The iPad 2 is here! (Or, more accurately, will be here March 11!) The new tablet is slimmed down– 1.3 pounds and only 8.8mm wide – and sped up, with a dual-core 1GHz A5 processor that's reportedly twice as fast as the one in the now-obsolete iPad 1.0 you got your dad for Christmas.

 

The gadget also comes with front- and back-facing cameras, new carrier options (Verizon fans rejoice) and, most excitingly, 100% more color choices. (You can get it in white now, to match your MacBook and your iPod.)

 

That's all we've got. What do the experts think?

 

Gizmodo is more impressed than they thought they'd be, calling the iPad 2 "a completely new beast." Jesus Diaz calls it "really pretty," but seems concerned that Apple didn't improve the screen resolution.


New York mag concentrates its attentions not on the iPad 2, but on the figure of Steve Jobs, whose introduction of the gadget – the Apple founder's first public appearance since his medical leave of absence began in January – was greeted with a standing ovation. "If this is what Jobs does during his medical leave," they speculate, "no wonder Apple's board doesn't want to talk about how they'd ever replace him in case of emergency."


Over at TechCrunch, self-described iPad lover MG Siegler is ecstatic. He reports that the slim design makes the iPad 2 "much, much nicer to hold," than the original, more akin to a Nook or a Kindle, and has kind words for the unibody design and the new magnetic covers. Overall, he's buying the Apple line that the iPad is the start of a post-PC era. "The competition is still focusing on specs in Jobs’ mind. Apple is focusing on the total experience."


After playing with the device for a few minutes, Engadget is going crazy over the speed: "This thing is insanely fast. We're not joking – it's blazingly fast. Everything the iPad 2 does feels like it's on turbo."


Techland opines that the upgrade "isn't going to be a must-have purchase for most iPad owners," but could attract owners who were turned off by the original iPad's lack of cameras. The site's pushing hard the "but wait 'til you see the next one!" narrative, speculating that the iPad 3 might knock our collective socks off around Christmas.


What do you think? Buy now, or wait for the next, better version, seemingly always around the corner?