This afternoon, Apple introduced the iPad 2. As I type this blog post on my iPad 1, I’ve been considering what the iPad 2 can bring to music education and whether upgrading to the new model is worth it. The new iPad will be available starting March 11th (A teacher inservice day before our week-long spring break).
In short, upgrading to the iPad 2 is worth it if you are involved in music education. However, Apple is clearing out iPad 1 models as of today ($349 for a refurbished unit), and if your choice is a $349 iPad or no iPad, I’d take the $349 iPad.
The iPad 2 has many features applicable to Music Education. First, it is lighter and thinner. Second, it has mirroring capacity for teaching. It’s unclear what improvements iOS 4.3 will bring to the iPad, but I’m hoping the announced but unspecified Airplay updates will include mirroring as well (wireless projection). If you use the new digital cable, you can mirror iPad output to any HDMI enabled device. Third, the new iPad has a faster (dual core) processor, and fourth, it has a dedicated graphics processor. For the display of music, a faster processor and a graphics processor is a good thing. All PDF music readers should speed up significantly with the new technology. Many other apps will take advantage of that speed, too.
Finally, Garage Band is coming for the iPad. I’ve not tapped into the full power of Garage Band on my MacBook, but full audio editing and mixing (with virtual instruments) as a native app is a winner, particularly at $4.99.
All the other previous winning elements of the iPad are still present on the iPad 2, such as the 9.7″ screen, the screen format, and the ten hour battery. The iPad 2 clearly makes a previously excellent device even better. There are additional features for the iPad 2, such as the cameras and the high definition output, but in my opinion, those features won’t have as much impact on music education as the other features I’ve mentioned.
The iPad is a great buy at $349, and the iPad 2 is a great step in what Apple is calling “The Post-PC Era.” My guess is that they’re going to sell a lot of iPad 2s, and it is probably a good time to invest in Apple stock (yet again).