Contrary to the rumors, the new iPad 2 has been improved a lot internally. Faster processor, faster graphics, HDMI Full HD output, the 720p HD camera on the back, the frontal VGA camera… it’s quite a new beast.
• Dual-core 1GHz A5 processor, which is “up to two times faster” than the previous version, Steve says.
• The graphics have been improved too. The GPU goes at nine times the speed as before.
• Same low power consumption as the A4.
• Built-in cameras for photos and video: One for frontal FaceTime videoconferencing and Photobooth (VGA resolution) and one on the back with 720p HD video capability.
• The cameras support the same exposure and focus control as the iPhones: Just tap where you want to focus for video and stills photography.
• It also has a built-in gyroscope, like the iPhone 4.
• They claim that the 25-watt battery’s life is 10 hours “on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music”. Just like before, but in a much thinner package. They also claim one month stand-by time.
• HDMI mirrored video output at 1080p Full HD (the Apple Digital AV Adapter cable costs $39).
• The only thing that remains the same is the 9.7-inch 1024 x 768-pixel IPS display. We were all looking to a higher pixel density, but that will have to wait till the next generation.
• For those who were expecting Thunderbolt support, they will have to wait for a future generation (if it ever comes).
• The Wi-Fi model still lacks a GPS, using Wi-Fi location services.
They are also shipping a new cover, which seems quite ingenious (unlike the hideous cover they had before). It attaches magnetically to the iPad 2 and it covers only the screen, adding minimal weigh and bulk. Inside, it has a microfiber lining to clean the glass every time to move it. You can fold it to hold the iPad 2 in any position you want.
This thing is really pretty. Thinner than the iPhone 4 and 33% thinner than the current iPad. That’s going from 13.4mm (more than a centimeter) to 8.8 millimeters (0.34 inches). For reference, the iPhone 4 is 9.3 millimeters. The weight is going down too: From 1.5 pounds to 1.3 pounds. It also comes in two colors, black and white, “shipping from day one”.
When and how much?
The new iPad will come on March 11 to the US, and the 3G model will be available on both AT&T and Verizon networks. Internationally, the intro date will be March 25 in 26 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and UK.
The prices will remain the same across the line. The Wi-Fi model will come for $499, $599, and $699 for the 16, 32 and 64GB models. The 3G takes that to $629, $729, and $829.