Apple CEO Steve Jobs today took the wraps off of its second-generation tablet, officially dubbed “iPad 2,” with a completely new, thinner design, a faster dual-core A5 processor, and two video cameras and etc, shipping on March 11.
The new iPad 2 is one-third thinner than the first-generation model, just 8.8 mm thick, even thinner than the iPhone 4. It now weighs a little less than the original iPad which weighed 1.5 lbs. The WiFi version is 1.33 lbs, GSM 3G version is 1.35 lbs. and the Verizon model is 1.34 lbs.
“Once you pick up iPad 2, it’ll be hard to put down. That’s the idea behind the all-new design,” Apple said in a statement. “It’s 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter, so it feels even more comfortable in your hands. And it makes surfing the web, checking email, watching movies, and reading books so natural, you might forget there’s incredible technology under your fingers.”
The display keeps its same 9.7″ inches in size. Unfortunately, it keeps the same 1024 x 768 screen resolution instead of giving it a true Retina Display. It also has rear and front facing cameras for recording video, taking photos, and FaceTime video chat. The back camera is capable of HD video up to 30 FPS. These are believed to be the same cameras packed into the current iPod Touch.
“You’ll see two cameras on iPad — one on the front and one on the back,” Apple said. “They may be tiny, but they’re a big deal. They’re designed for FaceTime video calling, and they work together so you can talk to your favorite people and see them smile and laugh back at you.”
“The front camera puts you and your friend face-to-face. Switch to the back camera during your video call to share where you are, who you’re with, or what’s going on around you. When you’re not using FaceTime, let the back camera roll if you see something movie-worthy. It’s HD, so whatever you shoot is a mini-masterpiece. And you can take wacky snapshots in Photo Booth. It’s the most fun a face can have.”
The new iPad also has a new 1GHz A5 dual-core processor which offers up to 9 times faster graphics processing and is the sort of technology found in high performing laptops. Apple said the faster speeds of the new processor will not have any greater power consumption than the previous A4 processor.
“Two powerful cores in one A5 chip mean iPad can do twice the work at once,” Apple said. “You’ll notice the difference when you’re surfing the web, watching movies, making FaceTime video calls, gaming, and going from app to app to app. Multitasking is smoother, apps load faster, and everything just works better.”
The new iPad 2 will be available in two colors – black and white – and will be available on both AT&T and Verizon 3G networks from day one. It also sports the same 10-hour battery life. Even with the new thinner and lighter design, iPad has the same amazing 10-hour battery life
“That’s enough juice for one flight across the ocean, or one movie-watching all-nighter, or a week’s commute across town. The power-efficient A5 chip and iOS keep battery life from fading away, so you can get carried away,” Apple said.
The iPad 2 will be able to do video mirroring via HDMI using their Digital AV Adapter. The adapter plugs into the 30 pin dock connector and allows you to display exactly what is on the iPad 2 onto a display at up to 1080p resolution and supports Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio as well. The adapter also allows you to charge the iPad simultaneously. It will cost $39.
“iOS 4 is the operating system for iPad (along with iPhone and iPod touch). It lets you browse, read, and see everything just by touching the screen,” said Apple. “It includes all the powerful, innovative, and fun built-in apps you use every day, many times a day.”
“And it’s the platform on which more than 65,000 other amazing apps have been created for iPad. It’s highly secure, stable, and responsive, and it’s made to work seamlessly with the iPad hardware. iOS 4 is the reason no other device has yet come close to iPad.”
Another accessory announced by Apple is a magnetic “smart cover,” which covers the front of the device. Covering the front of the device automatically locks the device, while taking it off will unlock it. Microfibers on the screen cover are said to clean the iPad 2 display, while magnets will automatically align the cover on the screen.
A video demonstrating the abilities of the case, including using it as a stand to prop up the iPad, was shown to the audience. Apple will sell a polyurethane version of its case for $39, and a leather version for $69.
The iPad 2 will also have its own dock like the rest of Apple’s main iDevices. The Digital AVA Adapter will work through the docks connector on the back. It will cost $29. The iPad 2 will require iTunes 10.2 and will be running iOS 4.3 when shipped.
The iPad 2 will carry the same starting price of $499 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi-only model. The device will begin shipping in just over a week, on Friday, March 11, in the U.S., while 26 more overseas countries will get the device on March 25. [Apple via Daily Mail (UK), AppleHeadlines, AppleInsider and Gizmodo]