One of the major criticisms of the original iPad was its lack of peripheral ports. Apart from the standard 30-pin Apple port and a USB cable, you didn’t get anything else and there was little else you could plug in – no USB ports, no flash card readers, no video output ports.
The iPad 2 is no different. While the chassis itself is thinner and lighter than the original version, there are still no peripheral ports.
However, there are ways to overcome some of those issues.
The iPad Camera Connection Kit is a $AUD39 ($29 in the US) bundle of two adapters – one provides a USB port, the other an SD card reader. While the SD card reader is useful, the USB port adapter is not a generic port – basically, it only supports digital cameras or the iPhone 4 (it won’t even work with the iPhone 3G).
The Camera Connection Kit is available now from the Apple store and works on the original iPad as well as the new iPad 2.
Apple has also ways been reasonably good in providing video output options for its devices going right back to the iPod nano. And although the original iPad offered analog video output in the form of composite or component video adapter cables, the device has been crying out for an HDMI port.
With the iPad 2′s ability to playback full-motion 1080p (1920×1080-pixel), Apple appears to have decided now was the right time to bring HDMI not only to the iPad 2, but also the original iPad, iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod Touch.
Since the iPad 2 is yet to be released in Australia, the Digital AV Adapter is still not available. But we expect it to appear on the Apple Australia website this Friday with a likely price of $39.
Traditional analog video cables are already supported and available that will allow you to plug your iPad 2 into an existing TV although the HDMI option would be ideal if you have a big-(or small) screen TV with a spare HDMI input.
What’s unfortunate about all of this is that none of these ports are built into the device itself.
Apple will be spruiking the iPad 2′s super-thin frame and in fact, the frame is basically too thin to house these larger connectors. But at what point does “thin” become “too thin”? Is it when you have to keep tabs of the adapter cables?
This is unlikely to be a dealbreaker for many and the fact the iPad 2 will come with its lightweight design will attract users who want to use it as a tablet, rather than as a glorified video player. But with the USB power-charge cable, Camera Connection Kit, analog video adapter and digital AV adapters, the number of extra cables to keep an eye on could quickly add up.