The iPad 2: Does Apple Make Mistakes?

Following the international release of the iPad 2 it’s worth giving a thought to the continued ability of Apple to develop and market incredibly successful products. Can the iPad 2 possibly fail?

The release of the first iPad, way back in April 2010, was met by dissenting voices in the technology community. From people heralding it as a marvellous technological breakthrough, to asking serious questions over its purpose. Where does it fit in? Do people need it?

In spite of the initial qualms and speculation over the iPad, Apple was fully prepared to back its new invention and follow its well proven, tried and tested, roadmap for success. Apple would immediately get back to working on the next iteration, the purification of its new technology.

Refined Not Redefined

In the iPad, Apple knew it had something special. Even revolutionary.

Having said that, I don’t believe that a year ago Apple knew exactly what it was it had created and unleashed; it believed in the design and power of the iPad but couldn’t fully grasp its true purpose, its modus operandi.

A good degree of effort was put into convincing people of the broad scope and usefulness of the iPad. It was shown how the iPad could handle various work related tasks, from extended writing through to tackling spreadsheets. While it does all of these things honourably, in reality it wasn’t its work related usefulness that made the iPad a success – whether or not people used those capabilities to justify a purchase. It was how you felt when you picked it up and played with it, how purely immersive it was, and how natural this unique device was in your hands. It was enchanting.

With the iPad 2, Apple hasn’t changed its mind or drastically redefined what the iPad is. It’s simply learned from its experiences so far with its new creation and worked hard to refine it.

Do It Right

Some of the refinements are purely practical in nature. The Smart Cover, for example, directly addresses the questions surrounding applied use of the iPad. It integrates seamlessly with the iPad and avoids distracting from (or abusing) its aesthetic beauty, while simultaneously protecting the screen and folding into a stand that makes everything that much easier, from watching films to typing.

Other refinements are aesthetic. The iPad is most at home when being held by its user, making it thinner and lighter was a no brainer! Last but not least are the technical refinements, the cameras, the A5 chip, and the increase in RAM to name just three (four if you count both cameras).

A key element in Apple’s design philosophy is that you should do it right, or not at all. This applies to products just as much as it applies to functionality. Apple doesn’t just chance upon great products and the ensuing success, it has built up an overarching company philosophy that centres on the end user and getting things right. This costs Apple something. It can often mean leaving out certain features or functionality that, while they may shift more units, Apple can’t yet get to work how it would like (something that was definitely the case with the original iPhone).

More Than Success?

What Apple has done with the iPad 2 is continue its commitment to a design philosophy that has seen the company expand and grow at an almost unprecedented pace.

Lets think about this for a moment: Sales of the iPad 2 in the US hit more than 300,000 on the first day. There were massive queues all across the country, and they ran out of units. Whether those things were intentional (Apple surely had an idea about the demand there would be) or not (there’s a finite limit to how many iPads can be made in a day), the iPad 2 is already another success story.

What is clear, however, is that the iPad means more to Apple than the sum of its commercial success. I believe that with the iPad 2 Apple is one step closer to knowing exactly what it has in the iPad. Another chapter is being written, and we are moving ever closer to the immersive future of personal computing.

Is the iPad 2 another confident step into a brave new world? Is Apple destined to continue being a major force in defining the future of the technological landscape? Does Apple make mistakes?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and responses to the launch of the iPad 2 and the questions posited here!


  • http://emrah.omuris.com/ Emrah Omuris

    I was pleasantly dissatisfied when I see the quality of the rear camera as I really believe this contradicts with your points in the article. If Apple was to create things until it is right, then it should have abandoned the rear camera. While I see the front camera is perfectly normal for FaceTime-type usage, the rear camera, first, doesn’t fit with a “tablet” platform (very limited usage), and, more importantly the second, it’s quality is something that Apple should be ashamed off.

    • Joel Bankhead

      Thanks for getting debate going!

      I definitely agree that the quality of the rear camera doesn’t look great, but I think you have to look at what the purpose of the camera is. I believe that the purpose of the rear camera is very similar to that of the front facing one – it’s there to complement and enhance FaceTime usage.

