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Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

First Look: Apple's iPad 2


Sporty handling through tight corners

The rounded edges mean that the Dock connector and headphone jack both leave an exposed edge of the jack exposed, but they're still compatible with standard headphones and Dock connector cables, even the original iPad Dock, despite the new shape.

While the exposed margin looks a little alarming, both headphone jacks and Dock connector cables plug deeply enough into the unit to prevent either from extorting a significant risk of bending.

Even the partially exposed Dock connector cable (middle photo, below) exhibits no tendency to pry upward and bust off the delicate internal connector, largely because the edge of the connector fits into the port enough to offset the force of any leverage.

There's also no play or looseness evident when using Docks designed for the original iPad.

AI iPad First Look

AI iPad First Look

AI iPad First Look


The speaker grille has has also been updated to fit the slim new profile. The wake button, volume controls and screen orientation/mute switch are also integrated into the rounded edge, and have a natural, comfortable feel that appears more than capable of handling normal wear and tear.

AI iPad First Look

AI iPad First Look

AI iPad First Look


Face down, as up

Face down, the new iPad looks to be about the same thickness as the square edge of the previous model (and iPhone 4), but its actually considerably thinner, as is evident from the slant of the phone when laid across the back of both models.

AI iPad First Look


Laying on their backs, the difference in thickness is even more pronounced, with the original model appearing to levitate—or beginning where the new model stops. The thin new body doesn't feel fragile or flexible, however. It's rigid and solid, with no flex at all, tight seams, and a substantial feel, despite being light enough to lack the fatigue-inducing weight of the original model when held like a book for extended periods.

AI iPad First Look


On page 3 of 3: Smarter cover; Stand up, lie down.