Head-to-Head: Apple iPad 2 vs Apple iPad original

The iPad 2 will finally hit British shores on Friday March 25th at 5pm, but should you upgrade if you already have a first-generation model? Read our head-to-head comparison to find out.

Unlike the camera-less original iPad, the new model as two cameras. The low quality cameras aren't very good at taking stills, but they could be useful for video conferencing. Apple includes its own FaceTime app for calling other iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches and Macs, but unless other companies adopt Apple's FaceTime technology, you'll be looking at other apps.

Unfortunately third-party iPad video conferencing apps are currently few and far between. Even the available iPhone online meeting apps, such as Webex which do run on the iPad, have yet to support video calling, while Skype has only just included it. Unless your company has completely switched over to Apple devices and FaceTime, video calling currently isn't a good reason for abandoning your original model iPads.

The cameras can also be used to record video. Holding the iPad 2 up for use as a camcorder feels very awkward, but it might be useful in a pinch and it's even possible to edit video using Apple's optional iMovie app. It's not as flexible as the Mac version of iMovie, or other desktop video editing programs, but its slick interface makes it ideal for quickly cutting and uploading short clips. That brings us to

Processor, RAM and software

The original iPad has a single-core 1GHz A4 processor and 256MB of RAM. The latest model has a dual-core 1GHz A5 processor and 512MB of RAM. The practical effect of these bumped specifications is that apps launch faster and run more smoothly. The more complicated the app, the bigger the difference.

Apple's own iMovie video-editing app only runs on the iPad 2 which we suspect is due to the new model's superior processor and increased memory. We expect more and more apps will take advantage of this more powerful hardware for a smoother experience, eventually dropping support for the older model although this will take a while.

As speedy as the iPad 2 is, unless your company is already using particularly demanding apps, its more powerful specifications aren't a compelling reason to dump your classic iPads just yet.

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