Big Brother's Little Brother: London queues for iPad 2

Hitting the high streets at 5pm on Friday, 25th March, London iPad 2 stocks were sold out in Regent Street, Oxford Circus and Covent Garden Apple Stores by Saturday at lunchtime.

Slimmer, lighter and faster than the original iPad, the second generation tablet costs between £399 and £659, depending on specifications.

At £399, the starting model has 16 gigabytes of internal memory without a 3G wireless network connection. At £659, the top of the range model has an internal memory of 64 gigabytes and 3G.

With rounded edges, the iPad 2 is more comfortable to hold than its predecessor; it has two cameras but these don't live up to the overall quality of Apple's best-selling product. The cameras answer a consumer demand but critics would hope for an improvement in future models.

Apple's updated operating system, iOS 4.3 makes web browsing, switching between pages and loading apps more efficient than before; on the down side, the browser doesn't support Flash. While the iPad 2 is light and portable, the LCD screen will still have a glare in sunlit conditions.

A much talked about Smart Cover was developed to accompany the iPad 2. The polyurethane version is £35 in the UK and the Italian leather version is £59. Available in a range of colours, the Smart Cover has built in magnets to make it a perfect fit; it also folds at different angles to act as an upright stand for watching movies or at a tilt for typing.

Perfect for watching movies, reading e-books, browsing and gaming, writers might still prefer the full keyboard of a Netbook to the touch keyboard of a tablet.

IPad 2 is recognised as making a good product better and Apple is the leader in the tablet market, dominating 80% of the market in the United States. Google's Motorola Xoom however, is giving the iPad some competition and has been welcomed by US critics as a realistic alternative.

Based on Google's increasingly popular Android operating system, the Xoom runs on version 3.0 Honeycomb. The Motorola Xoom is due to be released in the UK in April 2011. Priced at £499.99, it will be interesting to see how hip and happening London reacts to the Xoom following the frenzy over the tried and trusted iPad.


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