Apple launches the iPad 2

ipad2 Apple launches the iPad 2

Apple has announced its iPad 2 and overall it's upgrades all around with a new dual core A5 processors, much faster graphics, lower weight, slimmer profile and of course the much wanted cameras. That's pretty much what everyone was hoping for and Apple has left out surprisingly little for an iPad 3 upgrade, but we're sure they'll figure something out to attract people's attention next year.

Apple has announced its iPad 2 and overall it's upgrades all around with a new dual core A5 processors, much faster graphics, lower weight, slimmer profile and of course the much wanted cameras. That's pretty much what everyone was hoping for and Apple has left out surprisingly little for an iPad 3 upgrade, but we're sure they'll figure something out to attract people's attention next year.

The A5 processor is still ticking away at 1GHz, but it now has two cores and the graphics core is said to offer up to nine times the performance compared to the original iPad. The rear camera will shoot 720p video at 30fps, while the front camera is stuck at VGA quality at 30fps. To go with the cameras Apple is adding FaceTime to its next release of iOS and we'll also see a new app called Photo Booth alongside a US$4.99 version of iMovie for the iPad 2.

ipad2 Apple launches the iPad 2

Amazingly Apple has managed to slim down the iPad 2 to a mere 8.8mm which is 0.5mm thinner than the iPhone 4 and the Wi-Fi model weighs in at 601g while the 3G model adds another 12g. Even so, we're looking at the same 10h battery life for the Wi-Fi models, or in the case of the 3G models, 9h. The screen remains the same as on the old model, in other words we're still looking at a 9.7-inch unit with 1024×768 resolution.

Some features that have been carried over includes 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and in the case of the 3G model, support for HSDPA/HSUPA on the 900, 1900 and 2100MHz bands, although Apple has also made a CDMA EV-DO version for Verizon in the US which is another first.

ipad2 covers Apple launches the iPad 2

One other new feature is the optional US$39 HDMI out dongle which connects to the docking port and adds an HDMI port as well as a docking port so the iPad 2 can be charged at the same time as it's connected to an HDMI screen or projector. It supports 1080p video mirroring, but oddly enough Apple states that it'll only play back H.264 video with resolutions of up to 720p at 30fps. The dongle doesn't look like the most solid piece of equipment to ever come out of Apple and it's really quite an awkward way to connect the iPad to an HDMI equipped display device.

Apple also designed a new “Smart Cover” for the iPad 2 which attaches by magnets and features a hinge. The cover folds up in three and can be used as a stand. Apple offers the cover in two different materials, polyurethane and leather, each available in five colours for a price of US$39 and US$69.

ipad2 hdmi Apple launches the iPad 2

Most of the rumours about the iPad 2 didn't come true, as we didn't get a higher resolution screen, no built in SD card reader and most definitely no Thunderbolt support, but even so, it looks like Apple has managed to a pretty good job in updating its tablet.

As far as pricing goes, the Wi-Fi models cost US$499 for 16GB, US$599 for the 32GB model and finally US$699 for the 64GB model. Apple will be offering them in both white and black from day one, which is another first for the iPad 2. In the US the 16GB 3G model is priced at US$629 with the 32GB model at US$729 and finally the 64GB model at US$829, but so far pricing for other countries haven't been announced. Availability in the US is March 11th followed by Europe, Japan, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand on the 25th of March. Apple didn't announce availability dates for other markets.

Source: Apple

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