iPad 2 launches in black and white, along with iOS 4.3


image courtesy of AppleOnce again, and despite being on medical leave from Apple, Steve Jobs took the stage to debut the latest iteration of the iPad – the device that single-handedly started a gadget category which it has since come to dominate.

Our very own Marc Saltzman was at the event and got some hands-on time with the iPad 2. Here’s his initial impressions:

And here’s the rundown on what was announced at the event in San Francisco today:

Apple's optional digital AV adapter which enables HDMI output from i-devices

” iPad 2″ officially announced (starting at $499 USD avail. March 11 for U.S., March 25th for most other countries including Canada)

  • A5 dual-core processor
  • “Dramatically faster” says Jobs
  • 2x faster CPU
  • 9x faster Graphics
  • front and rear cameras with the same specs as the iPod Touch (VGA front, 720p rear)
  • same gyroscope as the iPhone and iPod Touch
  • 8.8 mm thick – that’s thinner than an iPhone 4, 1.3 lbs vs. iPad 1’s 1.5 lbs
  • comes in white and black (yes white is actually available this time)
  • same price points as first iPad
  • optional HDMI accessory that enables 1080p output. Good news is that this cable is apparently compatible with a host of iDevices and not just the iPad 2.
  • specially designed magnetic case available which has a microfiber inner lining to clean the screen. Also sleeps and wakes the iPad 2.

iOS 4.3 officially released:

  • Faster web browsing
  • Improved home sharing
  • AirPlay improvements: Photos get all slideshow options, audio and video can be done from all apps and websites too.
  • Personal hotspot for iPhone 4 users
  • Lock switch can be customized: rotation lock or mute function
  • New PhotoBooth software for camera-equipped devices
  • FaceTime now supports the iPad 2, iPhone 4, iPod Touch and any Mac with an isight/facetime camera
  • available March 11

– iMovie for iPad ($4.99, March 11)

– GarageBand for iPad ($4.99 March 11) lets you plug in a guitar and turns your iPad into an 8-track recording studio. It also has a wild selection of virtual instruments you can play, most of which have “magic” options that help you out if you don’t know how to play a single note.

There you have it. Now for some initial impressions while we wait for some hands-on video from Marc…

Is this a must-have upgrade for current iPad owners?

No. In typical Apple fashion, the iPad 2 represents a logical yet incremental set of improvements on an already very well thought-out device. Making it thinner, lighter and faster were must-have improvements in order to make sure that anyone thinking of buying a competing product would keep the iPad at the top of their wish list. Same thing with the dual cameras. Given that every other tablet maker has these features, Apple had to ante-up. But none of these improvements should be driving current iPad owners to list their devices on eBay. Instead, the iPad 2 should be seen as the iPad for those who decided to hold off on the whole tablet space when the original iPad was announced.

The new magnetic case that Apple has designed specifically for the iPad 2

Here in our office, there was a lot of consensus that the lack of cameras was a problem on the initial iPad. Now that they’re included, I think a lot of people who didn’t buy in the first round and have been quietly envying those who did, can now jump on the bandwagon and smugly declare “See? I told you you should have waited” while current owners can equally say “Yeah, yeah, I’m waiting for the iPad 3.” which, given the pervasive rumours, might just be the next big thing from Cupertino.

Interestingly, the original iPad is no longer for sale on Apple’s U.S. site. Yet you can still buy one in Canada and the prices have dropped: It’s now $419 for the base 16GB Wi-Fi model

Curious how the iPad 2 stacks up in the specs department compared to its closest competitors? Engadget has you covered.

What about iOS 4.3?

As a current iPad / iPhone 4 owner, this announcement is almost more exciting. I’ve known for a while that the new OS will enable personal hotspotting on the iPhone – something which I have been eager for. See, I decided to buy the Wi-Fi only iPad, based on the logic that I would be using it mainly at home or at the office, both places where I have Wi-Fi. But there have been times when I’ve regretted that decision. Now, all I need to do is turn on the hotspot on my iPhone and voila – instant connectivity for my iPad or any other Wi-Fi device. Nice! I am however a little confused by Apple’s press release on the enhancement: “The new Personal Hotspot feature in iOS 4.3 lets you bring Wi-Fi with you anywhere you go, by allowing you to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection with up to five devices in a combination of up to three Wi-Fi, three Bluetooth and one USB device.” I’ll have to check this out when it gets released to see if this really means only 3 Wi-Fi connections. Most other devices that have this feature including the Palm (HP) Pre 2, allow up to 5 Wi-Fi connections.

