Wednesday Apple announced that the iPad 2 will ship March 11 with prices starting at $499, the same price as the previous iPad. As always our sister site Gottabemoble.com was on top of the coverage. The biggest news is that the iPad 2 will have a new dual core processor, gain a thinner and ligher unibody construction and gain both front and rear facing cameras.
We also found out that the new iPad will have a faster dual core A5 processor which offers twice the performance and nine times the graphics performance without resulting in a lower battery life.
Apple iPad 2 Video:
The overall form factor of the iPad 2 will be about 33% thinner and 15% lighter than the original iPad. However, it will not have a higher resolution display despite what some rumors said. Other things that will not show up are a built-in SD card reader, USB or HDMI ports built into the device itself.
Apple did announce a couple of new accessories. One of those is an HDMI output dongle which will connect to the dock connector and allow users to mirror the display on an external monitor or projector. The connector will also have a port which will allow charging for syncing simultaneously. This will cost $39.
A new case, the Apple Smart Cover, is coming for the iPad 2 which will cover the surface of the screen and magnetically latched onto the device. Creases along the outside of the case will allow the user to literally roll the cover off the screen and position it along the long edge to hold the iPad in a low angle typing mode. It can also be folded in multiple different ways to give different angles of viewing. We nicknamed it the origami case. It will also be $39 and come in numerous colors.
Apple spent a lot of time discussing two new apps that will ship on the same day the iPad is available. The first one is iMovie which will allow users to edit movies right on their iPad. The app has previously been available for the iPhone, but the larger display of the iPad should make it more useful.
GarageBand is an audio editing application that until now has only been available on the Mac. It too is coming to the iPad and both of these will be available March 11 for about five dollars in the App Store.
Not all the news was about the iPad. Jobs and company did mention some of the new features in iOS 4.3. As expected wireless tethering is coming to the iPhone. This has been previously available for the new Verizon iPhone, but it looks like it’s coming to AT&T as well. AT&T has not stated whether they will support it or not. But to compete with Verizon we expect they will for about $20 a month.
Jobs spent a small portion of the first part of the announcement discussing the successes of the past year related to the iPad and other IOS devices. He talked about iBooks and shared the numbers of book sales, at sales, and we learned that Apple spent paid out $2 billion to developers. He also announced that Random House would be bringing thousands of new books to the iBooks Store.
While it is not yet up, we expect that video of the announcement should be available soon on the Apple Events page.