I think what confused me was that before Apple made the change to using the hardware switch for mute on the iPad, if you turned the volume all the way down, everything went silent. After the change, that is no longer the case; you need to engage the mute switch to silence everything.
I expected the functionality to be like before, but it's not. Now I understand. Still weird, though.
A few notes about my new iPad2. I love it and there is no way you could pry it out of my cold, dead hands, though I am surprised at a few shortcomings.
- The Smart Cover is really cool, but also adds bulk and weight that makes it hard to hold. In addition, the metal attaching strip digs into your hand. Finally, the magnet on the opposite edge, that holds it against the device, isn't that strong, so the cover is always peeling away from the back while I'm holding it. That means I have to pay more attention to how I hold it in order for it to not be uncomfortable. At least it's easy to detach and reattach, so when it gets bothersome, I just yank it off. God, that's so cool.
- Smart Cover aside, the feel and thickness is much improved. It may not be that much lighter (1.3 vs 1.5 lbs.) but the changes to the shape at the edges makes it feel much more like one of those tablets from Star Trek. It still feels sturdy, just thinner and not as bulky.
- The new speaker "grille" makes it harder to accidentally muffle the speaker while holding the device. Even with my hand fully covering it, I could barely perceive a difference in volume. Compare that with the original where holding the device in one particular orientation virtually guaranteed muting.
- Maybe this isn't something unique to the iPad2 (I didn't update my original iPad to 4.3), but when i set the pref to make the hardware switch be an orientation lock, there is now no way to mute the sounds on the device. Even turning the volume all the way down doesn't help. Sure, music and videos are silent, but the UI sounds like typing on the keyboard or locking the device are still audible. Lame.
- Everything feels so smooth, there is virtually no jank anywhere in the UI. The extra RAM helps, I'm sure. It really is a pleasure to use because every action and reaction feels instantaneous, even more so than previous hardware.
- Strangely, when I first synced, about half of my apps decided they didn't want to come over to the new device. I had to go and manually check them and then drag them back to their previous locations. I didn't seem to lose any data, but it was still annoying, and there seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to which apps didn't make the cut.
- Another compliant related to "device-switching", when you have samples in your iBooks library, they don't get backed up or transferred to your new device. Samples on Amazon get transferred, why won't iBooks do the same?
- Battery life seems fine to me, no real surprise there.
- I should probably devote an entire blog entry to GarageBand, but I wanted to say something while I was on a roll. Even on the original iPad, it's awesome. Buy it now. The level of innovation, polish, coolness, and fun is only surpassed by its $5 price tag. Plus it has a multi-track recorder, something that's a $15 add-on to some music apps, and dedicated apps sell for as high as $40 -- for an iPad app! The "smart instruments" are great, even if you can play the instrument already. In fact, is almost better if you can because you get an amazing amount of control over something you would expect to be dumbed down for a novice. I was impressed.
I'm sure I'll have more comments as I use it even more.
(written on my iPad2 with iA Writer)