iPad 2: Fast & Skinny But No USB

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) might well be right when it declared 2011 "the year of the iPad 2" at Wednesday's launch in San Francisco but that doesn't mean the swish new tablet has all that every user could possibly want.

You can read about the basic specifications of the tablet here. The CliffsNotes version is that the device is faster, thinner and lighter but hasn't dropped in price any.

Year of the iPad 2?
phpL6Nx8Japple-ipad-2-5432 Crazy horsepower
Better performance thanks to the dual-core A5 processor has some iPad users salivating. Here's what Brian Lynn, Apple Fanboy and Director of Media Production at UBM Studios likes:

"The dual cameras are huge, but the fact that they are supported by a stronger, faster processor makes all the difference. If the dual cameras were on the iPad 1, with the same processor, we'd see lags and crashing, so knowing that I can use FaceTime, augmented reality apps, iMovie, etc., with an A5 processor is great. The dual cameras are my favorite feature, but certainly the A5 processor makes that way more exciting for me."

The iPad 2 is an evolutionary device for Apple, not one that will revolutionize the industry (again). It does, however, include a few revolutionary features. By adding a front-facing camera, Apple just made two-way cameras table stakes for all other tablet makers. It wasn't the first to add the dual cameras, but it will be the one to make them mainstream. The rear-facing camera can record 720p high-definition content at 30 frames per second (fps) with audio, and the front-facing camera records VGA (video graphics array) video at 30fps. And, now it's FaceTime video chat app will work across iPad 2s, iPhone 4s and Macs.

What will also excite a lot of people more than any of the hardware specs is the fact that the iPad 2 also comes in white and can be wrapped in a new thin Smart Cover built specially to protect the device and to double as a stand.

Competitors flummoxed

Out through the indoors
The new HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output on the iPad should allow users to mirror what is on the iPad for watching video, grabbing photos and giving presentations. Eventually, it could allow for a future where the iPad is the main mobile content "godbox" of the household, interfacing with DTVs, set-top boxes and games consoles.

Year of the copycats
php9K9bR2apple-ipad-2-5408 The missing piece in the iPad 2 launch for some, however, may be a simple way to connect to the iPad. Like the earlier version, it still lacks a USB port or memory card input. This means, for instance, that people who want to play their real-life instrument on the new GarageBand app will need to find a way to connect a digital audio interface to the device or stick with the simulations. [Ed note: Anyone know of a Wi-Fi DAW?]

Such simple issues as available connections may be a deciding factor for some. For, even as Apple derides the Android 3.0 Motorola Mobility LLC Xoom tablet as an iPad "copycat," that device does actually have a USB port.

— The Staff, Light Reading Mobile

bennyblanco 12/5/2012 | 5:11:15 PM
re: iPad 2: Fast & Skinny But No USB

I had a similar feeling upon Yesterday's annoucement which turned into a small twitter discussion with a buddy on the subject.

It originally started on how I felt the udpated design missed by not including built in HDMI connector. I didn't like the dongle solution. Sure, charge the $40 more, but have it built into the device, not a dangling extra add-on solution. Not ideal.

Unfortunately, the way the casing has been engineered with bevels/curves, obviously does not lend itself to tucking in a USB or HDMI connector inline. 

Further, exploring more of the Airplay capabilities on other apps could be cooler than even having a physical cable plugged in. I'd rather be able to 'Airplay' my apps's display to an Apple TV.


Finally, having a built in USB has been a sore subject for many muscians with all the Music Making apps available. Having to purchase additional dongles or connections kits to plug in these Controller devices for Input is the only method available. It's not the most elegant clean Apple way to go about it.


bennyblanco 12/5/2012 | 5:11:15 PM
re: iPad 2: Fast & Skinny But No USB

MIDI over wifi is a great in concept and is beginning to see the light of day. Mainly, where the iPad acts as a controller and inputs into a Mac DAW (digital audio workstation) of choice to control mixer, remote (start/stop/record) and plug in features.

We still may want the ability to have a physical connection where we want to hook up traditional 'old school' MIDI devices like old synthesizers and drum machines to the iOS device to sequence with and keep the retro hardware synched in time to a running app on the iOS device. This could provide a whole new simplified setup in terms of performance and even portable recording for that matter. 

I'd particularly love to have a hybrid studio situation of iPad, Apps, Mac with DAW software and drum machines and 303's connected together in a fluid way.

It's just not there yet, but it could be....

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:11:15 PM
re: iPad 2: Fast & Skinny But No USB

Thanks for an informative post!


I did some checking and MIDI over WiFi might offer relief for some in the future, most likely keyboardists and electronica types.

Gotta imagine Apple can make some extra pocket money with outboard connector cables though.

bennyblanco 12/5/2012 | 5:11:09 PM
re: iPad 2: Fast & Skinny But No USB

I'm not sure exactly what you are getting at here WI-FI DAW'.

But, I know you can control some traditional DAWs with various Remote apps across many popular DAWs wirelessly.

Apps like TouchOSC with LiveControl Server and Touch-Able with it's server App both control Ableton Live completely wirelessly.



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