      Photos taken on the iPad cameras certainly don’t do the iPad screen any justice – should Apple have waited until it could provide higher spec cameras?

      • Jesse Wallace

        I disagree with the notion that the proposed use of the rear camera is enhanced Facetime. There is no way to adequately stand the iPad for rear usage (without a case) and no way to view the other participant. The idea that it was made for Facetime is not realistic.

        The obvious intent was video first, then some photo – as shown in its 720p format and the release of a dedicated iMovie application.

        Regardless – it is a just terrible camera in every aspect. The resolution, the poor low light control, the graininess even in sunlight. Its just aweful.

    • http://abdusfauzi.com abdusfauzi

      however, personally, i think the rear camera support the usage of FaceTime, because you might want to show the other people, rather than yourself without turning the screen facing the surrounding.

      The rear camera itself is very practical for video conferencing, because not every connection that you get is capable of handling HD streams.

      I bet, if photos were taken using iPad 2, it will just ended in online album such as Facebook / Flickr. Hardly anyone prints photo nowadays.

      Thus, Apple actually provide optimum needs to their iPad 2 user.

  • http://decisionisaction.tumblr.com/ Tag

    The iPhone is the world’s most used camera. I don’t think the iPad will get anywhere near that statistic. It’s just not something you quickly pull out of your pocket.

    It’s also why there is a camera connection kit.

    It’s for Facetime and other limited uses and because they could…

  • Phil

    “Do people need it? ”

    That’s the ultimate question. I say no, they don’t. If I had to choose a tablet right now it would be the Xoom, but realistically I don’t need that either. I think if you picked up an Asus ep121 Slate, between that and your smart phone you’d be covered for everything. No need for a laptop or a tablet.

    • Justin Tefft

      When I decided I wanted to get a tablet, I narrowed it down between the Xoom and the iPad 2. I was leaning heavily toward the Xoom thinking that I had owned iOS devices in the past and wouldn’t be happy with an iPad. When the Xoom launched, I went to Best Buy and spent about an hour playing around with it, using it like I would at home or at work, and walked away thinking I should save my $800. When the iPad two was launched, I knew that was tablet I wanted. I received mine last Thursday and I’ll tell you, it has revolutionized the way I do business, and the way I surf, game, email, etc at home too. I’m not an Apple fan boy. I own a droid x and have used it heavily. The iPad 2 has helped me to minimize usage of my computer, my phone, and other devices, substantially, I’ve done away with pen and notebook. No more emailing from my phone. I could go on and on. It is highly mobile and portable and so easy to use. I’m obviously a big fan.

    • ariadng

      People “want” it, not “need” it.

  • Kavin

    Is this your first or second article? Well whichever it is, good job. Good read that looked at the whole picture. Keep up the good job.

    I haven’t gotten my hands on an iPad yet but I think Apple is not done defining the iPad yet. There will be plenty mote goodness in store with future iterations.

  • Tuomas

    What I find a bit odd is how Apple is marketing the iPad 2 as a completely redesigned product.

    This may be true from the designer’s standpoint and I do agree that a lot has changed when compared to the iPad 1, but what I think most average users see is the same iPad that’s thinner, lighter and has a slightly differently shaped back.

    What I mean to say is that the changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary and they don’t necessarily justify calling it a complete redesign, from the user’s standpoint anyway. People expected those changes to happen.

    This is not to say the iPad 2′s design is bad, on the contrary, I’m very fond of Jonathan Ive’s design and the iPad 2 is another great example of that.

    • Nico Einsidler

      I totally agree with you, but I have two theroies that explain the marketing:

      Maybe there are so into their work, that they call it a redesign.

      Or it is just marketing strategy that they wants us to think, that they are so enthusiastic at work…

  • http://nicoeinsidler.bplaced.com Nico Einsidler

    I never played around with a Xoom, but I think, tablets are just the future of computing. And the Xoom is really a competition for the iPad, maybe not for the second generation, but I think Motorola has done a really good job, only the price is too much.

