your Friends (you can link your account to Facebook), and pages that you add to your favorites along the way.  Along the top it also shows you how many House Points you have earned and how many your house has in total.  (2) This element presents all the information available in the chapter.  Character biographies, places, collected items, books, etc. are all located in this sidebar.  A little feather icon appears next to one of the menu elements if there is something new in this chapter.  (3) This is your navigation bar.  From here you can move forward to the next element, go back to the last element, or get a brief description of the chapter.  The layout of Pottermore is extremely user friendly and functional.

The adventure through the books begins at login.  After logging in with your chosen screen name, you are taken to a gateway (pictured above) which is outlined with the books and chapters.  This serves as your navigation tool through the site and the books.  From here you can continue through the book or jump to a previous chapter. This serves as the welcome page as you enter the website.

Although I said I would not spoil any of the experiences of Pottermore, I will highlight a few of the key experiences in the early chapters.  The first of which would be shopping in Diagon Alley.  Here you get to do many things including visit Gringotts to open your account (you are given 500 Galleons to begin with).  After you have opened your account, you must purchase the items on your shopping list.  This list is identical to the one Harry received in book one.  You visit each store individually and make your purchases, including your choice of pet.  The most important stop, however, is your last….choosing your wand.

Vising Ollivander’s is one of the most exciting parts of the trip to Diagon Alley.  Receiving (well paying for!) your wand is the first step to becoming a wizard.   You are asked a series of simple questions and a wand is chosen, or rather, a wand choses you!  Although this is a short and easy process, it is key to the story.

After visiting Ollivander’s, you board the Hogwarts Express and head to Hogwarts.  Upon entering the castle, you are taken to the sorting ceremony.  Before you are sorted, you are presented with a short video from Rowling explaining that this is the crucial point of the experience.  You will be a member of this house for the remainder of the books and there is no changing of houses.  You are asked a series of more complex questions and you are then added to a house.  I was sorted into Hufflepuff.  You are then taken to your Common Room and presented with an exclusive history of your house (only members of your house has access to this information from Rowling).

The Great Hall is the center for your information about Hogwarts.  Here you can find out how many points each house has, how many students are in each house, and how many students are enrolled at Hogwarts (currently there are approximately 360,000!).  What I have found interesting about this page is the equality in numbers between the houses.  One would think that the sorting hat ceremony could be easily swayed so that you could be in the house of your choice, but the numbers suggest otherwise.  In fact, the numbers are so equal (look closely at the picture above), that there is obviously some filter in place to ensure that one house does not have 20,000 more than another.  Right now the gap between the house with the most and least members is less than 1,000.  Seems almost too close to be going completely by your answers.

Throughout the chapters, the reader is presented with a great amount of information.  Character biographies, room descriptions, Rowling’s extras, etc. that there really is a lot to take in.  Rowling’s extras are the best part the chapters and include backstory on the Dursleys, background on the Hogwart’s Express, and the backstory of Professor McGonagall.  She also includes descriptions of all the woods and cores available to wand makers and their abilities.  Her additions to the story are very thorough and written in the same story as the books so that readers will feel right at home.

In addition to readings, there are hands on activities as well.  Casting spells and brewing potions are the two most challenging tasks on the site, in fact, they are damn near impossible to complete.  The site administrators have admitted there are some issues that they would like to address to make these tasks easier, but casting a spell should not require a complicated system using both the keyboard and the mouse.  Potions making should be detailed, and it works, until you get to a certain point and then I was stuck and ran out of time.

Despite these few issues, Pottermore is an exiting way to experience the world of Harry Potter.  This site will thrill fans both young and old and will provide years of entertainment.  It is important to note that what I am working with now is a Beta and may change before October, although I cannot image it would change much.  Rowling said at her press conference introducing the site that the goal of Pottermore was to bring Harry Potter to a new generation of readers by incorporating technology.  Pottermore hugely succeeds.

Keep up with the latest Pottermore news by visiting the Pottermore Insider.

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Mac OS X Lion Review

I decided to push my review of Lion back a week so it could be post number 100!  So, here it is….POST 100:

Apple released Lion on July 20 through the Mac App Store for a reasonable $29.99.  There are some who have complained about the lack of a disc option, but Apple is planning to release USB flash drives with Lion for $69.  Clearly it is cheaper to purchase the OS through the App Store, but not everyone has high speed internet and the file was a hefty 3.75GB.  That being said, the download is worth the wait as Lion’s features are a more noticeable transition from Snow Leopard then the Leopard to Snow Leopard upgrade in 2009.  Where Snow Leopard was a rewrite of the OS, Lion focuses more on end user features.  Apple has publicized this as iOS meets Mac OS X, but has it worked?  Lets find out.

