We know that iPad 2 performance is higher than the performance of the original iPad (Safari, Games, etc).

But whether iPad 2 user experience is better in opening and reading heavy-weight PDFs than original iPad?

UPDATE: Consider heavy-weight pdf is a magazine or pdf book with a large number of illustrations, so there is almost no scripts, flash, etc — just pure text with links and images (e.g. pdf files about 80Mb).

  • Not all PDFs and PDF-reading apps are created equal. Can you give us examples of what you see as being a "heavyweight" PDF? Jun 27, 2011 at 10:27
  • Please check out update
    – knuku
    Jun 27, 2011 at 11:25

4 Answers 4


The iPad 2 is most likely to be faster than the original iPad as it has the newer A5 processor, which is dual-core and faster than it's predecessor, the A4. The iPad 2 also has 512MB RAM, which is 2 times more than the original iPad. This means that the rendering of the images will be faster, and more parts of the PDF can be stored in memory for a longer period of time, ensuring a smooth read.

This article also shows the difference between the speed of the PDF rendering and other factors in a 3rd-party app, but clearly shows that the iPad 2 is definitely faster.


If you open the same PDF on an iPad 1 and an iPad 2 it is very likely to load faster on the newer one. This is true for all PDFs were meant for printing. PDF is capable of storing an enormous amount of weird stuff like javascript, flash (including ActionScript) and some drm. PDFs containing such items will most likely not load at all on both platforms (I want you to disagree in the comments), except for password protected PDFs.

  • Check out updates, please. I suppose I meant just <printable> pdf books or magazines with plenty of illustrations.
    – knuku
    Jun 27, 2011 at 11:27
  • I guess that doesn't really change my answer.
    – bot47
    Jun 27, 2011 at 14:11

Since the iOS software is nearly identical between the two models, the hardware differences will be responsible for several differences. RAM and CPU are the main drivers in the case of PDF rendering and cacheing.

On the iPad 2:

  1. Speed of the initial render of the PDF will be faster (CPU).
  2. More PDF can be rendered and cached at screen resolution (RAM).
  3. More background processes can stay ready (RAM).
  4. Panning and zooming may be more responsive (RAM and CPU)

Have a read and watch this TiPb video for an excellent demonstration.

This is one of the best side by side example I've seen to show the noticeable effects of more RAM and a faster CPU. Since they used Mobile Safari, it's more about RAM in this video, and a sufficiently complicated PDF might also show observable delays based on CPU speed differences.


In addition to the answers that the iPad2 will be faster, which is undeniably true, it is important to keep in mind that the iPad2 is most likely still running the same PDF-reading software as the iPad1, since both run the same iOS. Any technical issues you may have run into—like objects not rendering properly—on the iPad1 will most likely be seen again on the iPad2 regardless of any speed benefits gained.

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