Apple Launches iPad 2

by Reads (8,393)

 

Greetings from the Apple iPad 2 line!

A mere nine days after Steve Jobs unveiled the follow-up to the market-leading iPad, eager Apple fans and device junkies are lining up outside Apple Stores, Best Buys, and other locations to be among the first to score an iPad 2.

The team at TabletPCReview is in line, and is eager to test and evaluate a device that many have remarked is a modest update.

 

Really, a Modest Update?

iPad 2Compared to the first-generation iPad, the iPad 2 has both rear- and front-facing cameras, and is thinner, lighter, and faster, with a dual-core A5 processor. The cameras enable FaceTime video chat, and although Apple has not commented on the RAM, early reviews suggest RAM has been doubled from 256MB to 512MB.

The new iPad will also ship with iOS 4.3, which is also coming to the iPad as an update and is currently available. The update brings a faster web browser and a host of minor graphical and functional tweaks.

Is that enough to convince the more than 15 million iPad owners to upgrade, or non-users to adopt? Read the Apple iPad and iPad comparison for a more detailed look at the models.

Pricing

In addition to retaining the same screen size and resolution, Apple is keeping the same pricing structure, beginning at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi unit.

iPad Price
16 GB Wi-Fi only $499
32 GB Wi-Fi only $599
64 GB Wi-Fi only $699
16 GB Wi-Fi + 3G $629
32 GB Wi-Fi + 3G $729
64 GB Wi-Fi + 3G &829

Verizon or AT&T

The 3G iPad is available on two carriers this time around, Verizon and AT&T. Here are the carrier’s 3G pricing plans.

Verizon:

  • $20 for 1GB per month, $20 per GB overage
  • $35 for 3GB per month, $10 per GB overage
  • $50 for 5GB per month, $10 per GB overage
  • $80 for 10GB per month, $10 per GB overage
AT&T:
  • $15 for 250MB per month, $15 per 250MB overage
  • $25 for 2GB per month, $10 per GB overage
  • $45 for 4GB per month, $10 per GB overage

iPad 2

Competition

Of course, the 2011 tablet market is vastly different from the one Apple entered in 2010. Then, Apple was the only game in town. Today, Google is gunning for the iPad with its Honeycomb Android OS and a host of devices running it, including the much-hyped Motorola Xoom.

Both devices have their strengths. As we explained in our Motorola Xoom vs. iPad 2 breakdown, the Xoom has the edge with an upcoming 4G upgrade (Verizon LTE) and Flash support. The iPad 2 is still a 3G device, but is thinner and lighter than the Xoom, and it dominates the Xoom in terms of tablet applications.

iPad 2But for Apple, if the Xoom don’t get ya, the Samsung Tab might… or the Toshiba tablet, or the Lenovo tablet, or the HTC tablet, or Dell tablet, or any of the many other Android tablets that will trickle out between iPad releases. These devices will undoubtedly come out with new and innovative features, and by the time Apple is ready to announce the iPad 3, they may be left playing catch up with features and specs, just as they were with the iPad 2 and video chat.

This is why we claimed Apple fears Android in an editorial, as evident by Jobs’ jabs at the platform and misquoting of Samsung concerning Galaxy Tab sales.

Still, it’s hard to argue with success. According to IDC, Apple owned 73% of the tablet market in Q4 2010, which is down from the 93% share it had in Q3, but still impressive next to the Samsung Galaxy Tab’s 17%.

All told, Apple claims to have shipped nearly 15 million iPads in 2010. Keep in mind too, that while it was announced in January, the iPad was not available until March. Had the iPad been available all year, sales might have topped 20 million.

IDC expects the iPad 2 to continue dominating the market in 2011, with a 70-80% share.

iPad 2 Review

Should you contribute to Apple’s share? TabletPCReview intends to find out with a full review and evaluation of the Apple iPad 2, both the Wi-Fi and 3G models. We will also explore the latest apps, including iMovie, GarageBand and FaceTime.
In the meantime, we stand in line at the Apple Store, waiting for five o’clock…

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