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iPad 2 Launched - No One Surprised

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iPad 2 Launched - No One Surprised

While everyone and their dog knew that the iPad 2 was going to be launched by Apple this evening, Steve Jobs had a few surprises for us during the presentation.

The iPad 2 is going to be one third thinner, have front and rear-facing cameras, run iOS 4.3, will have a gyroscope, comes in black and white, and weighs in at 589g compared the original 680g. One of the biggest improvements however is the dual-core A5 chip which has twice the CPU processing power of the iPad’s A4 chip and nine times the graphical grunt. The iPad will launch next week on March 11 in the United States and on March 25 everywhere else and will come at the same pricing as the original pricing.

Possibly the biggest news and biggest reaction was the presence of Steve Jobs on stage at the YBCA Theatre in San Francisco this evening. Jobs has been on medical leave since January, but began the presentation telling us how 2010 had been the year of the iPad even showing us a mawkish promotional video and impressive sales stats. Jobs then went on to have a go at the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Android Honeycomb saying all Apple’s competitors were “flummoxed” at its ability to bring the product to market at such a ‘low’ price.

The iPad 2 itself is an evolution of the original with a slimmed down body, only 8.8mm thick which is the same as the iPhone 4, which Jobs says “feels totally different” than the original. It retains the 9.7in screen with the resolution staying the same - no Retina display here. Despite the inclusion of the more powerful A5 chip, Jobs said the new iPad 2 would maintain the 10 hour battery life of the original. Jobs also announced a series of new accessories, the most impressive of which is a cable which allows for HDMI mirrored 1080p video output which will work with all apps and supports rotation. The cable, which connects to the dock connector, has a charging port as well as an HDMI port to allow you charge your iPad 2 while using it. The cable will cost $39.

Another new accessory will be Smart Covers which will attach to the iPad 2 screen via in-built magnets and when the cover closes, the iPad 2 will go to sleep and conversely when you open it up, the iPad 2 will wake up. The inside of the covers contain mirco fibres to help clean the screen. The covers, which come in polyurethane and leather, also act as a stand when folded up. They will be available in five leather colours and five polyurethane colours. The leather version will cost $69 and the polyurethane version will be $39.

The iPad 2 will be running iOS 4.3 which will bring a number of improvements to the iPad 2 as well as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. OSme of the new feature include: Improved Safari performance, iTunes home sharing (not the cloud service some were expecting), AirPlay improvements, allowing users to set their preference for the iPad switch, Personal Hotspot for iPhone 4 customers, PhotoBooth and FaceTime for iPad the latter of which allows for video calling between iPads, iPhones and Macs. Apple also announced two new apps, iMovie for iPad and GarageBand for iPad, both of which will cost $4.99 when launched in the App Store on March 11.

No SD card slot and no screen resolution improvements will be features some will point to as lacking. However with the improved dual-core A5 chip, slimmed down body and same pricing, this could well make 2011: The Year of the iPad 2. What do you think?

Source: Apple

Drazisaurus

March 3, 2011, 12:59 am

So you can now buy a 1st gen ipad on the apple uk store for £329!!! May be a good buy considering the ipad2 is an incremental upgrade rather than another 'revolution'. Get in quick before the 25th March.....

Kashif Bhatti

March 3, 2011, 1:01 am

All I wanted was facetime, slimmer, and faster - and got it. The display is good enough - my 13-inch does 1440 by 960, so never thought the ipad 2 would better that, and frankly, don't think I need it. Can't imagine Apple asking developers to change their apps for an uneven resolution (vs iphone 3/iphone 4/ipad) so retina display for the ipad2 unrealistic. Back the my thoughts? Buying from US in a fortnight's time.

Gk.pm

March 3, 2011, 1:12 am

No real surprises, but nice to see support for both HDMI and good old VGA even if they need dongles. Should make it good tool for presentations/teaching, other tablets forget that most venues still only have VGA projectors.

Even lighter now, which is good. No built in SD slot, but hopefully the new iMovie will make use of the Camera Kit.

Doesn't make me jump in to join the tablet "revolution" yet but if I was looking to buy now I'd get this one for sure. Can't see why pay £100 more for a Motorola Xoom with similar features.

Jones

March 3, 2011, 1:20 am

I dont want to like it but there is a lot going for the iPad2. I guess at the end of the day none of the tablets tick all the boxes and it really is personal choice.

For me, iPad 2 brings with it apps I've paid for and more importantly for me, some excellent music making abilities. In action alongside Ableton it is very impressive. Im not fussed about the SD slot or resolution so much.

I do like Xoom too though and I really like the look of HPs offering. Tough choice really for someone who has decided he must have a gadget that really isnt all that essential in the slightest!!!

Gk.pm

March 3, 2011, 1:25 am

Before I get burned alive let me apologise for mistake my last comment. The Motorola Xoom and iPad 2 will be similarly priced, I didn't notice Apple had just reduced the normal iPad price. Ignore my last phrase.

KultiVator

March 3, 2011, 1:30 am

Nice spec-bump - but the best moments of the launch presentation were the iMovie and particularly the GarageBand dems.

Starting to show that tablets can have a role in more creative pursuits.

This does look a lot more compelling than some random collection of components with Android slapped on top!

Still not the travel-friendly photographic toolkit I would like it to be, but I can see how that might be forgiven in a moment of weakness... I'd better not find myself near an Apple store on the 25th!

