The iPad 2’s Killer Feature Is HD Mirroring

People might be split on whether buying an iPad 2 is a good or bad idea, but there’s no denying it promises some impressive improvements over the original Apple tablet. But the most impressive feature of all comes when you combine the iPad 2 with the new Digital AV Adapter accessory: video mirroring.

The iPad 2 will be able to output a mirror image of whatever is displayed on its screen to a TV, monitor or HD projector connected via the Digital AV Adapter and an HDMI cable. Unlike with the current AV and VGA-out 30-pin connectors, what you can output to an external screen isn’t limited to apps that have the feature enabled. Instead, the new mirroring feature works with all apps, and even with iOS itself, including the iPad’s home screen.

Cord Cutting

AirPlay’s new third-party support may leave some content providers gun-shy about mobile content being accessible to TVs, but Apple’s ensured with video mirroring that users can still get content from the device on to the big screen, no matter what media companies happen to think about that. This is great news for those seeking to cut the cord and leave cable behind. It means all your favorite video-watching apps (Hulu Plus, Netflix(s nflx), Comcast Xfinity(s cmcsa)) will be available for big-screen viewing in a way that is completely location independent. You won’t even need an Apple TV to receive the stream, just an HDMI cable and the adapter.

Presentations

The iPad 2 also has terrific potential for business and education use thanks to the new mirroring feature. Imagine giving presentations that integrate not only a slide deck, list of notes, or a mindmap, but any application available in the App Store. Rich, interactive elements that really illustrate your point, instead of merely adequately representing what you’re talking about, would be easy to set up, especially given the iPad’s multitasking and fast app switching features. And you can be sure we’ll see the introduction of apps specifically created to take advantage of the iPad 2’s presentation power.

Gaming

The iPad is already a good gaming device, and for many, the ability to play those games on a big screen would make it just about perfect. So long as developers come up with innovative control interfaces that allow users to play enjoyably while their tablet is tethered to a TV, there should be few barriers to the iPad 2 becoming both a mobile and a home gaming powerhouse. We’ve already seen devs use iPhones and iPod touches as control devices for iPad games, so we know that good control options are possible.

Computer Enough for Many

Paired with a Bluetooth keyboard, the iPad 2 and the Digital AV Adapter are probably more computer than many users need. People can use the iPad to edit documents, photos (and now even video), to browse the web, manage email and do any number of other everyday computing tasks. Now that you can hook it up to an HDMI-capable monitor, there’s little reason it can’t be the primary device for light users, so long as there’s a machine they can sync with on the few occasions they need to update, backup or restore.

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