Apple iPad 2 by Apple - Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services
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Apple iPad 2 by Apple


Reviewed on September 2nd, 2011

By Beau Bedore, SLP, Carmen DiGiovine, PhD & Richard M. Schein, PhD

The iPad 2 is a tablet computer with a Multi-touch screen. The standard configuration includes apps for accessing the internet, email, electronic books, music, videos, maps, contacts and appointments. The iPad 2 operating system (known as iOS) includes specific accessibility features which include support for playback of closed-captioned content, screen reader, magnifier, white on black display, and mono audio output. Numerous free and fee-based apps are available for the iPad 2. These include apps designed specifically to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities as well as mainstream apps that can be customized to meet the unique needs of individuals with disabilities. The apps most appropriate for the population of individuals with cognitive disabilities are found under the education, medical and productivity categories of the iTunes app store. For the purposes of the review, we are focusing on the hardware and the apps that come with the standard configuration, though we provide examples of interesting apps.

The iPad 2 is a very flexible system with the potential to function as a communication device and a cognitive device. However, given that it is not a dedicated device, it requires significant set-up, configuration, customization and training on the part of the clinical staff to ensure it meets the needs of the Veteran with a cognitive disability. This includes the selection and set-up of the appropriate apps. Critical to the successful utilization of the device are the individuals' functional capabilities pre and post-injury, including fine motor control and dexterity, attitudes toward the device, and motivational characteristics.

Similar to the iPod Touch, the iPad 2 is not designed specifically as a device for individuals with cognitive and/or physical disabilities. The iPad 2 has significant limitations in terms of application to meet the functional requirements of these individuals.

In terms of physical layout, the system utilizes "virtual" buttons and a "virtual" keyboard on a touch screen. The buttons cannot be resized, and the keyboard has only 2 sizes. Furthermore the system does not provide tactile feedback. This can limit the effectiveness of the system for individuals with limited fine motor control.

In terms of features for individuals with cognitive impairments, the system does not include any "artificial intelligence" features to re-direct the individual (i.e. re-planning) if they do not complete each instruction in sequence when performing an activity. The system does not have a sleep feature, and does not provide constant reminders until the "alarm" is turned off. Finally, and potentially most importantly, the system does not provide a simple interface as a distributed system, which would allow caregivers and rehabilitation professionals to easily interact with the scheduling, reminders, and task management systems. A distributed system can be created, for example through a Microsoft exchange account, a MobileMe account, or via syncing with the host computer, but they are not turn-key solutions, and create an added level of difficulty for a device that is being utilized to reduce the complexity for specific daily tasks.

Based on the feature set, the device could be considered for individuals who only need activity planning via a text-based system and prospective memory without constant reminders. This includes individuals with mild cognitive impairments (i.e., mild traumatic brain injury). The iPad 2 is not recommended for individuals who require distributed systems, interactive task guidance or adaptive planning. Finally, the system is not recommended for individuals who require a tactile keyboard and have difficulty with a dynamic display.

A comprehensive review of the iPad 2 follows below:

  1. Affordability: The iPad 2 costs the same as the original iPad; however, with the iPad 2 there are now 18 different versions with regard to storage sizes, color, and carrier options for the 3G models. The original iPad came in six different variations – Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi/3G versions, each available with 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB of storage. With the iPad 2, the storage variation remains the same: every model is available in 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB capacities, but now you can also choose an iPad with either a traditional black bezel or a new white bezel. Additionally, the iPad 2 comes in a Wi-Fi only version as well as two separate Wi-Fi/3G versions: one compatible with AT&T's GSM-based cellular network, and a different one compatible with Verizon's CDMA-based network. (The iPad 2 won't work on T-Mobile or Sprint.) The base-model Wi-Fi editions cost $499 (16 GB), $599 (32 GB), and $699 (64 GB). The Wi-Fi/3G models cost $130 more than the Wi-Fi only versions: $629 (16 GB), $729 (32 GB), and $829 (64 GB). The extra cost of the 3G model does NOT include the cost of 3G access, it only covers the cost of the extra 3G hardware. You still need to buy a 3G data plan.

