The iPad 2 crams a massive amount of computing power into a very small space. Consider that it has not one, but two cameras, up to 64 gigabytes of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G cellular wireless capability, a 1-gigahertz, dual-core processor (Apple's custom-made A5) and a high-definition display screen ... all in a wafer-thin (0.34 inches, or 8.64 millimeters) container with dimensions smaller than a standard size sheet of paper (9.5 inches tall by 7.31 inches wide, or 24.13 by 18.57 centimeters).
But it does have some limits, as posters to many a forum dedicated to Apple products have attested. When it comes to multitasking, the chief complaint seems to be the amount of on-board memory available to run several tasks at once.
For example, the highly popular game Angry Birds, with its addictive physics-based destruction of pig fortifications, can have trouble running simultaneously with other programs, according to some user reports [source: Caolo].
In some cases, the iPad 2 has even been crashed running just one resource-intensive application at a time, like the tablet version of Apple's GarageBand music-composing software.
Apple "only" equipped the iPad 2 with 512MB of random access memory (RAM) -- many reviewers of the device have said 1GB would have been more appropriate.
Lesson: don't be surprised if an app shuts itself down from time to time or requires a device (gasp) reboot. Typically it's not cause to panic, but rather a limitation (for now) of the hardware.
Just because you can multitask on the iPad 2, similar to the way you can on a laptop or desktop computer, should you? Will it actually help you to get more done, faster? For the lowdown on getting a productivity leg up while computing, click to the next page.