Apple launched the iPad 2 overnight, showing off a thinner, lighter and faster tablet. Steve Jobs stole the show, with his trademark competitive vitriol literally in rude health.
Steve Jobs surprised the world today by appearing in person to present the aptly named iPad 2 and the release of iOS 4.3 at Apple's launch event. The Apple tablet will be released in Australia March 25 and will retain the exact same price matrix as the original tablet - US$499 for the Wi-Fi only 16GB model, up to US$829 for the 64GB model with 3G.Plus:
for a full spec-by-spec comparison of the iPad 2 versus the original iPad, and a run-down on the new features included, see here
The tablet will be available in the US on March 11 and in more than 25 countries on March 25.
The iPad 2 will feature the dual-core A5 processor, alleged to be up to two times faster and with "nine times faster graphics" than the A4. The faster and thinner tablet will maintain the same battery life as the original – 10-hour battery life and over a month of standby.
"What is iPad 2. What have we learned? It is an all-new design. It's a completely new design. And it's dramatically faster. We have a new chip we call A5," said Jobs.
The iPad 2 will have HDMI out which will provide 1080p output, work with all apps and support rotation. The required cable will be available for US$39.
The same gyroscope in the iPhone will be featured in the iPad 2. Another considered "must-have" addition is that the new tablet will be usable while it is charging.
At 8.8mm, the iPad 2 will be thinner than the iPhone 4 and 33% thinner than the iPad. The device will diminish in weight from 680g to 601g (Wi-Fi version). Both black and white-coloured models will be available at launch.
The new Apple product features two cameras with built-in software. FaceTime will allow for calls between an iPad to another iPad, iPhone or Mac. Another camera app displayed was Photo Booth for real-time photo editing.
Several times during the presentation, Jobs took some signature jibes at the competition. Before he announced the product, a screen behind him displayed logos of Android Honeycomb, HP, BlackBerry, Motorola and Samsung along with the statement "2011: Year of the copycats".
He also referred to the iPad's price and that of the competition.
"Now some folks are out there saying they're only a little bit more expensive than us. When you look at this matrix, five of these six are less than $799," Jobs said.
He finished the presentation with the statement that the competition views the tablet market as the next PC market and not as a post-PC market, as they should.
A music app, GarageBand for iPad, was presented, and lets the user create music on a myriad of virtual instruments, can record up to 8 tracks, along with an intuitive editing functionality. It will be available for US$4.99.
A video-editing app, iMovie for iPad, was also on show. The US$4.99 app allows for movie editing, multi-track audio recording, Airplay to Apple TV and audio effects. Sharing options include YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo and more. Jobs also announced that Random House will be bringing over 17,000 books to the iBookstore.
Apple has also done away with cases and introduced a cover to protect the product. The segmented cover sits on the face of the device and could be manipulated to act as a stand. The cover has magnets that allow it to auto align to the surface of the tablet. Poly covers will be US$39 and leather will be US$69.