The New Apple Store

Last week, Apple refreshed it’s Retail Store by replacing the “paper under glass” information blocks with tethered iPads. The new high-tech kiosk provides detailed information about the product along with a “summons a salesperson” button.

I visited a local store yesterday. The new look was a little aggravating to me. I suffer from low vision. Normally, I pick up the paper information and read the details using a magnifying glass. With the iPad, I could pick it up, but the interface was disabled. I couldn’t zoom in or enable VoiceOver.

But, there was an air of elegant redundancy at the iPad table. iPads selling iPads! What will they think of next?

Elegant Redundancy

I must admin. I wimped out on testing the new  “summons Help” feature. Brought up the dialog, but cancelled instead.

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iPad 2 Report Card

iPad + Smart Cover = Book?
Image by DaveOnFlickr via Flickr

Prior to and after ordering the iPad 2, I struggled with the decision to upgrade. After all, I was extremely happy with the original iPad. What killer features were there that warranted a move to the latest Apple tablet offering?

Thankfully, I calmed my trepidation and placed the order. Soon after the iPad 2 arrived, my original iPad found a good home with my youngest daughter.

Using the new iPad, I was immediately aware of a boost in performance. The performance boost was not so evident in normal use, but there was a definite improvement in processing when features such as VoiceOver were employed.

The ZAGGmate keyboard went with the original iPad, so I purchased the ZAGG iPad 2 replacement. I am not sure this item is officially a ZAGGmate since the name “Logitech” is prominent on the box and in the documentation.

There were items about the new iPad that I didn’t anticipate would be as important, but as it turns out, they are. First was the Apple Smart Cover. I splurged and ordered the Red leather cover. I really thought the Smart Cover was more of a gimmick, but after using it on a day-to-day basis, I really like this new addition to the iPad accessory family.


Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase


Another feature was the front and rear cameras. Since I’m not a photographer, I didn’t anticipate much use of the new hardware. But, like with the Smart Cover, I was again proven wrong. The iPad is now my main Skype machine. The rear camera really shines under these circumstances allowing me to provide a guided tour of our home. I had tried to do this with my laptop in the past without much success, but using the rear camera on the iPad for this function is very natural especially since you can see what you are trying to show .

And, there was an unexpected benefit with the cameras. As I have stated before, I struggle with low vision and need assistance in reading the printed word. Normally, this is accomplished by use of a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) system. I have such a system at work and was in the process of budgeting the $2000+ to purchase a unit for home. My Skype usage of the rear camera got me to thinking. Are there any Magnification Apps out there that would use the rear cameras?  I checked around and lo and behold, I found four different apps that I am currently trying out. Two were free and two cost $0.99. That’s a far cry short of the $2K I was planning to spend. While not as functional as a CCTV, the apps are providing me with a greater than expected level of function for reading and signing paperwork.

Of course, I do have a complaint. While the new iPad is lighter and thinner, the new form factor makes the device harder to hold and more difficult to pick up. The squared edges of the original iPad gave me a greater sense of security when holding the device and made it easier to pick the device up with one hand. The new iPad tends to slide around a bit.  Also, the slant at the bottom of the iPad makes it a little more difficult to plug in the 30 pin connector.

But, aside from this, I give the iPad 2 high marks. I wonder where the iPad 3 will take us, but hopefully, the 3rd version of the Apple tablet will wait until next year. Let me enjoy the iPad 2 for a while.


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