The iPad 2 event just took place in San Francisco and it was pretty much what I predicted.; Faster, thinner, lighter, and with cameras.
The iPad 2 is pretty much an iPad 1.5- if you already have one, you won’t necessarily find that many reason to upgrade. It has gotten thinner and lighter, more precisely down to 8.8mm from 13.4. That’s even thinner than the iPhone 4, which makes you wonder if it will break clean in half. The iPad 2 is also slightly lighter at 1.3 pounds instead of the 1.5 pounds of the predecessor. The corners are also rounded to make it look thinner than it is, like the iPod touch and MacBook Air. A white version will also be available from launch to give you that old fashioned Apple design.
As for performance, the new Apple A5 chip is a dual core which means twice the CPU performance. Graphics performance is supposedly going to be 9x faster, but no word on RAM which is what I was waiting to hear about. The battery life will be the same at 10 hours (same size battery).
The iPad 2 will also have cameras, one VGA (640×480) front facing camera for FaceTime and a 720p rear facing one for looking like a dumbass while filming with a 10″ camera. There is also a gyroscope.
Apple is also going to make their own HDMI output cable which uses the dock connector. It has input for a charging cable and the 1080p HDMI output is system-wide and mirrors the iPad. That means you can show off your Angry Birds skills to everyone with a connected TV. If you don’t want wires though, AirPlay will be getting significant improvements in iOS 4.3 and now support wireless streaming from not only any app but also websites.
The second unveiled accessory was an updated Apple case which is pretty peculiar. It’s basically a flip-open lid designed to magnetically attach to the side of the iPad. The magnets will automatically align the “case” (only protects the screen so not really a case) and also allow the case to wake the iPad and put it to sleep, probably with some built in magnetic sensor. So, magnets on the iPad… Seems like Apple wants you to buy their case. Personally I want ont that actually protects the thing though, not just the screen.
Software-wise, Apple will bring iMovie from the iPhone 4/iTouch 4 to the iPad 2 to allow you to edit movies (yeah like we couldn’t do that already). They’re alse releasing GarageBand for the iPad, which is a huge music production app. The apps will be $5 each.
Lastly, the release date. March 11! That’s just about a week. That’s the US date though, most other major countries will get it on March 25th, which still isn’t too far off. The price will be the same as the iPad1 and the same configurations will be offered.
iOS 4.3 will also be out on March 11 if I understood them correctly and that means new features to the current iPad, including a faster browser, optional functionality for the side switch (mute/rotation lock) and AirPlay improvements including the ability to receive (we already have that too, though).
The official specs are already up, but I still can’t find any mention of RAM, the thing I care the most about with this update. Guess they don’t want to admit it’s an issue by stating the improvement? One thing is for sure, it has to be at least 512MB with iMoves and all that running. If that one pans out too then my prediction was spot on, and that makes the iPad 2 a nice upgrade from the previous version but nothing too special. If you want to look through a ton of picture, make sure to check out Engadget.