Shall we dance? Let’s…
The iPad 2—that’s its official name—sports a 33% thinner design and weighs 0.2 pounds less than the original iPad. There’s also a dual-core 1GHz processor, optional AT&T and Verizon models, front- and rear-facing cameras, same 10-hour battery life, and it’ll be available in white or black.
Pricing will be the same as the previous models: $499, $599 and $699 for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi models, respectively—$629, $729 and $829 for the comparable 3G-equipped models.
The iPad 2 will ship on March 11, 2011.
Apple will sell a $39 HDMI connector cable that allows you to hook the iPad 2 up to your TV and watch full-resolution 1080p video. The cable is reportedly compatible with the original iPad, the iPhone 4 and the latest-generation iPod Touch, too.
The tablet will also be able to utilize a new “Smart Cover” protector—a magnetically-attached screen cover with microfiber lining that can be folded into a stand similar to the original, but won’t be as bulky or cumbersome.
Software Enhancements (iOS 4.3)
iTunes home sharing—playing videos and music files from your home computer on the iPad 2—is on board, too, as is improved functionality of Apple’s AirPlay technology.
You’ll also be able to use the iPad 2 as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot if you’ve got one of the 3G-enabled models. Camera-specific apps such as Photo Booth and FaceTime have been added as well.
And finally, the iPad 2’s mute switch can be configured to act as a screen rotation lock instead. Two new apps will be available at launch, too: iMovie for iPad ($5) and GarageBand for iPad ($5).
Version 4.3 of iOS will be a free upgrade for iPads, 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch devices, and AT&T versions of the iPhone. Verizon’s iPhone runs a slightly different version of iOS (4.2.6) than AT&T’s (4.2.1) so it’ll be interesting to see if, when and how the Verizon version gets upgraded.
So we’re looking at a slightly thinner and lighter design, a dual-core processor, two cameras, two colors, and two options for cellular connectivity.
Other than that, the screen appears to be the same and, aside from apps that use the cameras, all the other software enhancements should be available for the original iPad on March 11 with the free iOS 4.3 upgrade.
The 33% thinner design (0.35 inches thick versus 0.5 inches thick) certainly looks nicer than the original, but the fact that the weight has only been reduced by 0.2 pounds probably won’t make it feel noticeably lighter.
This isn’t going to be a must-have purchase for most iPad owners, but those who have been anxiously awaiting cameras or who find the original iPad to run too sluggishly may be lined up at Apple stores on March 11. The addition of the optional Verizon connection may appeal to some people, too.
Perhaps the bigger issue is that what appears to be an incremental upgrade to the original iPad will almost certainly fuel growing rumors of yet another iPad version to be unveiled in time for the holidays. Wait even longer or buy now? That’ll be the question on a lot of people’s minds.
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