Multi-Touch Gestures

Many people are probably wondering why this is such a big deal.  Apple already used Multi-touch with the Mac, but the experience has been taken to the next level.  Users using a MacBook or iMac with a Trackpad will find multi-touch very useful.  From swiping between desktops/full screen apps, pinch to zoom, short cuts, the user experience has been greatly improved with these simple gestures.  While there are many gestures available, users can customize gestures and can even view short demos in System Preferences>TrackPad.  The one annoying change Apple made is scrolling.  You can still use two figures, but it is the opposite of what we are used to.  They claim it is more natural, but I hate it.  Luckily, this can also be disabled in System Preferences.

Full Screen Apps

This is one of the simplest features of Lion, but also very useful for power users and those using 11″ or 13″ MacBooks.  All of Apple’s built in Apps have a new button at the top right corner of the screen to open the app in full screen mode.  When an App is place in full screen, its enters its own space.  Using a simple 3-finger swipe, the user can swipe between all open full screen apps and desktops.  This makes switching between Safari, Mail, and iTunes (the apps I use most) very quick.  What has amazed me is how fluid the system switches between apps.

Mission Control

Before Mission Control there was Expose and Spaces.  Mission Control combines these features along with Full Screen Apps to give users quick access to all open programs on their machine.  Again, a multi-touch gesture can be assigned to access Mission Control or by pushing F3 on the keyboard.  No only does this show all open apps, but you can add more desktops and arrange the apps between these desktops, much like Spaces.  What is annoying, however, is that I cannot rearrange full screen apps.  They are arranged in the order you opened them or the system will also order them by the number of times you use the app, but you cannot drag them around.  I hope this will be a change Apple will make in one of its early updates to Lion because I want to order the apps by my priorities.

LaunchPad

Launchpad is the most obvious carryover from iOS.  The iPad/iPhone like layout allows users to organize apps and place them into folders.  Again, this is accessible using multi-touch gestures, but I find the whole idea to be pointless.  What is wrong with the Dock?  Most users will probably skip this option….I know I have.

Resume

Resume is one of the most clever and useful of the changes in Lion.  It is probably one of the most simple as well.  How many times has your computer asked you to restart after an update and you skipped it because you were working in an app?  Of course, if you had restarted you would have lost where you were.  That is no longer the case with Lion.  Resume does two very important things.  First, it remembers where you were and what you were doing in an app.  If you were writing a paper in Word and quit, when you come back later, Lion will take you back to where you left off.  It will even remember your preferred screen size and layout.  The second thing feature of Resume comes when you are asked to restart or simply shutdown the computer at the end of the day.  When you turn the computer back on, all apps that were running when you shutdown are reopened and brought back to where you left them.  Both Apple and Microsoft had a feature where you could assign apps to open when you started the computer, but they would always default to the opening screen.  Resume carries out these two functions very well and it can do them both at the same time!  This feature is built into Lion and will work with any app, including third party apps.

Auto Save

Another simple and very useful tool in Lion is Auto Save.  After the initial save, you never have to tell the system to save the document again.  There are several new options you have with this feature.  The most useful of which is quickly duplicating the document.  This allows the user to save a locked version to use as a template.  You can also lock the document when you are finished with it and no longer wish to make changes. All these options are found in a new menu located at the top of the window next to the document’s title.  For now, Auto Save only works with Apple’s iWork and Text Edit document editors.  Third party developers need to be sure they take advantage of this feature.

Versions

Along with Auto Save comes Versions.  As the system auto saves, it also keeps a log of the changes made to the document.  If the user needs to pull a previous version of the document out, they get a simple, Time Machine like, interface that allows them to restore any version of the document.  As with Auto Save, this only works with iWork and Text Edit for now.  Microsoft says their next update to Office will take advantage of these features.

Mail

One of the apps that received a major overhaul was mail.  Not only can it be viewed in full screen mode, but it is now more iOS like with threaded messages and a more convenient reading pane.  Those familiar with Apple’s mail service will be comfortable with the button layout at the top of the screen, but with the messages on the left and the optional folder bar to the left of the messages, the new mail is even more user friendly.  It also is great for managing multiple email accounts.

Air Drop

Air Drop is a great new features for businesses using Macs or for a household with multiple Macs.  Air Drop allows users to quickly and securely share files between computers.  Air Drop is locoed in the new Finder and will search for all Macs on the local WiFi network.  You can then drag-and-drop files between Macs.

Other new Features

Many of the favorite apps from Snow Leopard remain and work better than ever.  The Finder has been updates and Spotlight search is now more inclusive.  Safari has a built in Reader option to save articles from websites and takes advantage of multi-touch gestures with pinch-to-zoom and two figure swipes to go back and forth between sites.  Dashboard has been placed in its own space to the left of the desktop in Mission Control.

