Yesterday I stopped by one of the Apple Stores in NYC to check out the iPad 2. It was not as crowded as I had expected, but soon I knew why. They are sold out. Not that I was planning to buy one – at least not now – but I didn’t expect that.

Anyways, after observing a kid that was about 6 years old play with Garage Band using the iPad, I had the try to touch it. I had very recently tried the iPad 1 to be able to compare. My first impressions was that, unlike what many people say, I do not find such a big diference in size or weight when holding it. It is indeed very thin and light, and maybe the first model was a bit bulky, but there is not that much of a difference. However, the rounded edges feel really confortable when holding it.

I did not try it for too long because there was – literally – a line of people behind me waiting to play with it, but I had enough time so check that the display is still great, but with no noticeable improvements from the first model. I did notice the device running faster that the other one and I tried a couple of 3D games that were bright and fast. So, overall, the device is clearly faster and, perhaps not 9x faster as Apple claims, but the graphics are faster too.

I had heard very bad things about the cameras so I tried them. I think that people are exaggerating a bit because the cameras are indeed quite bad but, why would you want better cameras – and hence a more expensive devic – for an iPad. To be sincere, I don’t picture anyone taking the iPad on their weekend trip to the beach in Long Island to take family pictures or document the bonfire party they throw anyways. If the device only had the front camera, I don’t think anyone would miss the back one.

The back camera takes bad pictures, but better than a digital camera 8 years ago and, by that time, nobody complained. The front camera does its job quite well for video chat.

Other than that, there is nothing else new in the new iPad 2. Perhaps the fact that Apple managed to keep the same battery life – 10 hours – and price the device at exactly the same price as the iPad 1 when it was released. Which is, by the way, way cheaper than the “competition” – I don’t think there is any competition… yet – out there.

So,to conclude, the iPad 2 is an amazing device. A toy I am considering to buy, but that does not present any groundbreaing improvements. It looks nice, it feels nice and it is fast. But, if you own an iPad 1, you already own a great piece of technology and I really – really really – suggest you NOT to buy the new one. Also, do NOT buy it if you plan to mainly use it as an eReader. It has so much glare that I could see all the details of the ceiling of the store reflected on the screen and, unless titing it in a specific angle, I could not see anything.

PS: I was really looking forward to try the new cover for the device. It looks so cool on the videos I have seen… Unfortunately, there was not even one of those covers to try. People at Apple, we are many that would like to try it, I think it’d be nice to have a few around the store for potential customers to try, don’t you think?

Check out a very detailed review of the iPad 2 at Engadget.