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Apple iPad 2: 33% thinner, dual-core and iOS 4.3

Jonathan Morris
March 2, 2011

Apple has launched the successor to the iPad. All hail the iPad 2, which is 33% thinner, has a dual-core processor and now has two cameras.

As we suspected, the updated product isn’t that revolutionary – but it will certainly be enough to keep the iPad going until Apple can build a new high-definition screen and some different sizes. And when Steve Jobs took to the stage, you just knew that no matter how mundane a launch might be – it will suddenly be a major talking point for the weeks ahead.

You can hardly ignore the fact that at 33% thinner (making it thinner than an iPhone 4 at just 8.8mm) and with a dual-core A5 processor (that also boasts 9x graphics performance) that will keep Apple in the game for those who play by numbers, the iPad 2 will quite possibly get everyone wanting to upgrade. The original iPad suddenly got old, fast.

You’ll also be able to get an iPad 2 in white from day one, which will be an on-sale date of March 11th in the US and March 25th elsewhere. What’s more, despite the faster chipset, Apple insists the battery will remain the same at 10 hours. An optional dongle now allows you to output the iPad 2 to an HD television via HDMI at 1080p.

If the hardware isn’t enough, Apple has also created a new range of Smart Covers, in a range of colours and materials, switching the iPad 2 on and off automatically when you open and close the cover using a new sensor in the iPad 2. The covers feature a micro-fibre lining to clean the screen, and can also be folded to double up as a stand.

Naturally, this is going to have all of the third party accessory companies extremely excited, which in turn helps create more demand for the product. Apple’s clever marketing at its best.

Apple also launched iOS 4.3, with improved JavaScript performance in Safari and iTunes home sharing, to get content directly via Wi-Fi. iOS 4.3 will also be rolled out to the original iPad, the iPhone and iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation models). iPhone 4 users will also gain the new ‘Personal hotspot’ feature, sharing the 3G data connection over Wi-Fi. Finally, iPad users will get to choose what the iPad switch will do, from turning off screen rotation to muting the audio.

Just like the original iPad, the iPad 2 will be available in two key configurations, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G, with storage options of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The pricing is unlikely to be changed on the original, which will now be phased out.

Next page: Official press release

The official press release

All New Design is Thinner, Lighter & Faster with FaceTime, Smart Covers & 10 Hour Battery

SAN FRANCISCO’March 2, 2011’Apple® today introduced iPad„¢ 2, the next generation of its magical device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading ebooks and much more. iPad 2 features an entirely new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad, while maintaining the same stunning 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen. iPad 2 features Apple’s new dual-core A5 processor for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics and now includes two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime® and Photo Booth®, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video, bringing the innovative FaceTime feature to iPad users for the first time. Though it is thinner, lighter, faster and packed with new features, iPad 2 still delivers up to 10 hours of battery life* that users have come to expect. iPad 2 is available in black or white, features models that run on AT&T’s and Verizon’s 3G networks, and introduces the innovative iPad 2 Smart Cover in a range of vibrant polyurethane and rich leather colors.

“With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we’re launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again.”

With the new front and rear cameras, iPad 2 users can now make FaceTime calls to millions of iPhone® 4, iPod touch® and Mac® users so they can see family and friends anywhere there is Wi-Fi. Photo Booth lets you apply fun visual effects, including eight photo special effects like Squeeze, Twirl and Kaleidoscope, to photos captured by either camera.

iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, with new features including faster Safari® mobile browsing performance; iTunes® Home Sharing; enhancements to AirPlay®;** the choice to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio; and Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.*** Additional iPad 2 features include a built-in gyro for advanced gaming; HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds on iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G on AT&T, and HDMI Video Mirroring that lets users mirror their iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.

The innovative new iPad 2 Smart Cover provides protection for the iPad screen while maintaining its thin and lightweight profile. Designed with a unique self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove, the new iPad 2 Smart Cover automatically wakes iPad 2 when it’s opened and puts it to sleep when it’s closed, and has a soft microfiber lining to help keep the screen clean. The Smart Cover also folds into a stand for typing or viewing videos and is available in vibrant polyurethane for $39 or rich leather for $69 in a range of colors, including a (PRODUCT) RED one which helps support the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Apple also introduced two new apps: iMovie® and GarageBand® for iPad, both available on the App Store? for just $4.99 each. With iMovie, iPad 2 users can shoot and edit videos right on their iPad and post their movies to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and their MobileMe? gallery; watch them on their iPod®, iPhone or iPad; as well as view them on their HDTV using AirPlay and Apple TV®. GarageBand turns your iPad into a collection of touch instruments and 8-track recording studio, allowing you to perform with onscreen keyboards, guitars, drums and basses using multi-touch gestures-even if you don’t play a musical instrument.

iPad 2 runs almost all of the over 350,000 apps available on the App Store and there are more than 65,000 native iPad apps available from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. The iTunes Store gives iPad users access to the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 14 million songs, over 50,000 TV episodes and over 10,000 films including over 3,500 in stunning high definition video. The iBooks® app for iPad includes Apple’s iBookstore?, the best way to browse, buy and read books on a mobile device.

Pricing & Availability

iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G compatible with the Verizon network will be available in the US only for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 will be sold in the US through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iMovie and GarageBand for iPad apps will be available on March 11 for $4.99 each from the App Store on iPad or www.itunes.com/appstore.

iPad 2 will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on March 25; and in many more countries around the world in the coming months. Further international availability and pricing will be announced at a later date.

*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.

**AirPlay video requires second generation Apple TV running the latest software.

***Personal Hotspot requires supporting data plan. Customers should check with their carrier for availability.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

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