Today, March 2, 2011, Apple launched the second-generation iPad featuring an entirely new design, a new dual-core A5 processor, two cameras - a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth, and a rear-facing camera capable of shooting 720p HD video - and up to 10 hours of battery life.
iPad 2 will be available on March 11 in black and white, Apple said today. It comes with support for both AT&T’s and Verizon’s 3G networks, and is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad.
Alongside iPad 2, Apple also introduced its Smart Covers, which come in a range of colors, whether customers choose the $39 polyurethane version, or the $69 leather model.
The tablet will ship with iOS 4.3 pre-installed.
Also previewed during today’s iPad 2 event in San Francisco, iOS 4.3 is touted by Apple as being “the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system.”
It brings a faster Safari browser, iTunes Home Sharing, enhancements to AirPlay, and an option to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio, to name some key enhancements.
For iPhone 4 users, iOS 4.3 also brings the Personal Hotspot feature, which enables them to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi, effectively turning the handset into a WiFi hostspot.
Hardware-wise, the iPad 2 also comes with a built-in gyroscope for advanced gaming, HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds on iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G on AT&T, and HDMI Video Mirroring, which requires an adaptor that Apple sells for $39.
“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.”
iPad 2 is set to launch in the U.S. March 11th starting at $499 for the 16GB WiFi-only model. The 3G-capable version starts at $629 for the 16GB model. The rest of the world gets iPad 2 on March 25th, Apple said.