    You can't just get a 3G-enabled iPad 2 to use across both carriers. You have to decide which carrier you want service from at the time of purchase. The plans on both Verizon and AT&T are offered on a no-contract, month-to-month basis. Neither AT&T nor Verizon charge activation fees for iPad data plans. That means you can sign up for a month, cancel the plan afterwards, and then sign up for a separate month at some point in the future with no activation fees. AT&T offers both prepaid and postpaid options for data plans; Verizon only allows you to pay for data upfront. AT&T offers two data plans: You can pay $15 a month for 250 MB of data, or $25 a month for 2 GB of data. While AT&T's plans top out at 2 GB of data, Verizon offers more data plan options at a number of price points: You can pay $20 for 1 GB of data, $35 a month for 3 GB of data, $50 a month for 5 GB of data, and $80 a month for 10 GB of data. On the low end, AT&T does best Verizon by $5 per month for 250 MB of data. Ultimately, Verizon offers a more affordable data plan ladder to climb if you think your wireless usage cold increase over time.

  2. Compatibility: To use iPad, you need a Mac or a PC with a USB 2.0 port and one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X version 10.5.8 or later; Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP Home or Professional with Service Pack 3 or later. You also need iTunes 10.2 or later (available at www.itunes.com/download), an Apple ID, and Broadband Internet access. NOTE: When iOS 5 (Apple's mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) arrives this fall, you will no longer need to tether the iPad 2 to a Mac or PC during its initial setup, when syncing the device, or when obtaining software updates; you will be able to handle all of those actions from the device itself. A new iTunes Sync section in the Settings app will display your device's current sync status. Apple says that you can only sync with iTunes wirelessly so long as your iOS device is currently charging.

