A little more than one year ago, Apple unveiled the long awaited and once mythical tablet that promised to change mobile computing as we knew it. Since then, 15 million iPads have been sold. And on Wednesday morning at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California, Apple CEO Steve Jobs returned from medical leave (at least for today) to introduce his company's second generation iPad. "We've been working on this product for a while, and I didn't want to miss today," Jobs said.
Not before taking a slight but effective jab at competing tablets (especially Samsung and Android products ) or critics who initially contended that the iPad was "too expensive," Steve Jobs walked us through the evolution of post-PC products leading up to the iPad. "Many have said this is the most successful consumer product ever launched," Jobs boasted, "Over 90% market share. Our competitors were flummoxed." After rolling footage of what amounted to the iPad's 2010 highlight reel, Steve Jobs got down to business and gave the world what it wanted to see - a look at the new iPad.
Largely meeting expectations, the iPad 2 will sport several key refreshed features, not the least of which is a front-facing camera for FaceTime chats (which were demonstrated on stage) and a rear camera for video. Underscoring the new features is a new sleeker, slimmer design. "It is an all new design," Jobs said, although on first glance it looks remarkably similar to that which we've come to know from the first iPad. "And it's dramatically faster," referencing the new A5 chip, dual processor which will certainly make the tablet faster - upwards of 2x faster on CPU performance and a whopping 9x faster on graphics. "This will be the 1st dual core tablet to ship in volume."
"Having built in all this stuff, one of the striking things about the iPad 2 is that's dramatically thinner. 33% thinner," Jobs added. It's also lighter - down to 1.3 pounds from 1.5 pounds. Other notable bells and whistles include a built-in gyroscope, same as in the iPhone and iPod touch. There's even HDMI mirrored video output at 1080p Full HD. The cable, however, will cost you $39. What's more, in addition to being available in both black and white (white will be available on the first day of availability, BTW), Apple will also make available models that work with both AT&T and Verizon."
Through it all, Jobs says, the iPad 2 will deliver the same 10-hour battery life (a month of standby.) And best of all, the iPad 2 will be available for as low as $499, the same price at which the first gen iPad was introduced. There will be 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, all with 3G options. 3G will be $130 additional on each model. The prices will remain exactly the same across the whole line.
The iPad 2 will begin shipping March 11th to the US. With regard to international launch, we're looking at March 25 for the iPad2's arrival in 26 additional countries. Among them: Canada, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and Spain.
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