Apple Announces The iPad 2 – World Explodes

The biggest surprise that came from today’s special media briefing Apple held wasn’t so much the iPad 2 information, or the fact that iOS 4.3 is getting released next week, but rather that Steve Jobs gave the speech.  That floored just about everyone, including Wall street.

The new iPad is 33% thinner than the original model, and 15% lighter.  It retains the same 9.7” screen and features a dual-core processor, Apple’s A5 CPU.  The iPad 2 also features two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and the just revealed Photo Booth.  It also features a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video.  There will be two models available at launch, both black and white, with the exact same configurations as the original model (WiFi models available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variations.  3G models in the same configurations).  One of the frequently asked questions we get around here is about the battery life, which is exactly the same as the original model, 10 hours of active use and a month in standby mode.

Steve Jobs had the following to say about the iPad 2 during today’s conference.

With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices.  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.

FaceTime allows iPad users to connect with the tens of millions of active users on their iPhones, iPod Touches and Macs.  Photo Booth allows users to apply fun effects to their pictures in real-time.  Anyone with a Mac knows how much fun this app is, and it comes included on the new iPad.

The Smart Cover uses magnets to attach to the iPad. They also act as a nifty stand.

Apple also announced two new apps for the iPad 2, iMovie and Garageband.  iMovie works exactly as its iPhone 4 counterpart does.  You can edit films on the go, and upload them to your favourite movie sites like YouTube.  Garageband is the one that looks extremely impressed.  It includes the full feature set you’ve come to expect from Garageband, including the ability to create songs from pre-installed loops, play your own music via the touch screen and so much more.  Both apps cost $4.99 and will be available when the iPad 2 hit retailers on March 11th.  The suggested retail price is identical to that of the original model, which starts at $499.99 and ramps up to $829.99 for the 64GB 3G model.

As someone who currently owns a launch iPad I’ll admit this new one sounds promising.  Apple even has plans to release a special peripheral that allows you to connect an HDMI cable to the iPad for video out.  That’s good news for all those that actually use the 720p recorder.  I’m still disappointed that Thunderbolt wasn’t included.  Thunderbolt is a new I/O interface that’s double as fast as USB 3.0.  Heck, they could have at least added USB 3.0, no?  USB 2.0?  I know they’re worried about piracy, but they really are limiting themselves.  That and the lack of a proper file manager prevent me from using my iPad as a full PC replacement.  As such I continue to need a desktop computer, but I will admit that my laptop time has diminished greatly since I received my iPad.  For casual internet browsing it remains extremely useful.  If only Flash was available on it and better use of Java…but I digress.

What do you all think of this news?  Running out on March 11th to pick one up?


6 thoughts on “Apple Announces The iPad 2 – World Explodes”

  1. … I’m extremely dissapointed. The screen is the same, and still no flash support. I was intent on getting this if the screen was better than the first gen witch was to me a done deal. but no. what to do what to do lol :)

    1. Not much you can do to be honest. The competitors don’t offer anywhere near the support and have mostly PC-turned-tablet machines. Android shows promise, but still has a long way to go. I too was very surprised by this announcement. Apple are the masters of planned obsolecense and this is becoming more and more clear as time goes on. This iPad is essentially an iPad 1.5, offering the type of upgrades we would expect from the computer market, not a “revolutionary” product.

      I’m starting to think Apple will treat the iPad as they did with the iPhone, one generation is innovative while the next is evolutionary. I suppose we’ll have to wait until late this year or early next year to find out if the iPad 3 is the revolutionary step I thought they were going to do this time around. With Apple it’s usually a safe bet to buy into their new products during the second generation, but that ctainly doesn’t appear to be the case here.

      One thing they announced that looks awesome, GarageBand. They really are blurring the line between a full blown laptop and the iPad. If they would add Flash or some sort of substitute and USB, this would have been a sure thing, even for me…who already owns the first-gen model ;)

  2. I don’t like the fact that Apple releases new devices every year. If you buy a 600 – 1000$ device, I expect it to still be top of the line the year after!

    They always replace them with better features and you’re stuck with your device that’s missing some of the new features.

    1. That’s what the basis of planned obsolescence is all about Pat. When they originally made the iPad it has virtually all the features this one does, except they removed the camera. Sure they site “technical” problems and all that jazz, but to me this is clearly all planned. Steve Jobs has said if you want to have the latest and greatest, be prepared to buy an iPod every year. He simply extended that business model to everything else. Is it working, you bet your ass it is.

  3. It’s still missing the key features that deterred me from buying the first iPad. The lack of USB alone is a big buzz-killer for me. You’ll have to step it up a notch before you get me to put my money down on an iPad, Stevie boy.

    1. USB is one thing, but like I’ve said to many other people, at least add in their latest tech…Thunderbolt. This is a collaboration effort with Intel that is at a minimum twice as fast as USB 3. If they had that, I could at least give them that, but without anything…it just feels a bit rushed to me.

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