  3. Consumer Reparability: The iPad User Guide (available as a free download at help.apple.com/iPad/mobile/interface/) contains a helpful section entitled Tips and Troubleshooting. Apple also offers an "Apple Care Plan" and in-store service provided at the genius bar at any authorized Apple Store.
  4. Dependability: Like the original, the iPad 2 provides up to 10 hours of battery life; however, the iPad 2 uses a new Apple-designed processor called the A5. The A5 is a dual-core version of the 1GHz A4 chip that powers the iPhone 4 and the original iPad. The iPad 2 also has 512 MB of RAM—twice that of the original iPad—and a 200MHz bus speed—again, twice that of the original. Because the A5 is a dual-core processor, the iPad 2 can run at speeds up to double that of the original iPad. The iPad responds quickly and smoothly to the movement of fingers on the screen. The iOS operating system on the iPad offers the same stable, consistent user interface available on Apple's other mobile devices like the iPhone and iPod Touch. iOS 5, the new mobile operating system available this fall, will support the same devices as iOS 4.3—the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, the iPad and iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod Touch. iOS 5 will be free upon release and will not cost the user a cent.
  5. Durability: The iPad 2 weighs just 1.33 pounds for the Wi-Fi only version, and 1.34 and 1.35 for the AT&T and Verizon 3G versions respectively. Apple shaved .17 pound off the Wi-Fi version and .26 to .27 pound off the 3G version. The iPad 2 is also .16 inch narrower, .06 inch shorter, and .16 inch thinner than the original iPad. The iPad 2 is roughly two-thirds of the thickness of the original iPad, and 88 percent of its weight (83 percent when comparing 3G models). The difference between the original iPad and the iPad 2 is noticeable right away when you pick it up. The iPad 2 is a lighter, thinner device. As result of these changes, the iPad 2 is easier to handle than the original model and yet every bit as durable. It is designed to be held and carried. And it still feels solid. In fact, the iPad 2 is easier to carry with one hand, and the decreased weight makes it easier to hold for longer periods of time. With the iPad 2, Apple released the Smart Cover, which magnetically adheres to the side of the iPad 2 and protects the front, locking and unlocking the iPad when you open and close the cover. The Smart Cover protects the glass screen, but leaves the back of the device exposed. A variety of new commercially available iPad 2 cases can help protect your device and there are several models now that work in conjunction with the Smart Cover. Like the original, the iPad 2's screen has an oil-repellent coating and can be cleaned easily to remove fingerprints using a sleeve or a microfiber cloth.
  6. Ease of Assembly: Like the original, before you can use the iPad 2, you must use iTunes to set it up. You can also register iPad and create an iTunes Store account if you don't already have one. To set up iPad: 1) Download and install the latest version of iTunes from www.itunes.com/download. 2) Connect iPad to a USB 2.0 port on your Mac or PC using the cable that came with iPad. 3) Follow the onscreen instructions in iTunes to register iPad and sync iPad with music, video, and other content from your iTunes library, and with your contacts, calendars, and bookmarks on your computer. The iPad comes with 2 accessories: 1) A 10W USB power adapter (use the 10W USB power adapter to provide power to iPad and charge the battery). 2) Dock Connector to USB Cable (use this cable to connect iPad to your computer to sync, or to the 10W USB power adapter to charge. Use the cable with the optional iPad Dock or iPad Keyboard Dock, or plug it directly into iPad). REMINDER: When iOS 5 arrives this fall, you will no longer need to tether the iPad 2 to a Mac or PC during its initial setup, when syncing the device, or when obtaining software updates; you will be able to handle all of those actions from the device itself.
  7. Ease of Maintenance: The battery icon in the upper-right corner of the status bar shows the battery level or charging status. The best way to charge the iPad battery is to connect iPad to a power outlet using the included Dock Connector to USB Cable and 10W USB power adapter. Like the original, the iPad 2 uses a lithium-ion battery. Information about maximizing the lifespan and battery life of the iPad can be found at www.apple.com/batteries
  8. Effectiveness: Similar to the iPod Touch, the effectiveness is highly dependent on the proper configuration and training. The iPad is configurable to meet each individual's unique requirements assuming a trained professional with experience in cognitive devices is available to aid in the proper set-up. However, out-of-the-box, and without any assistance, the device can be very confusing and ineffective. A unique feature of the device is the home button, which can be activated at any time to bring the user back to the home screen. Therefore, this can make the device very effective for individuals with cognitive disabilities, as they only have to remember a single button if they get "lost" in any single application. A clinician can monitor effectiveness by asking the user to take screen shots (pictures of the screen) while using the device. This can also be used to aid in troubleshooting, as the user can take screen shots of problems to share with the therapist later. The screen-shot feature requires significant timing and fine motor skills, as the individual must simultaneously activate the home and off keys. This goes above and beyond those required for data entry and navigation. Also, the individual must remember that this feature is available, as cues do not exist via the applications on the Home screen.
  9. Flexibility: The software platform (iOS and apps) is extremely flexible in the sense that a variety of apps can be loaded onto the device to suit the individual's needs. There are also some accessibility features, which can be customized. The flexibility can aid in matching the features of the device to the individual, but can also create significant issues when the changes are made to the standard configuration. Flexibility is somewhat reduced because the device itself (underlying any apps) is strongly controlled by the manufacturer.
  10. Learnability: The amount of effort required to learn the iPad 2 is consistent with other consumer electronic devices. Given the flexibility of the system, and appropriate training opportunities, the potential exists to introduce various apps over an extended period. Given the fact that this is a general market device, help can be obtained from other consumers.
  11. Operability: The display and controls are easily accessible and usable for the majority of individuals. Data entry can be very difficult given that the iPad 2 utilizes virtual keys on the display, thereby negating tactile feedback that can be found in other consumer electronic devices. Though the operating system utilizes word completion to compensate for accidental keyboard hits, this feature can become confusing, and generate inaccurate spellings for words within the custom dictionary. The turn-on/ turn-off cycle is extremely easy for this device. The layout of the screen is customizable by pressing and holding any icon on the screen. This causes the icons to "wiggle", and then it is possible to rearrange the individual icons on the screen. However, if an individual accidentally enters this mode (by pressing too long), it can become very confusing, because they will not be able to access any of the applications until the individual taps the "Home" button. On the other hand, there is very little tactile feedback related to pressing buttons; which may reduce operability for some users.
  12. Personal Acceptability: Given the broad acceptability of the iPad 2 in the consumer market, the personal acceptability of the device is extremely high.
  13. Physical Comfort: One of the biggest challenges in using the iPad has to do with ergonomics: Where do you put it, and can you see and touch the screen comfortably from there? The laptop has two separate planes, one that sits on your lap (or desk), and another that faces you. The iPad 2 has only the one plane, which makes things trickier. In some positions on a couch or in bed, the iPad can feel uncomfortable until you find a position that works for you. For many people, an iPad case—which you can use to prop up the tablet at a comfortable viewing angle—will be a must. Reading is easier with the iPad 2 as it is lighter easier to hold for longer periods of time. It's important to find a comfortable posture when using iPad and to take frequent breaks, if necessary.
  14. Physical Security: The device is not likely to cause physical harm to the individual.
  15. Portability: The iPad 2 is even more portable than the original. The multi-touch screen itself measures 9.7 inches diagonally, with a resolution of 1024 by 768 pixels, and weighs just a 1.33 pounds. The screen is extremely bright, with vibrant color and a wide viewing angle, and a backlit LED display that is great for reading e-books. The iPad's software keyboard is very usable, although not as good as a hardware keyboard. (Apple offers a $69 iPad Keyboard Dock as well as a Bluetooth wireless keyboard.) When you turn the iPad 2 on its side (in landscape mode), the onscreen keyboard isn't quite the size of a real one, but it's big enough that you can place both hands on it—making typing more efficient and easier. With a bit of practice, one can type on screen with both hands and at a decent pace. You wouldn't want to use just the software keyboard to compose a long document, but it's fine for short hand notes. Apple's Keyboard Dock and several Bluetooth keyboards all work well with the iPad. The iPad 2 is the perfect go-between your laptop and desktop. NOTE: With the release of iOS 5, Apple will introduce a split keyboard for the iPad to make typing on the device easier. To get the split keyboard on the iPad screen, the user simply places two fingers on the keyboard and moves them outwards (a new touch gesture) to split the keyboard in half. This keyboard makes it easy to type with your thumbs on the iPad for users who are accustomed to typing and text messaging on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
  16. Securability: The device is not very securable and definitely has the potential for loss or theft. The device has a pass code option to protect data, but then requires that the user enter the pass code on a regular basis, which creates an additional challenge for many individuals with a cognitive impairment.
  17. Supplier Reparability: Numerous options exist for reparability of the system given that it is designed for the consumer market. These include the Apple support (i.e. website, email, phone, or store), various blogs and discussion groups, and third-party websites. Apps designed specifically for assistive technology applications may not have as many service options; phone and/or e-mail technical support are typically available from the distributers of the app, and availability will vary.

