Special: iPad Event Coverage

Posted on March 2, 2011

Today Apple introduced the iPad 2, at a special event in San Francisco. Along with the new iPad, which is not only thinner and lighter, but quite a bit more powerful, we got to see a rather healthy-looking Steve Jobs, iOS 4.3, and Garageband & iMovie for the iPad.

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iPad 2

After months of speculation, the iPad 2 was introduced, slated to go on sale March 11, the same day iOS 4.3 ships. What better to sum up the improvements and changes than straight from Apple’s press release:

Apple today introduced iPad 2, the next generation of its magical device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading ebooks and much more. iPad 2 features an entirely new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad, while maintaining the same stunning 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen. iPad 2 features Apple’s new dual-core A5 processor for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics and now includes two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video, bringing the innovative FaceTime feature to iPad users for the first time. Though it is thinner, lighter, faster and packed with new features, iPad 2 still delivers up to 10 hours of battery life* that users have come to expect. iPad 2 is available in black or white, features models that run on AT&T’s and Verizon’s 3G networks, and introduces the innovative iPad 2 Smart Cover in a range of vibrant polyurethane and rich leather colors.

“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.”

With the new front and rear cameras, iPad 2 users can now make FaceTime calls to millions of iPhone 4, iPod touch and Mac users so they can see family and friends anywhere there is Wi-Fi. Photo Booth lets you apply fun visual effects, including eight photo special effects like Squeeze, Twirl and Kaleidoscope, to photos captured by either camera.

…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 on AT&T, and HDMI Video Mirroring that lets users mirror their iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.

iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G compatible with the Verizon network will be available in the US only for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model.

iPad Smart Covers

The iPad 2 also received some rather cool covers for the screen, held on by magnets:

The innovative new iPad 2 Smart Cover provides protection for the iPad screen while maintaining its thin and lightweight profile. Designed with a unique self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove, the new iPad 2 Smart Cover automatically wakes iPad 2 when it’s opened and puts it to sleep when it’s closed, and has a soft microfiber lining to help keep the screen clean. The Smart Cover also folds into a stand for typing or viewing videos and is available in vibrant polyurethane for $39 or rich leather for $69 in a range of colors, including a (PRODUCT) RED one which helps support the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

iOS 4.3

Apple also previewed iOS 4.3, which is due on the 11th, as well:

iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, with new features including faster Safari mobile browsing performance; iTunes Home Sharing; enhancements to AirPlay; the choice to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio; and Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.

GarageBand / iMovie

Finally, GarageBand and iMovie both have found their way to the iPad, for $5 each:

…With iMovie, iPad 2 users can shoot and edit videos right on their iPad and post their movies to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and their MobileMe℠ gallery; watch them on their iPod, iPhone or iPad; as well as view them on their HDTV using AirPlay and Apple TV. GarageBand turns your iPad 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.

GarageBand runs on an iPad 2 only, while iMovie runs on an iPad 2, iPhone 4, or iPod touch 4. What is surprising of the iMovie requirement is that the first-generation iPad has a lot in common with the iPod touch 4, yet is not included.

This post has been filed in News and Special Coverage