So I bought an iPad 2

I’m nothing if not true to my word, on occasion. I avoided the actual iPad 2 launch – although I did swing by the Apple store towards 5pm to take a look at the queue. Quite large, just the sort of thing I generally try to avoid. So I went home and, as promised, went into Bath this morning to try my hand at getting an iPad 2 without the hassle.

I sort of succeeded. Unlike last year’s iPad expedition, this time I wasn’t able to stroll in late, take my pick and be out again inside a quarter of an hour. Instead I was up and out of the house by a quarter to nine, walked into town (I fear I’m starting to enjoy this whole walking two miles to work every morning thing, to the extent that I’m now finding excuses to do it at weekends) and strolled up to the Apple store to find another queue.

Not an enormous queue; probably about 30 people, and store staff were already out, handing out allocation tickets. By the time they got to me they were down to the last few and I was forced dial down my expectations a little. No white iPad 2 for me; instead I opted for the same model as my old iPad: black, 32GB, wifi. No need for 3G, and in a year of owning an iPad I haven’t even come close to filling it up, so no call for 64GB.

It was a slow queue. Store staff had been on a three-line whip the previous night. Until midnight, I learned, which was annoying; had I known it was going to be open until midnight I’d have definitely taken a late trip into town to take advantage of it. So there was a bit of a shortage of staff this morning, and from joining the queue to paying up took about three quarters of an hour.

I didn’t get one of those smart covers; they look pretty neat but I’m not entirely sold on the idea. I did however finally pick up a camera connection kit (having ascertained that the iPad can definitely handle RAW files), which so far hasn’t even come out of its box, and I was back home by about 11. Later than I’d anticipated, but still preferable to spending a whole afternoon in a queue.

It took me a while to actually get to play with it; rather than set it up from a backup of my old iPad, I decided to run it off my main PC instead of my ageing laptop, which meant transferring apps onto the PC then doing a fresh setup. Exciting stuff! I also made a small tactical error; I had a bit of a plan to sell my old iPad but figured it would be polite to first ask Philippa if she wanted it. She has a laptop and my ancient iPod Touch; I guessed she’d turn it down. Girl tech logic. But no, she was delighted, so she gets it. To be honest it’s nice that it’s a piece of tech that she rates enough to want for herself; definitely a couple of hundred quid’s worth of nice.

So a lot of the day was spent setting up my old iPad for Philippa as well as setting my iPad 2 up, and things were slowed down even further by updating them to iOS 4.3.1, which stupid fucking iTunes insisted on downloading for each installation.

(Also, I had to go outside and chop down a tree. With an axe. Which is way, way cooler than anything else I did today. It’s okay, the tree was screwed by honey fungus and had to come down, I wasn’t being a tree-hating dick or anything.)

Finally I got to spend some quality time with the iPad 2. And guess what? It’s slimmer and faster! It strips away the ever so slight clunkiness of the original iPad, and it’s just lovely to use. Oh, yeah, there are the cameras as well, but as expected I haven’t yet had any use for them and I’m not anticipating bringing them into play any time soon. Unless someone makes that virtual Theremin app that I mentioned.

Heck, I’ve even written this entire post using the WordPress app. Which, thankfully, is considerably less completely shit than it was last time I tried using it.

As a piece of sofa tech it’s much better than the original, simply because with its flat back it sits on my lap quite happily without sliding all over the place. And it’s lighter too. Like I said: lovely. Although Minotron seems to run a lot faster on it. Which could be a lot of fun. I’ll have to investigate further.

I’d have a hard time living without it. I’ve been living with the iPad by my side on the sofa for the past year, and I’ve become used to picking it up for any number of reasons (mostly, “Who’s that person on the telly? What have we seen them in before? Oh, another episode of The Avengers.”). It doesn’t represent a new post-PC paradigm or anything like that, but it makes for a bloody good stopgap. It’ll do for now.

Did I mention that I chopped down a tree? It wasn’t an enormous tree or anything, but still, it was a tree and I chopped it down. Fuck yeah.

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