 

Comparison to original iPad:

Steve Jobs has called the iPad, "the most successful consumer product ever launched." In the first 9 months at market, Apple sold over 15 million iPads and created a whole new category of technology product. The massive success of the iPad cannot be overstated; it has been embraced by kids and the elderly alike the world over. The iPad has been deployed across all sectors of business and has already established a presence in education, healthcare, and retail. Considering its universal appeal, it's hard to believe that a year ago nobody had an iPad. Building on this success, Apple released the iPad 2.

This review has highlighted several of the distinguishing features between the original iPad and the iPad 2. Overall, the iPad 2 is a definite improvement over its predecessor: it's faster, lighter, thinner, and easier to handle. In addition to the improvements already mentioned, Apple has added both front- and rear-facing cameras to the iPad 2, which are essentially the same as those in the fourth-generation iPod Touch. The cameras are useful, but they're not particularly impressive in terms of quality. The front-facing camera is the same one used in the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch and offers only VGA resolution (640 by 480 pixels). The image quality is grainy in low-light settings, but is perfectly functional for its intended purpose, which is video chat. The iPad 2 works with Apple's FaceTime software, which allows for video chat between Apple's mobile iOS devices. FaceTime works on the iPad 2 much like it works on the iPod Touch; in the Settings app you log in with an Apple ID and set an e-mail address to use as your FaceTime "number," so people can call you. From the FaceTime app, you can call people in your contacts list and set favorites; however, FaceTime is supported only over Wi-Fi connections. The rear camera on the iPad 2 is identical to the one found on the iPod Touch. This camera is capable of shooting 720p HD video and the quality is good in well-lit environments.

Before deciding to upgrade to the iPad 2, keep in mind that you will likely have to invest in new accessories. If you've already purchased a dock or case for the original iPad, realize that these accessories probably won't work with the iPad 2. One accessory to consider, however, is Apple's Digital AV Adapter, which gives the iPad 2 the ability to output HD video and mirror its own screen. The iPad 2 features support for HDTVs and HD video. With this adapter, the iPad 2 can output high-definition video at resolutions up to 1080p, as well as Dolby Digital surround sound via a standard HDMI cable. Also, when connected to the HDMI adapter, the iPad 2 will display a duplicate version of the contents on its screen on an external monitor. This feature is great for demonstrating how to use apps in a classroom or clinical setting via a projector or HDTV.

Ultimately, before deciding to upgrade to the iPad 2, recognize that the iPad 2 is an evolutionary product, not a revolutionary one: Apple introduces new features with every iteration of its devices. Apple also delivers new iterations of its products according to a predictable production schedule, which means that by this time next year the iPad 3 will already be at market. The 2nd generation iPad looks very much like the original iPad, but clearly raises the bar apple set a year ago. If you avoided the early adopter rush to purchase an iPad last year, then the iPad 2 just might be the device for you. Still, if you're happy with your current iPad, you are likely better off waiting for the 3rd generation.

 

1

2

3

4

5

Not satisfied at all

Not very satisfied

More or less satisfied

Quite Satisfied

Very Satisfied

 

Affordability

4

Compatibility

3

Consumer Reparability

3

Dependability

5

Durability

2

Ease of Assembly

2

Ease of Maintenance

3

Effectiveness

4

Flexibility

5

Learnability

3

Operability

2

Personal acceptability

5

Physical Comfort

5

Physical Security

5

Portability

5

Securability

1

Supplier Reparability

2

   

Average

3.5