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Summary:

Steve Jobs introduced Apple’s iPad 2 today and says the new tablet will launch on March 11. A few external updates along with a slew of internal changes make the iPad 2 a solid upgrade. Here’s a listing of what’s different in Apple’s newest tablet.

ipad2-cover-featured

Steve Jobs today introduced iPad 2, the successor to Apple’s first tablet, which has enjoyed 15 million sales in only nine months. Along with sharing sales numbers and the fact that over 65,000 iPad apps are available, Jobs took a few verbal jabs at competing tablets built upon Google’s Android platform. But amongst the barrage of information were all of the details on the next iPad so here’s a quick recap of what you need to know about Apple’s iPad 2 in order to make a better tablet purchase decision when the device arrives on March 11.

  • New CPU. Apple’s old A4 (currently used in iPhone, iPod touch and iPad) gets a big boost with a new A5, dual-core processor. Apple says the power consumption is essentially the same, so 10 hours of battery life is still expected. But the iPad will see a performance pop: 9x the graphics power of the first iPad and double the overall performance.
  • Same price as before. Apple is holding the iPad 2 price points the same as the original. Costs will range from $499 for a 16 GB version with Wi-Fi to $829 for a 64 GB unit with 3G.
  • Carrier and color choice. Although Apple sells more Wi-Fi iPad models than those with mobile broadband, iPad 2 could change that ratio because there will be a model for AT&T’s 3G network as well as for Verizon’s. iPad 2 will be available in either a black or white bezel.
  • Thin is in. Although iPad 2 has the same 9.7-inch screen size and resolution of the original, it’s 33 percent thinner at 8.8 millimeters. From the side, iPad 2 looks similar to large iPod touch due to the less blocky, tapered design. Indeed, it’s actually thinner than the iPhone 4. The weight of iPad also drops 0.2 pounds, bringing the total weight to 1.3 pounds.
  • I see you! Both front- and rear-facing cameras are added to the new iPad. The front VGA sensor is geared for FaceTime conversations although Apple also showed off a new Photo Booth app designed for iPad. Video capture and images in 720p resolution are available on the rear camera and Apple will offer an improved $5 iOS version of iMovie for video editing.
  • Keep it covered. Just as it did with the original iPad, Apple has created a custom case for the iPad 2 — and it’s very different. The case folds in itself to make a small stand for the iPad and it attaches to the display using magnets. Apple will offer a polyurethane version for $39 and a leather case for $69. The smart case wakes the iPad when opening and puts the device to sleep when covered.
  • iPad on the big screen. Similar to newer smartphones that can pipe video to an HDTV, the iPad 2 supports HDMI-out through a $39 adaptor. The iPad can be charged while using HDMI out and will output video or a mirror image of the iPad environment at 1080p resolution.
  • Hello, iOS 4.3. When iPad 2 ships it will have a slightly updated operating system, which will also filter down into other iOS devices. Some of the new features include a faster JavaScript engine (called Nitro) in the browser, iTunes Home Sharing, improvements to AirPlay streaming, and a choice for the iPad switch: it can be either a mute function or can lock the screen orientation.
 

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  1. Any word on how cheap the original will be now? Or if they’ll even still be offering it in-store?

    1. First gen iPads are now starting at $399, so looks like $100 off to clear out inventory. May even be cheaper in the refurb store.

  2. Who wants a xoom now? :D I WANT THE IPAD 2! its soo amazing

  3. The ever-increasingly rapid release cycle of Apple’s product generations is getting a little annoying – I feel like I just bought my iPad a few months ago, oh wait – I did (!), and there’s no way for me to get front and rear facing cameras on it etc… Given that the prices aren’t really changing on this second-gen iPad, my first-gen iPad feels relatively redundant. It would be nice to start seeing either hardware-upgrade paths being designed into Apple consumer electronics or a trade-in program for people who want to stay up-to-date with new versions of their hardware devices.

    1. Dude, anyone that follows tech or more specifically Apple knows that this is what they do. They’ve been doing it since they introduced the first iPod. They put out a hot product with just enough goodies to make you buy it. Then 12 months later, they up the ante and put out an even better product. I knew this – that’s why I waited for the iPad 2. I knew it would be better than the one they released back in April 2010. You should have known as well.

    2. Seriously? Everyone knows Apple’s iOS prodiucts are on yearly release schedule. If you are so concerned about carrying around an outdated product, why did you buy it so late in the product cycle?

    3. I am curious why anybody would buy an apple product near the 1 year point of the devices life cycle. Apple has always done a 1 year refresh cycle, how does this confuse you?

    4. Either you buy early and enjoy for a longer time, or wait for the 2nd gen. That’s the rule.

    5. I love that there was not a bit of sympathy in these responses. Seriously. You should know better.

  4. Specs on apple.com say that iTunes 10.2 is recommended. Did they mention iTunes 10.2 at the event?

  5. its interesting they went back to the tapered design after abandoning it 2 times before with the 3GS > 4 and MBA 1 > MBA 2

    it must have been some kind of engineering limitation they could not get over, probably the only way to go that thin in a large form factor was by tapering

    personally i prefer the blocky iP4 & MBA

  6. I don’t know if I’m proud to admit this, but while reading this article, Justin Timberlake’s Sexyback started playing next on my playlist. Coincidence? I don’t know.

  7. Why own this when I already have a computer

  8. A lot of changes … and yet it changes nothing for me. But the tablet game for 2011 is really on now: Let’s get ready to rumble! :)

  9. Google needs a dev tablet like what it did for phone with Nexus One that devs can get without worrying about the carrier and stuff. It will give a base-line hardware spec for most devs to reference their apps with.

    Sure, Motorola’s Xoom is kind of like that, but it can’t be a reference device like Nexus One was.

  10. I so want the ipad 2 it seems soooo amazing! I WANT IT NOW!!!!!!!!!!

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