iPad 2: Five years later, it keeps chugging along

Joel Mathis writes for Macworld, “It’s been five years since I bought a then-brand-new iPad 2, and — unsurprisingly — the machine I bought back then now shows every bit of its age: There are cracks in the bezel, scratches on the back, and the 30-pin syncing/charging cable that it came with has some bare stretches of wire that need some electrical tape, probably sooner than later.”

“Yeah, it might make sense to replace it, trade it in, and flat-out retire it — considering how many iPad models Apple has in its stores today,” Mathis writes. “However, this aging tablet remains one of the most-used pieces of electronic hardware in my household.”

Mathis writes, “Our iPad 2—a basic, 16 GB Wi-Fi-only version, purchased new for $500 in spring 2011 —has proven so useful for so long, that I’ve often wondered if Apple didn’t essentially achieve perfection with its 2nd-generation tablet.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not perfection: That thing is, like all iPads not named 12.9-inch iPad Pro, woefully RAM deficient. And the display could be better. Otherwise, if you’re only using one app at a time, yes, the thing was/is pretty much perfect.

As we wrote almost exactly year ago today:

For an unsubsidized device – contrary to iPhone that turns over every 1-2 years – Apple simply made and continue to make iPads too well for their own good. iPads last and last and last.

Furthermore, as we wrote in February:

Here’s the thing: The iPad saturated its addressable market so quickly and the iPads are so well made and last so damn long that unless Apple provides a really compelling reason to upgrade, most people are just not upgrading yet. We handed off our original iPads to relatives a couple years ago and they’re still being used! Yes, they lack sensors to support many modern iPad games, but they are still in use. We also have immediate family members still using perfectly working iPad 2, iPad 3, and older iPad Air and mini models. The obsolescence cycle for iPad rivals that of the Mac. It’s very long.

The iPad is not a niche product. It had unprecedented uptake and the devices have such long, useful lives that the replacement cycle still hasn’t really kicked in. When it does — and when the macroeconomy improves to the point where users can consider adding the joys of iPad to their computing lives — then we’ll see iPad unit sales growth again. In the meantime, Apple should redouble their efforts at improving iPad – adding Apple Pencil, Smart Connector, and multi-user support (to mention just three things) that will make the iPad even more appealing to buyers.


  1. I had a 16g iPad 2 for years and it served me well. But with newer iOS versions it became increasing sluggish. I saw the new iPad Pro as the perfect opportunity to upgrade, and just have. There was a woman in the Apple Store doing exactly the same upgrade. Couldn’t be more pleased and I think there are a lot more iPad2 upgraders around.

  2. My iPad 2 started having problems a while back. Now I can only use it for a few minutes before the screen goes gray. Apparently, I’m not the only one having this problem. FWIW, I have an iPad 1, 3, and Air that are all still working.

  3. Agreed that the iPad2 is a keeper. Our 32GB model is used by everyone in our household, including my nine-year-old daughter, who uses it as her primary Netflix source. Frankly, I don’t have a compelling reason to upgrade, since the basics we use it for (surfing, email, Netflix) seem to function just fine.

    If I had someone else I could gift the iPad to, I might upgrade. But there’s always something better I can do with $500-$600 than buy a new iPad…

  4. I’m a great example of someone who loves Apple quality and am very thankful for how well built everything is. I continue to love and use my 1st Gen iPad (!), which I bought refurbished from Apple in 2011. I am not easily seduced by all the new apps and capabilities, and use my iPad primarily for reading (iBooks & Kindle primarily), some videos and movies (Netflix runs great on it, as does my iTunes video library), and as a lightweight portable solution for travel (email, occasional web surfing, DropBox, presentations), etc. I’m also still getting tons of use out of my mid-2011 MacBook Air 11″ (also purchased refurbished from Apple), which I upgraded to El Capitan this past Spring, and it runs great. Apple’s TCOO and ROI are simply phenomenal. Financially, I (voluntarily) live a very marginal existence, and am very thankful for this amazing company which takes equally good care of the “little guy” as they do the affluent! Kudos to Apple! Keep up the emphasis on quality!

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