Ataripower

March 3, 2011, 1:32 am

Was holding out for the pad 2, but am left wanting....Xoom it is for me?

I think Apple have held back too many possible improvements, and will find themselves losing significant ground in tablet market share in 2011.

HarryGlass

March 3, 2011, 1:34 am

Was hoping for a "one more thing" moment along the lines of "over 100 million books have been sold for the iPad, so we thought we'd create another model at 7 inches to make book reading much better as it's just half the weight". The new model is a nice iterative update, but I would have hoped they could have made it lighter or brought out another smaller version.

Amused by their digs at Honeycomb; a little unfair to say 100 apps when Honeycomb has been out for what, a week? We'll see if Honeycomb is "me too" or an iPad beater in 6/12 months. At least there's competition.

Kaiser202

March 3, 2011, 1:42 am

I think everything Apple makes is style over substance, every single time. The iPad is a piece of utter crap that people like because it's shiny and represents what they think of as the future. However, all these plebians do not realise that Apples profit margins on their products are absolutely HUGE!!! Higher than any other technology manufacturers in the world, simply because they up the price and rub it in your face for being stupid enough to buy one, then they release a new one 4 months later and ask you for another $600.
Really the iPad 2 is likely to be the biggest con of the year 2011 when the iPad 3 comes out this August (maybe September) and makes the iPad 2 obsolete!

rav

March 3, 2011, 1:47 am

@Drazisaurus
£329 for the original is seriously tempting since you're not missing out on much IMHO.

It's seems like more of an iPad S than a real iPad 2 to me although that's not to say it's bad. The smart cover have left me totally amazed. $39 is a bit ridiculous (£39 will take the biscuit!) but they are seriously cool and practical.

Good to see that Apple have deemed that HDMI isn't too complicated an output for the everyman however again charging $39 for the dongle, in fact even needing a dongle, is annoying if not unexpected.

The Honeycomb tablets look very overpriced compared to this though.

jgsm

March 3, 2011, 1:48 am

I'm not really a fan of the tablet format, but I watched the keynote and came away wanting one. Speed increases? Faster GPU? Dual blah blah blah? It was the software, especially the music-based apps, which got me excited.

William Smith

March 3, 2011, 2:08 am

No idea why people are amazed at the 'Smart' Covers. My blackberry Bold does the exact same thing when i put it in its leather pouch, not exactly revolutionary tech

AlmostDone

March 3, 2011, 2:23 am

Should be called iPad 1.1 ... Apple has ran out ideas.

I can't see many rushing out to replace their iPad 1G.

rav

March 3, 2011, 2:26 am

@William Smith
It isn't the standby function, it's the whole magnetic attachment that auto aligns. It's a very elegant solution and the fact that it also functions as a stand is just the icing on the cake.

Not forgetting that your Bold pouch adds signficant bulk while this might add a few MM.

KultiVator

March 3, 2011, 2:57 am

@William - The main innovations with the iPad2's cover is it's ability to snap itself perfectly in position when it gets close to the edge of the iPad through some (ahem) 'magic' magnets, (cough) pulls-off easily too and also includes a microfibre fabric backing to help remove mucky stuff from your screen (you rascal)!

The sleepy/wakey stuff is quite clever, but is just based on proximity sensing (take it that's the bit your Bold does?).

SRS

March 3, 2011, 3:50 am

int iPadGeneration = 0;
while (true) {
IPad iPad = IPadShopFactory.getGenerationInstance(++iPadGeneration);
iPad.enable();
playWith(iPad);
sleep(FIVE_MONTHS);
while (!nextGenerationAvailable(iPadGeneration)) {
publishBestGuessSpecForNextGeneration(iPadGeneration);
}
registerDisappointment(iPad);
registerHope(iPadGeneration + 1);
iPad.dispose();
}

lifethroughalens

March 3, 2011, 4:00 am

@SRS - couldn't have put it better myself! No Really :)

gazbarber

March 3, 2011, 4:17 am

Shouldn't the:

registerDisappointment(iPad);
registerHope(iPadGeneration + 1);
iPad.dispose();

be inside the loop ;)

Ginty X

March 3, 2011, 4:52 am

I was wondering will the cover work for left handed people ?

Andy0d2

March 3, 2011, 6:08 am

I could justify one if £300 but I just can't bring myself to order one at £430

piesforyou

March 3, 2011, 6:28 am

So what do people use these things for again?

Gk.pm

March 3, 2011, 7:29 am

@SRS I think your problem is that isn't Objective C code :-)

Greg Shewan

March 3, 2011, 11:43 am

What is the obsession with slimming devices down so much?! A device that big at 9mm etc will be almost unnoticeable to a device that is say 12mm thick... give us a bigger battery!

Am I the only one that feels this way? When is battery tech going to catch up or when are we going to stop chasing this paper thin holy-grail of industrial design!

Meenaxi

March 3, 2011, 12:51 pm

Boring boring update by Apple but I wonder if the dual core CPU feature will be fast enough to run files (MKV) on VLC App???!! That would tempt me to upgrade :-)

Michael G

March 3, 2011, 1:47 pm

I question the usefulness of Facetime for this. Because it's a Tablet, you're likely to only use it at home or in the office, where you will more than likely already have a PC/Mac with a webcam. I can see it being useful on the move....but surely you'd then just use your iPhone? It just seems a typical example to me of Apple telling us we need a feature, convincing us we do, yet really....we don't.

And all the while, they're laughing to the bank.

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