Verdict

After using Lion for nearly two weeks, I have found very few bugs.  The release is remarkable stable.  It is obvious Apple has worked hard to bring all these new features to Mac OS X, but what is most surprising is how well they work together.  Individually, they are impressive features, but what is important for any OS is how all the features work together, and that is where Apple has always succeeded.  Apple has proven yet again that when an Operating System and the hardware are designed by the same people, they work together seamlessly.  Lion has already sold well over 1,000,000 copies and is truly the greatest release of Mac OS X yet, and at $29.99, Lion is a no brainer.

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The Apple iPad 2 Review

After waiting in line at Best Buy yesterday to receive one of the 15 iPad 2s, I can honestly say Apple has not disappointed.  After Steve Jobs unveiled the new iPad last week, many wondered what made this iPad different from the first generation model.  The answer is all in the hardware.

HARDWARE

The iPad 2 had many new hardware features that make it far superior to the previous model.  The most obvious is the body itself.  The iPad 2 is only .34 inches thin and it feels completely different in the hand.  The new flat back makes it feel like a thin book or, more appropriately, like a magazine.  The aluminum back and glass screen make the iPad rigid and it feels incredibly durable.

iPad 2 next to the original iPad

The addition of two cameras also sets the iPad 2 apart from its predecessor.  The front-facing camera is VGA only and is meant for making Facetime video calls.  The rear-facing camera is 720p HD video camera, but when taking pictures, the rear camera is less than 1 megapixel.  The images are okay, but not the greatest quality.  The iPad, however, is too large to be an effective camera.  I have the iPhone 4, which has a 5-megapixel camera with flash.  This serves the purpose when I am on the go.  The cameras do well a video camera and that is their primary purpose.

The other major change to the iPad 2 is on the inside.  Apple’s A5 chip is a 1 GHz dual core processor that has dramatically increased speed of day-to-day operation.  The processor makes iPad 2 nearly twice as fast as the original and nine times faster with graphics.  iBooks (Free) is noticeably quicker.  Games that are heavy on the GPU are noticeably faster and more detailed.  The other major change is the iPad 2 has 512 MB of RAM instead of the previous generations 256 MB.  This allows the iPad to keep more open webpages in its memory as well as operate apps better in the background.  Also added under the hood is a gyroscope that give better control when playing games.

Unchanged on the iPad 2 is the screen.  The 9.7 inch display is unchanged, but still just as rich in detail.  The bezel surrounding the screen remains the same size but now comes in black or white.  Overall, the hardware of the new iPad 2 is what gives it its competitive edge.

SOFTWARE

The iPad 2 came preloaded with Apple’s new iOS 4.3 release.  This came with such improvements as quicker Safari browser, Air Time updates, and the option to use the switch on the side of the iPad for mute or rotate lock functionalities.

iMovie for iPad

There are a few additions to iOS 4.3 that are only found on the iPad 2, however.  The Facetime app is like the one on the iPod Touch and works very well.  There is a camera app like on the iPod and iPhone, but the big story is Photo Booth.  If you have a Mac, you know what Photo Booth is capable of.  It takes funny pictures of you and your friends for you to post all over your Facebook wall, but Photo Booth does more than that.  It shows off the incredible speed of the new A5 processor.

Drums on Garage Band

There are a few other apps Apple has created to take advantage of the iPad 2’s cameras and speed.  The first is iMovie ($4.99).  This is currently available for the iPhone and is a capable app.  It allows you to edit movies you have made with your iPad.  The other app is Garage Band ($4.99).  On the Mac, Garage Band only works with physical instruments, but with the iPad the instruments are virtual.  Whether you play the piano, guitar, or drums, Garage Band has you covered.  They also have “Smart Instruments” for those of us who are not musically inclined.  In addition to instruments, Garage Band allows the user to mix tracks and use the iPad as an amp for several instruments.

Photo Booth

OVERALL

Smart Cover and the iPad 2

iPad 2 is a very solid device and one that I will use every day.  Like the original iPad, the iPad 2 has a wide variety of accessories including Smart Covers ($39 – $69) which use magnets to attach to the iPad and easily lock and unlock the iPad by just closing or opening the cover.  I purchased a grey Smart Cover and it works very well and does not add a lot of bulk to the design.  What is truly amazing is that with the smaller size, new hardware, and added speed, the iPad 2 retains the original iPad’s 10-hour battery life and price point.  I purchased the 32GB black Wi-Fi iPad 2.  Of course, everyone wonders what Apple has in store for the next iPad, as well as this summer’s iOS 5 update, but for now, I have no problem waiting with the iPad 2.

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