iPad® 1 was a revolutionary product. For most medical provider users, it was the best hardware available for mobile healthcare computing. Now, Apple® has released the next version just before the iPad’s® first birthday! However, before we get to our iPad 2® review, let’s explore a little bit about our history with the iPad®.

MediTouch EHR®‘s history with the iPad® goes back to one year prior to the iPad® 1 release, so for our company, this is begins our third year of engineering the best EHR product for use with the iPad®. Back in March 2009, we heard that Apple was going to make a new product, a mobile tablet. That’s all we knew, but we were confident in Apple’s® ability to create a revolutionary new device. We guessed that it would be like a large iPhone®, and we started testing with Apple’s® mobile browser. On the first day iPad® 1 was released, MediTouch® was iPad®-compliant!

I just got my hands on the new iPad 2®, and there are many new “cool” features, but for our purposes, the question is, “What new features will impact the user experience with MediTouch EHR?” For a full review of the iPad 2®, see David Pogue’s (New York Times) or Walt Mossberg’s (Wall Street Journal) reviews.

New Processor and More RAM
Some users compare the speed of the iPad® browsing experience to a traditional computer and find the experience slower. The truth is that the iPad® 1 does render pages slower than most desktop or laptop computers. For iPad 2®, Apple® has made three changes that could improve the user’s Web browsing experience. Apple has upgraded the processor to their new dual core A5 processor, doubled the amount of RAM, and then they upgraded the Safari Web Browser software. The Safari Browser upgrade is part of an upgrade to the iPad® operating system. The new operating system is available to all iPad® 1 users also, and I expect the next time you try to sync your iPad®, you will be prompted to upgrade to the new operating system.

The newest standards for Web browsers are based on the latest version of HTML called HTML5. When creating Web applications, our engineers program to the latest standards and expect the latest browser software to comply with the standard. The latest iPad® Safari browser does not disappoint — it is compliant with the latest standards. From a speed perspective, the combination of the new hardware and upgraded software makes the iPad 2® a clear winner with regard to mobile browser speed. A company called Sencha compared the speed of the iPad 2® to the iPad® 1, the Samsung Galaxy Tab™ and the Motorola Xoom™ tablet computers — see the scorecard below (source: Sencha.com):

iPad 2 Speed Test (Source: Sencha.com)

In general, the iPad 2® wins the speed war. We also tested MediTouch on the iPad® 1 running the new 4.3 OS against the iPad 2® running the same OS, and MediTouch pages loaded faster on the iPad 2®. Without special testing equipment, most MediTouch customers and users that try the iPad 2® and compare it to the iPad® 1 will notice the improved browsing speed of the iPad 2®. We compared the iPad 2® browsing speed to desktop computers, and the iPad 2® is still slower than the latest desktop computers, but faster than some older desktops.

Rear Facing Camera
Now, you can take pictures on the iPad 2® and send those pictures via email. The pictures are of a high enough quality such that they are appropriate to use for documentation of medical conditions (as in the case of a rash or laceration). Wouldn’t be great if you could email those pictures directly to a patient chart? Stay tuned!

If you don’t have an iPad® and you want one, soon your only choice will be the iPad 2®, as iPad® 1 inventories will soon be exhausted. For folks that own the iPad® 1 and want a faster browsing experience and a camera to take photos that could assist in documentation, upgrading to iPad 2® may make sense.

I am sure there is an employee, child, spouse or friend that would gladly take that iPad® 1 hand-me-down!