Also, letting apps and websites run audio and video through AirPlay is a huge improvement. AirPlay lets you stream content from your iOS device to your Apple TV, but until now, the only apps that could do this were the embedded audio, video and photos apps. Want to stream any other app? You were out of luck. Great improvement here.

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38 comments

  1. Brian

    If Apple really wants to impress me, make an item that is as slimmer, as faster, and has as many options as it possibly can so it isn’t outdated by the time I pay the credit card bill at the end of the month from the first version I bought.

    One can’t tell me that while they are putting this one into the market, they already have design changes and improvements for the next model already in place and ready for production.

    I do realize that there is technical advancements being made all the time, as I am not stupid. But, with the speed they are whipping out changes to their market versions, makes me believe they do this on purpose to make people spend more money. They want everyone globally to change their products like we change underwear, so their profits soar.

    Like

    • BOLONY

      WELL, DUH. MAKING LOTS OF MONEY LETS THEM CONSTANTLY UPDATE. I LOVE THAT THERE IS ALWAYS AND OPTION FOR THE PERSON WHO NEEDS THE LASTEST AND GREATEST OR WHO IS LOOKING TO SAVE A BUCK BUYING THE PREVIOUS VERSION. BEST WAY TO DOMINATE THE WHOLE MARKET. NOW PUT UR PROFITS INTO YOUR SUPPORT BECAUSE ITS ABSOLUTLY HORRIBLE (FROM EXPERIENCE)

      Like

    • cocotel

      Very well said, Brian. (Not sure what DJ is talking about re: use of English language. Maybe he/she can only absorb one-sentence comments!)

      Like

    • booya

      you can’t complain about it being a racket, that’s capitalism.
      i have no beef against a very innovative and successful company. apple can apply this pricing formula because their products are very successful and innovative, and people want them.
      that’s the beauty of capitalism. either rail against monopolies or keep using a typewriter.

      Like

  2. Nightrider

    Public walks right into and plays into the hands of Apple and Steve Jobs. OK, look at a touch PC (there are many makes, HP to name one) has same and more functionalities and sells for the same price. Why would I buy a iPod2? For bragging rights? No thanks. If they sell it around $399 for a 64 MB model ok, they got my attention. Otherwise they have to do better. Sorry this did not excite me.

    Like

    • Amy

      People, listen up! There is fierce competition out there so Apple wants to be ahead of the competition. That is why it is slimmer and has a little more BUT they kept it at the same price as the first IPad. I say good for Apple and why not make changes to it. Apple thought about the economy and kept it at the same price as the first one. Applaud them in this one, stop procastinating and complaining!

      Like

    • George

      Yes, it is all shifty.But also it is a survival amongst fierce competition! Let’s be grateful for what we have!
      That who do not appreciate what he has doesn’t deserve what he could have!

      Like

    • Oberstaber

      You are a spoiled kid of this consumer society who doen’t know what you are talking about. Developing such a technology with years of research and with such a love for details is something ONLY Apple can do. And then you want to dump it into the market so every schmack can buy it for a few bucks is Windows mentality and will not fly with Apple. They are one of the few companies in the world who not only concentrate on technology alone but at the same time on the human factor , art and other aspects. If you don’t get it then buy a Samsung and see why all the others are just losers.

      Like

  3. Larry

    Still no optical drive, cant play a dvd or blu-ray? this is supposed to be cutting-edge technology. Cant even play a memory card. Its an ipod on steroids and cost is way too high. Again, everything must go through I-Tunes Store. Its called a monopoly. Just like Microsoft keeps getting sued for…apple and microsoft are the same they make their own systems incapatible with everything else out there so you have to keep coming back and buying stuff from them..Seems like apple is especially into this..its called greed not a lack of ability or technology to make various devices work with each other.If they gave me one for free, I’d sell it..

    Like

    • Oberstaber

      Hi Larry,

      you really don’t get it. An optical drive in a device that is fully digitalized and has no mechanical moving parts who are designed fro streaming??? Are you kidding me? Who needs optical drives anymore? However your SD card slot is a very valid point. It’s not overpriced..look how other companies are struggeling to match the price. It’s high tech cutting edge in a very smart package. If you would get it for free you would start liking it..despite the fact it has NO OPTICAL drive ???!!!!

      Like

  4. BBJack

    I gotta start eatin’ more hamburgers so I can wear a set of real wide ass pants with pockets big enough to put the damn thing in. At least my laptop has a shoulder strap carrying case and a whole lot of other stuff for half the money, Jeesh!

