Apple’s second version of the iPad is thinner, lighter and faster, but it’s no top-to-bottom overhaul. The interface is still the same. There’s no retina display like there is on the iPhone 4. There’s no rumored suite of cloud-based services that could come to rival companies like Spotify or even Facebook’s social graph.
The front- and back-facing cameras feel like additions that were purposefully withheld from the original iPad to give consumers something to upgrade to the following year.
So what can developers do this year that they couldn’t in the last one? A couple additions make for some interesting possibilities:
Gyroscope: This is probably the most significant change for game developers. The gyroscope, which provides greater precision in understanding the iPad’s orientation, is going to make for much more responsive games. Apps like Etch-A-Sketch or the chart-topping Bowmaster HD (which we reviewed yesterday) will certainly benefit from this. One of the best titles on the iPhone 4 that’s made use of the gyroscope is ngmoco:)’s Gun Range, which lets players shoot at targets hiding in a derelict building. It uses it for aiming and we could certainly imagine a tablet-sized version of this.
Front-facing camera: Could the iPad 2’s front-facing camera resurrect ChatRoulette?
Who knows, but it’s likely to spawn a wave of interesting video and photo apps. PiVi & Co has made a veritable empire out vanity apps that make users look fat, old or bald through Fatbooth and Baldbooth. Another company DailyBooth lets users share photos of themselves every day. The larger interface on the iPad will probably let both give users more options to customize photos of themselves.
Augmented Reality: In some ways, you could arguably say that the iPad might be a better device for augmented reality applications than the iPhone. With a much bigger display, an application could overlay a more detailed layer of data over a live video feed. An augmented reality care-taking game might be more fun to play in your living room on the iPad than on the iPhone.
Faster speed, improved graphics: Apple claims that the iPad 2’s dual-core A5 chip should allow consumers to do twice as much on the device and see graphic performance that’s nine times better. This should be a boost to developers creating more console-like experiences or who rely on powerful engines like Unreal 3.