Apple has introduced the iPad 2, the next generation of its device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading ebooks and much more. The iPad 2 features a new design that is 33% thinner and up to 15% lighter than the original iPad, while maintaining the same 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen. The iPad 2 features Apple's new dual-core A5 processor and 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 FaceTime feature to iPad users for the first time. Apple said the iPad 2 delivers up to 10 hours of battery life. It is available in black or white, features models that run on AT&T's and Verizon's 3G networks, and introduces the iPad 2 Smart Cover in a range of polyurethane and leather colors.
The iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, which is equipped 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 gaming; HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds on iPad 2 Wi-Fi plus 3G on AT&T, and HDMI Video Mirroring that lets users mirror their iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.
The iPad 2 Smart Cover provides protection for the iPad screen while maintaining its thin and lightweight profile. Designed with a self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove, the 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 polyurethane for US$39 or leather for US$69 in a range of colors, including a 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 US$4.99. 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 the iPad into a collection of touch instruments and 8-track recording studio, allowing users to perform with onscreen keyboards, guitars, drums and basses using multi-touch gestures-even if they don't play a musical instrument.
The 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 a 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 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 high definition video. The iBooks app for iPad includes Apple's iBookstore.
The iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 for a suggested retail price of US$499 for the 16GB model, US$599 for the 32GB model, US$699 for the 64GB model. The iPad 2 Wi-Fi plus 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB model and US$829 for the 64GB model. The iPad 2 Wi-Fi plus 3G compatible with the Verizon network will be available in the US only for a suggested retail price of US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB model and US$829 for the 64GB model.
The iPad 2 will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the 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.
Apple iPad 2 with Smart Cover