    Like

  5. booya

    you can’t complain about it being a racket, that’s capitalism.
    i have no beef against a very innovative and successful company. apple can apply this pricing formula because their products are very successful and innovative, and people want them.
    that’s the beauty of capitalism. either rail against monopolies or keep using a typewriter.

    Like

  6. DJ

    Really Cocotel? You have no problems with Brian’s use of English? In that case you must be as illiterate, or worse….

    Like

  7. me

    No SD card? No thanks. I might get an iPad when they have expandable memory, until then I’ll pass.

    Like

  8. Darin

    I just bought an ipad 3 weeks ago online and its on the way… now theres a ipad 2 out soon i am fusturated because theres a better one coming out and i bet its about the same price as the reg. ipad . anway to return the ipad and change it for the ipad 2 and i can pay the difference if there is any. damn

    Like

  9. SteadyEddy

    LOL, love the comment from BBJack about start eatin’ more hamburgers and wide ass pants with big pockets. I almost fell off my chair! (picture it>

    Folks, this is what makes America the most powerful country on this planet… its called: CAPITALISM! onless you wanna have it like Fidel Castro likes it.

    Like

  10. artsycreation

    Until they make a model that is easier to hold and use this item is useless. Way to big and easier to carry around a laptop that’s not as easy to break. For crying out loud where’s the multi colour ipads, geesh.

    Like

  11. Wildrover

    DJ, take a good look at your first response to Brian’s letter.
    A child would know how to properly punctuate a simple sentence. What a big dunce you are!

    Like

    • DJ

      There is absolutely nothing wrong with the punctuation in my first response to Brian’s remarks Wildrover and I do appreciate the comments regarding the article/product. However I find the poor use of language annoying.

      Like

      • Wildrover

        Relax DJ! Perhaps when you attend your next english lesson, they will show you how to express yourself properly, by putting a comma where it belongs. Your writing skills suck!! Without punctuation marks you are just babbling. There is nothing more annoying than poor writing. Dont criticize!!.

        It is a great article/product. However, I will not be joining any stampede to buy the new Ipad.

        Have a nice day now. :-)

        Like

      • DJ

        When the word “but” is used as a conjunction joining two thoughts in a simple compound sentence, it should not be preceded by a comma (just like “and”). There is your English (with capital E) lesson for the day Wildrover.
        Have a nice day yourself.

        Like

      • Wildrover

        Well done DJ. You picked out one of two planted mistakes. I thought you would have jumped all over the capital I in iPad.
        You learn quickly. Watch your butts.

        By the way, unless you have crazy glue stuck to your typing finger, there is only ONE period needed at the end of a sentence.

        I am off to eat an “english muffin”

        Like

  12. alex

    Hi guys , i wished they change the name to something better. Right now it sound like something that the ladies buy at shoppers drug mart.

    Like

  13. DJ

    It is odd Wildrover how you allow yourself to criticize me for criticizing.
    I reluctantly admit that by “planting” mistakes you completely outwitted me. Obviously your superior intelligence is no match for me. I therefore will throw in the towel.
    May I suggest doughnuts in stead of an English muffin…..?

    Like

  14. leor

    i love perusing comments for Apple stories, always such good humour to be found:

    @Brian: your grammar truly is atrocious. your points are correct, but that’s the way technology goes.

    @Larry: an optical drive in a tablet? are you nuts? that would revert back to a thicker and heavier unit. the idea is on-board storage so you *don’t* have to lug around physical media. but i do agree with you on the SD card. however, selling only on the iTunes store does not constitute a monopoly. it’s a simple closed-system, and that’s perfectly within Apple’s rights as a company. plus, the article didn’t mention the billions (yes, with a B) of dollars that developers have earned through the iTunes store.

    @alex: that joke was funny last year, but now it’s a bit tired, don’t you think? :) besides, i’m still not convinced that the word “pad” automatically connotes a feminine product, as opposed to a note pad, or pad of paper.

    @Moto: nice that you like the Motorola product, but it’d would be nicer if you got the name right – it’s Xoom!

    Like

  15. jerylei

    I just bought an ipad 3 weeks ago online and its on the way… now theres a ipad 2 out soon i am fusturated because theres a better one coming out and i bet its about the same price as the reg. ipad . anway to return the ipad and change it for the ipad 2 and i can pay the difference if there is any. but when I want to watch dvd movie on ipad ,the mac dvd to ipad converter to resolve the incompatibilities issue

    Like

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