Apple iPad 2: What You Need to Know

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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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