The iPad 2 has been the subject of innumerable rumors for the past several months, but today all of that finally comes to an end. Today at their event in San Francisco, Apple introduced the the iPad 2, which features a 9.7-inch 1024x768 display, new 1GHz dual-core A5 CPU, rear camera with 720p video capture, VGA front-facing camera, a gyroscope, and a new body that measures in at 8.8mm thick, thinner than both the previous iPad and the iPhone 4, and weighs 1.3 pounds. The new iPad will be available in both white and black, with the white model available right away unlike its iPhone 4 counterpart, and there will be models that work on both AT&T's HSPA and Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A. As for pricing and launch, you can expect the same price tags as the original iPad ($499 for 16GB WiFi all the way up to $829 for the 64GB WiFi+3G) with a ship date of March 11th. The original iPad is now priced as low as $349 for a refurbished WiFi-only 16GB model on Apple's site, or you can pick up brand new original iPad for $399.
Alongside the iPad 2, Apple revealed a couple of new accessories for their updated tablet. There's an HDMI adapter which will allow users to output 1080p video for $39. The adapter works with all apps and will even charge the iPad while in use. Additionally, there's a new Smart Cover for the iPad 2, which is a bendable flap that covers the front of the iPad thanks to the use of magnets. It can also be used as a stand for the iPad, comes in polyurethane or leather, and will cost $39 or $69, respectively.
Unsurprisingly, the iPad 2 is more of an evolutionary upgrade from the original model, although there are still a few nice additions on-board. I'm sure that there are more than a few users that'll be happy about the inclusion of two cameras, and the dual-core CPU should make getting around iOS pretty snappy, although it's not like the original iPad was a slouch. I just hope that, since Apple will be pushing out a white iPad 2 next week, the albino iPhone 4 won't be far behind. So, initial impressions? Now that we know everything about the iPad 2, will you be buying one or do you plan to pick up a competing device like the XOOM or TouchPad?
Apple Launches iPad 2
All New Design is Thinner, Lighter & Faster with FaceTime, Smart Covers & 10 Hour Battery
SAN FRANCISCO-March 2, 2011-Apple® today introduced iPad™ 2, the next generation of its magical device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading ebooks and much more. iPad 2 features an entirely new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad, while maintaining the same stunning 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen. iPad 2 features Apple's new dual-core A5 processor for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics and now includes two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime® and Photo Booth®, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video, bringing the innovative FaceTime feature to iPad users for the first time. Though it is thinner, lighter, faster and packed with new features, iPad 2 still delivers up to 10 hours of battery life* that users have come to expect. iPad 2 is available in black or white, features models that run on AT&T's and Verizon's 3G networks, and introduces the innovative iPad 2 Smart Cover in a range of vibrant polyurethane and rich leather colors.
"With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we're launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again."
With the new front and rear cameras, iPad 2 users can now make FaceTime calls to millions of iPhone® 4, iPod touch® and Mac® users so they can see family and friends anywhere there is Wi-Fi. Photo Booth lets you apply fun visual effects, including eight photo special effects like Squeeze, Twirl and Kaleidoscope, to photos captured by either camera.
iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, the latest version of the world's most advanced mobile operating system, with new features including faster Safari® mobile browsing performance; iTunes® Home Sharing; enhancements to AirPlay®;** the choice to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio; and Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.*** Additional iPad 2 features include a built-in gyro for advanced gaming; HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds on iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G on AT&T, and HDMI Video Mirroring that lets users mirror their iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.
The innovative new iPad 2 Smart Cover provides protection for the iPad screen while maintaining its thin and lightweight profile. Designed with a unique self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove, the new iPad 2 Smart Cover automatically wakes iPad 2 when it's opened and puts it to sleep when it's closed, and has a soft microfiber lining to help keep the screen clean. The Smart Cover also folds into a stand for typing or viewing videos and is available in vibrant polyurethane for $39 or rich leather for $69 in a range of colors, including a (PRODUCT) RED one which helps support the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Apple also introduced two new apps: iMovie® and GarageBand® for iPad, both available on the App Store? for just $4.99 each. With iMovie, iPad 2 users can shoot and edit videos right on their iPad and post their movies to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and their MobileMe? gallery; watch them on their iPod®, iPhone or iPad; as well as view them on their HDTV using AirPlay and Apple TV®. GarageBand turns your iPad into a collection of touch instruments and 8-track recording studio, allowing you to perform with onscreen keyboards, guitars, drums and basses using multi-touch gestures–even if you don't play a musical instrument.
iPad 2 runs almost all of the over 350,000 apps available on the App Store and there are more than 65,000 native iPad apps available from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. The iTunes Store gives iPad users access to the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 14 million songs, over 50,000 TV episodes and over 10,000 films including over 3,500 in stunning high definition video. The iBooks® app for iPad includes Apple's iBookstore?, the best way to browse, buy and read books on a mobile device.
Pricing & Availability
iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G compatible with the Verizon network will be available in the US only for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 will be sold in the US through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iMovie and GarageBand for iPad apps will be available on March 11 for $4.99 each from the App Store on iPad or www.itunes.com/appstore.
iPad 2 will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on March 25; and in many more countries around the world in the coming months. Further international availability and pricing will be announced at a later date.
*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.
**AirPlay video requires second generation Apple TV running the latest software.
***Personal Hotspot requires supporting data plan. Customers should check with their carrier for availability.
Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.
(Image via Engadget)