Today Steve Jobs introduced the much-anticipated iPad 2. We live-blogged the launch event, and I've gotta say, even though I already have a first-generation iPad, I want one of these. So what's new with the iPad 2? Rather than bore you with all the details, here's the stuff that I found really notable.
In the first 9 months since the introduction of the iPad, Apple sold 15 million of them. That's more than all Tablet PCs sold by anyone, EVER! Clearly the iPad has struck a chord, and Steve Jobs attributes this to the blending of technology and simplicity. Jobs's describes the iPad as a “post-PC” device, where most of the tablet competitors see themselves as smaller versions of PCs.
In addition, there are 65,000 apps available for the iPad. Contrast that with a measly 100 for the Google Honeycomb. Enough said.
iPad 2 Performance
The iPad 2 is the first tablet to run a dual core processor. The same battery life, but twice the CPU power. They've also upgraded the iPad graphics — it's now nine times faster.
The White iPad
While I'd never buy a white iPad, apparently some people have been holding out for this. A white model will ship at the same time as the black model this time. Meh.
Front and Rear Cameras and Facetime
Like the iPhone 4, the iPad 2 has both front and rear facing cameras. No surprise there, but it's great to see Facetime working on the iPad. Soon you will be able to have a video call with anyone with an iPhone, iPad or Mac.
The Price Remains the Same
All of the increased power and capability comes at the same pricing as the original iPad. $499 for the 16 GB wifi version. The iPad 2 goes on sale at Apple Stores at 5pm on March 11, 2011. Obviously any existing supply of the first generation iPads will be discounted, but there was no announcement at the press conference.
HDMI Support with Full Mirroring
HDMI support is one of my favorite new features. The iPad 2 has an available HDMI out cable plus the ability to mirror the entire display to an external monitor or television. I was dumbfounded when I discovered this wasn't possible on the first-gen iPad, and it's long overdue. Now I won't need my laptop to do presentations in front of an audience. This is huge.
In concert with the launch of the iPad 2, Apple will be releasing iOS 4.3 for the iPhone and other devices. The killer feature? iOS 4.3 adds personal hotspot functionality to your iPhone 4! This is huge! It means that if you already have an iPhone 4, you really don't need to get an iPad with 3G; wifi-only will suffice. This is the way it should be. How many damn mobile data plans do you need, anyway?
They demonstrated some great new apps for the iPad 2, including iMovie and GarageBand. Both looked absolutely amazing and were priced at only $4.99.
There is also a new Smart Cover for the iPad 2 that wakes the iPad when you open it. It's a clever design, as you can see in this video.
Those were the hot items in today's conference. As it stands, I'm looking at getting one soon.
What are your thoughts on the iPad 2? Are you ready to buy? Still not convinced? Trading up your first-gen iPad?
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