Steve Jobs has announced that on March 11 Apple will ship the iPad 2, a slimmer, lighter, and more powerful tablet than its predecessor, available in either black and white.
Powered by the new dual-core, 1 GHz A5 SoC, the iPad 2 will sport a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 LED display with multi-touch support. Connectivity features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, as well as 3G on both AT&T and Verizon Wireless. As was the case with the first iPad, the iPad 2 is available in Wi-Fi + 3G and Wi-Fi only varieties.
The iPad 2 will run Apple's new iOS 4.3, which introduces enhancements to AirPlay and iTunes home sharing, allowing streaming of movies and music to devices throughout the home. TabletPCReview's sister site, Brighthand, has complete iOS 4.3 details.
Other updates include allegedly faster Safari browsing, and customization of the iPad side switch.
Both models of the iPad 2 will measure 0.34 inches in thickness, with the Wi-Fi only model weighing 1.33 pounds and the Wi-Fi + 3G model weighing 1.35 pounds. They will also feature the same storage options, with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB models of each type available.
As previously speculated, the iPad 2 will also feature dual cameras. It will have a front-facing, VGA camera for video chats via Apple's FaceTime app and video recording at 30 fps with audio, and a rear-facing, 720p camera with 5x digital zoom that is capable of also recording at 30 fps with audio.
Despite the specs being superior to those of the iPad, Apple CEO Steve Jobs assured the audience at the iPad 2 announcement that battery life would not take a hit. Maintaining the same battery life as its predecessor, the iPad 2 will be able to get approximately 10 hours off of a single charge.
Other features include a three-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, digital compass and an assisted GPS in the 3G models.
Immediately following the reveal of the iPad 2, Jobs also unveiled its new iPad accessories, including the Apple Digital AV Adapter, which is basically a dongle with an HDMI port that connects to the tablet via its 30-pin port. At $39, the cable will allow users to hook their iPad 2 up to their TVs or other HDMI-ready displays, and by using Video Mirroring technology, the connected display will always show precisely what is happening on the tablet. A 30-pin port located adjacent to the female HDMI allows for simultaneous charging of the device while connected to an HDMI display.
The iPad Smart Cover, which was also previewed and priced at $39, magnetically attaches to the iPad 2 to protect its screen and automatically put it into sleep mode or wake it when applied or removed. The magnets inside the cover also allow it to fold over and stick to itself, forming a stand or prop for the tablet when it's being used for reading, viewing, or typing.
Come next Friday, the iPad 2 will be available for $499, $599, or $699 for the Wi-Fi only model with 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB of storage, respectively. The Wi-Fi model with 3G will be priced at $629, $729, or $829 based on the same storage capacities.
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