After months of anticipation Apple has introduced the second generation iPad with a faster A5 dual core processor, HD FaceTime camera, redesigned slimmer aluminum shell and Verizon 3G.
During the event Steve Jobs made a rare appearance and introduced the iPad 2 which will be on sale March 11th. The iPad 2 retains the same $499 entry level price and goes toe-to-toe with Motorola’s Xoom, HP’s TouchPad and the Samsung’s Galaxy.
While the iPad is now thinner than the iPhone 4, Apple managed to cram some serious horsepower in to the new tablet. As rumored, the new Apple A5 CPU now powers the iPad and is twice as a fast as the previous generation. In typical Apple fashion the tablet’s specs weren’t detailed and its likely PowerVR’s SGX535 is providing the graphics horsepower.
FaceTime & HD Camera
Since the iPad was introduced mixed reports have surfaced stating technical difficulties caused Apple to abandon its original design which included a front and rear facing camera. The iPad 2 takes a cue from the recent MacBook Pro revamp and now includes a rear facing HD camera that can be used with FaceTime and Photo Booth.
FaceTime camera allowing iOS users to video chat over a Wi-Fi connection. However, the front facing camera is not HD and instead VGA (640 x 480) like the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Redesigned Aluminum Casing
The iPad 2′s redesigned aluminum enclosure is 33% thinner than the previous generation and thinner than the iPhone 4. Despite the decrease in thickness Apple is still able to maintain a 10-hour battery life and cut the weight down to 1.3 pounds.
To complement the case, the redesigned flip cover has been stripped down to protect only the screen. The cover latches on to the iPad magnetically and can put the device to sleep when closed or wake when opened.
Engadget had some hands on time with the iPad 2 and had this to say:
-This thing is insanely fast. We’re not joking — it’s blazingly fast. Everything the iPad 2 does feels like it’s on turbo. We’re uploading a video of the some evidence of this, you’ll be appropriately stunned.
-The design feels great in your hands. Sleek, super thin — much nicer to hold than the previous version. Definitely has more of a magazine than book feel. Everything is tight and solid. It is pretty amazing how thin they’ve gotten the device.
-Even software made for the first generation device feels better here. Safari is definitely sped up. Games looked great on-screen, though obviously there are no updates to the resolution of screen technology here.
-This is an evolutionary step, but we definitely don’t feel like it’s lacking for features. People are going to gobble these up when they see the new apps.