Earlier today Apple made good on their promise to wow us once more with yet another new multi-touch wonder: the iPad 2 (Steve Jobs himself kicked off the presentation). Rumors have been flying for months about what it would and wouldn’t include, many of which were proven true, though as always Apple still had a few surprises up its sleeve.
Keep reading to see what the hype is all about. We’ll go over all the details of the new and improved iPad so you can see whether or not it’s time to give in and get one!
Physical Design: Thinner and Lighter
As predicted, the iPad 2 has a sleeker physical design than the previous version. The new version is 33% thinner and 15% lighter.
The edges are beveled and the back appears to be much flatter, which should dramatically improve using the iPad while it rests on a flat surface. As predicted, speaker grill has been moved to the rear bottom of the device.
As you can see, from the frontside perspective, not much has really changed aside from the addition of a camera. When your device is all screen, it’s hard to change the basic appearance. There’s also now a built-in gyroscope so gaming is about to get noticeably better!
Tech Specs: Faster, Sleeker and More Powerful
Obviously, Apple wouldn’t dream of introducing a new product that isn’t faster and more powerful than the previous version, and the iPad 2 is no exception. Here’s a quick rundown of what we know so far:
- Height: 9.5 inches (down from 9.56)
- Width: 7.31 inches (down from 7.47)
- Depth: 0.34 inches
- Weight: 1.33 pounds down from 1.5 (Wifi, 3G is 1.34-1.35 for Verizon and AT&T respectively)
- Resolution: 1024×768 pixels
- Capacity: 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB
- Processor: 1GHz dual-core Apple A5
- Battery Life: 10 Hours
The most notable upgrade is the fact that the iPad now sports a new dual core A5 processor. This should really take the speed and capabilities of the device into a whole new realm, and indeed some of the new software below really pushes the bounds of what I would’ve thought was possible on such a slim tablet!
As yet another bonus, the iPad now supports HDMI output, which should make those Keynote presentations prettier than ever!
As you can see, despite multiple reports, no bump in screen resolution was made. The iPad 2 looks like it sports a nearly identical display to the first version.
Say Cheese: The iPad Gets Two Cameras
No one knew exactly what the iPad 2 would have in store for us, but we all knew one thing: at least one camera would be present. Apple didn’t disappoint though and instead opted to mimic the dual camera setup from the iPhone so that you can utilize both a front and rear-facing view.
The iPad’s new cameras are primed for not only photos and video, but also live video chatting with other iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches and even Macs.
Here are the specs on the two cameras, straight from Apple:
- Back camera: Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio; still camera with 5x digital zoom
- Front camera: Video recording, VGA up to 30 frames per second with audio; VGA-quality still camera
Software: iOS 4.3
Along with the iPad, Apple gave us more of a glimpse into iOS 4.3. In addition to some performance enhancements, there are a few new apps from Apple. Obviously, you can now use FaceTime, but they’ve also brought PhotoBooth Garage Band and iMovie to the iPad as well!
PhotoBooth is all the fun you’re familiar with but now the effects can be manipulated by sliding your fingers around. iMovie is a lot like the iPhone version but really seems to take advantage of the larger screen by including many enhanced controls.
Even more exciting for me is the all new Garage Band app for iPad. You can use the included software instruments or plug in your own just like you can on the Mac!
The New Smart Cover
In addition to the new iPad, Apple unveiled new “Smart Covers” to protect your iPad. They cover up only the screen of the iPad and auto-align using magnets. The magnets also tell the iPad when to wake/sleep so that the device will automatically wake up when you pull the cover off.
Further, the cover folds up and doubles as a stand!
iPad 3: Later This Year?
Now that we’ve got you all hyped up about the iPad 2, it’s worth noting that many sources are reporting that yet another version of the iPad will be released as early as September. Supposedly, today’s update was intentionally kept fairly mild while the real surprises are in store for the iPad 3.
However, no matter how many times I read this rumor, and it’s everywhere right now, I just can’t stomach the thought of Apple releasing another update that soon (nor would I call this a minor update!). Customers who are still getting used to their shiny, new iPad 2 would no doubt be furious to see an update in September. After the outcry from Apple’s debacle with dropping the original iPhone’s price just months after the release, I imagine they’ll shy away from this type of tactic!
What Do You Think?
Leave a comment below and let us know what you think of the iPad 2. Is it the update you were hoping for? What features are you most happy with and most disappointed in?
Also, do you think this is just a minor update meant to hold us over until the real treat later this year? Or should we not expect a third iPad until March of next year? We want to hear your thoughts and opinions!