iPad 2 makes its Debut
Device is thinner, lighter and has front and rear-facing cameras
Apple has launched the much-awaited iPad 2, the next generation of its tablet device designed for both entertainment and business.
The iPad 2 features a brand new thinner design that is 33% slimmer and 15% lighter than the first model.
"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." The device features a 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen, a dual-core A5 processor and both front and rear cameras.
The front-facing VGA camera is designed to be used with FaceTime, Apple's video chat application for iPhone 4, iPod touch and Mac and also with Photo Booth, Apple's creative photo editing suite.
The rear-facing camera is capable of recording 720p HD video and the next-generation tablet also delivers up to 10 hours of battery life.
iPad 2 is available in black or white, or a user can purchase an iPad 2 Smart Cover in several bright colours. The new Smart Cover is designed to provide protection for the iPad and has a self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove. The iPad 2 Smart Cover also automatically wakes iPad 2 when it's opened and puts it to sleep when it's closed, and has a soft microfibre lining to help keep the screen clean. The Smart Cover can be folded out to be used as a stand to view video or to type.
iPad 2 comes with several new features including the new fast iOS 4.3 operating system, faster Safari mobile browsing performance, iTunes Home Sharing, enhancements to AirPlay, the choice to use the iPad side switch to lock the screen rotation or mute audio, and Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.
Additional iPad 2 features include a built-in gyro for advanced gaming, HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds on iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, and HDMI Video Mirroring that lets users mirror their iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.
Apple also introduced two new apps: iMovie and GarageBand for iPad, both available on the App Store.
iMovie is designed to allow users to shoot and edit videos on their iPad and post their movies to various social networking sites or watch them on an iPod, iPhone or iPad; as well as view them on their HDTV using AirPlay and Apple TV.
GarageBand turns the iPad 2 into a collection of touch instruments and 8-track recording studio, allowing you to perform with onscreen keyboards, guitars, drums and basses using multi-touch gestures-even if you don't play a musical instrument.
iPad 2 is compatible with almost all of the thousands of apps available on the App Store and there are over 65,000 native iPad apps available in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel, according to Apple.
The iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 for a suggested US retail price of $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model, $699 for the 64GB model.
The iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 for the 64GB model.
iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G compatible with the Verizon network will be available in the US only. The iPad 2 will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on March 25.
Apple will announce more launches in more countries later in the year.