    There is no right or wrong way, but there is a usual way of doing things! None of us is used to do your business with a tablet, we are used to desktops or laptops. So we can’t really compare them. We used laptops for years and the iPad is just released one year ago… And even the price is revolutionary!

    The only thing I missed on my family’s iPad (1) is the ability to actually create something, say music, movies, webpages, apps, etc. So on the consumer side the iPad is the best computer. We are not the average of users. We are creators, editors and some of us – me too are geeks.
    But those apps will follow and some are already out there. (iMovie, GarageBand, Textastic,…)

    My opinion. Please criticize!

  • Nick

    I have stopped buying iOS devises, i don’t know where to start without going into a rant but here goes, App’s are what make the ipad/iphone the product itself has very little functionality, the what should be so simple fact of getting a folder of my computer at work and onto my ipad is a logistical nightmare, Corporate computers don’t have itunes and never will, (not that you can sync with two computers anyway) so to get my folder onto my pad i have to take my laptop in put folder onto USB put onto laptop put in dropbox (another thing IT wont allow at work) and sync, GOD forbid i plug my ipad into my laptop, i have lost apps my music save games in trying to do this, Justin earlier goes on about revolutionise the way he does business, it doesn’t really does it Justin? the apps that brilliant developers produce might help but the product lacks, GoodReader even apologises in it’s how too’s, because Apple wont allow whole folders to be transferred into the app, you have to do one file at a time. Home share, people seem to be happy with being able to play the music they already have at home on another product at home? I expected wireless sync, airprint? lets not start on that one, I bought my first Mac three years ago and fell in love with it, now my daughter has one my partner has one and i have an iMac and Mac Pro, i loved the way they all worked together, file sharing, screen sharing and just general ease of use, Now the iPad in either form is here I find it FRUSTRATING, I think if it wasn’t for the App developers Apple would be losing this tablet battle and Mr Jobs needs to relax his strangle hold on it, the others are catching up, just imagine people what it could do if they would just give it that good old Mac functionality we all love.

    This is of course my opinion but don’t tell me you all don’t secretly think this.

  • http://www.hammyhavoc.com Hammy Havoc

    As with the original iPhone; Apple didn’t have an App Store to begin with. What defines Apple is what the end user does with their products. Everybody was buying iPhones and jailbreaking to run additional applications. Heck, at one point *the* major reason to own a first generation iPhone was the fact that the third party development scene was so huge. Now we have all of these wonderful applications available to us directly from Apple and an even bigger general application development scene, that isn’t to say that the ones available through jailbreaking have died, quite the opposite, but that isn’t for discussion here.

    Apple gives you (The end user and developer) a sort of ‘MacGyver’ scenario; They present you with the tools to change the world, but it’s entirely up to you how you’re going to do that.

    @hammyhavoc

  • Kiwaczek

    I’ll wait till fall regarding to rumors about ipad3 will be relase. Or not..

  • Pete schramm

    As a new user of iPad 2 I have to say that we are still in the honeymoon phase of our relationship, but one major disappointment is the support for pictures. I have found it to be very inflexible and archic. Given that is one of my intended needs, I sincerely hope that better picture support is part of the next release.

  • Dave Ankers

    Ever since the iPad launched I have seen it as a device to live on the lounge table for casual computing: email, reading news, quick web searches and … video chatting. Of course, the latter ruled out an iPad1 and so last Friday I queued for an iPad2. My first impressions are very positive, the biggest challenge will be teaching my wife, not a natural computer user, how to use it.

    As to whether Apple “make mistakes”, the question in the title but not really addressed in the article, the answer is “yes”. For example announcing the white iPhone before they knew how to make it, was a mistake albeit not a serious one. Similarly, I think their inability to meet demand is a mistake too. The lack of compelling alternative products stops errors like these being too damaging however as the competition gets stronger they could be.

    Looking specifically at the iPad itself I think all of the changes are unarguably improvements. I know some people are disappointed by the quality of the rear-facing camera however I really do not see it as a tool for still photography, an iPad is too unwieldy for that, but as a supplementary source for video chat it is fine. Personally, I would have liked to see a built-in SD reader but I can live with the external dongle.

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