Today Apple announced the iPad 2, the second tablet powered by the iOS. Aside from a 30% slimmer form factor and front and rear cameras, the new iPad is quite similar to its predecessor in design.
Perhaps the biggest iPad 2 change is its processor; as guessed, the iPad 2 has a faster, dual-core A5 processor (clock-speed unknown). Processing power is about twice that of the 1st Gen iPad, and graphics performance is said to be up to 9-times faster in some situations. First-hand video shows the new A5 SoC to be quite speedy, from everything to normal tasks to games and video. Presumably the RAM has also been bumped up from the current iPad’s 256MB, but this information was not published. We’ll have to wait for a teardown to know more.
As also as previously suspected, the iPad 2 has two cameras, a front-facing camera for FaceTime video chats and a new app called Photo Booth, and a rear-facing camera for shooting photos and HD video. A version of iMovie will be made available in the App Store for editing video shot on the iPad 2.
As we predicted in January, the screen is not a Retina-class model; in fact, it remains unchanged, at least in terms of size and resolution, but the iPad 2’s multi-touch display is constructed in such a way that the image is closer to the surface glass, much like the iPhone 4.
There are no USB or SD card ports, but you can output video and other onscreen content by way of HDMI with an optional dongle called the Digital AV Adapter, which will set you back $40. This will surely be a widely-used accessory in classrooms and meetings.
Battery life remains at 10 hours per charge, which is impressive given the bumps in processing and graphics power.
The iPad 2 will be available with black or white faces (seen left) and with three unchanged internal storage capacities: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. Each capacity will be sold in a Wi-Fi only version starting at $499 for 16GB and increasing by $100 for each storage bump, and Wi-Fi + 3G models for either AT&T or Verizon Wireless. There are different Wi-Fi + 3G models for AT&T and Verizon, so you’ll need to decide which service you want to use before you purchase. The 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G Model sells for $629 and increase by $100 for 32GB and another $100 for 64GB.
Pre-orders for the iPad 2 are not being accepted; Apple says they’ll start taking orders on March 11th, the same day the iPad 2 will arrive in Apple Stores.