I received my iPad 2 today and yes, yes, as any of the thousands of online reviews will tell you, it is thinner and lighter. The cameras are crap, the smart cover is cool and really cuts down on the bulk of the original iPad case. It’s not clear to me that browsing really is faster, but the benchmarks all say that it is…well faster than the original iPad anyway. Don’t ask about Android.
One of the first things that I wanted to do was try a FaceTime call. I know, I know, Skype can do video calls. Why even the poor forsaken Yahoo chat can do video calls. My corporate clients have been using high end video conference systems for years, etc. etc. There is nothing new about video calling…except there is.
I opened FaceTime, logged in with my Apple ID, and there were my contacts all waiting to be called. Of course precious few of my friends have the new iPad, but I was able to locate a fanboy, err, iPad 2 owner, in my contact list, and we had a lively, spontaneous video call. The video certainly wasn’t HD quality, but the audio was very clear and lacking in typical VOIP artifacts like echo or stuttering.
It turns out that the iPad form factor is really in a sweet spot. It’s much lighter and easier to handle than a laptop, but the larger screen is much more engaging than an iPhone.
The iPad seems to be following in the iPhone’s footsteps and is wriggling it’s way into the enterprise. This might be the device that injects ad hoc video calls into every day business communications..