It’s today! Legions of geeks will be waiting in line here in Canada to get their hands on the iPad 2 today, and let’s face it, the latest installment in the Apple catalogue of goodness looks pretty awesome and has caught the attention of just about everyone (including my geekling who has declared that he should really get his own for his 5th birthday – um, ya, right).

If you haven’t had a chance to get your hands on an iPad to try it out, you really should. It’s one of those things that we had given to us and thought we would never use but has become a staple in our house. It’s intuitive, sexy, and incredibly useful, and I know some people would argue that it is the *it* gadget of our generation. I wasn’t sure how they would possibly improve on it – but wouldn’t you know, they did.

Improved Thickness

Somehow Apple managed to put the first iPad on a diet, and took off some size which makes it slimmer. To be honest, I didn’t have a problem with the thickness of the original, especially in comparison to my laptop which is my other usual take along, but anytime you can make something slimmer it just adds to the sexy factor.

Faster Speed
A5 processor.  I don’t think it’s going to be fast enough to run super high intensity video games, but it is two times faster than the CPU that was on the original iPad, and for day to day use it’s been more than enough for us.

Cheese … there’s a Camera
Umm, hello? This sexy beast has a front and rear camera?! Once of the only things I thought was missing from the original iPad was the camera so we could video conference when one of us was away, but now with the built in camera that becomes possible. I can’t wait to see the apps that take advantage of using the front and back cameras at the same time.

There have been reviews that have said that the camera quality is less than stellar, and doesn’t do so well in low light conditions, so although it’s perfect for using Face Time for conferencing, don’t count on this iPad to be your only picture taking device if you’re out and about.

Battery Life
I get about 6 hours video play time on my iPad. The iPad2 however can do a solid 10 hours of video playback before it needs a recharge.

Smart Cover
After being told our whole lives to keep magnets away from our electronics, Apple has built in magnets so that the cover can latch on and protect the screen. Perfect for ladies like me who throw their gear into their purses.  The new case can position in many different ways which is a great improvement on the case for the original.

Should you get the old or new iPad?

It’s really a personal choice. If you’re new to iPad, being budget conscious, and going to use it more for video and apps, I’d stick with the first generation iPad to start. It’s cheaper, will do what you need it to, and there are dozens of accessories (and cheaper knock off’s) available. If you want to start taking advantage of Apple’s Facetime and be ready to use the apps that will take advantage of the dual camera I’d go with the new one.

All this said, we have an iPad and I still can’t wait to get an iPad2. Like, I really really really can’t wait to get one. Too bad my birthday is 9 months away (hint hint GeekDad.)