What's New With the iPad 2
10 March 2011

What's New With the iPad 2

When Apple unveiled the first iPad in January, 2010, one of the few knocks against the device was that it lacked cameras on the front and rear of the device to enable video conferencing. Apple’s FaceTime video conferencing technology has proved to be a hi

Apple recently unveiled an updated edition of the company’s popular iPad tablet. Yes the name is "iPad 2" (the sequel).

The new iPad 2 will range in price between $499 USD for a 16 gigabyte version with WiFi technology to a 64 GB model that features WiFi and 3G connectivity for $829 USD (Apple has not disclosed Canadian pricing details but they will likely be similar to the original iPad pricing).

The iPad 2 will go on sale in the United States on March 11 and will roll out to several international markets, including Canada on March 25.

Here are five improvements Apple has included in the second edition of the iPad:

1. Finally, the iPad 2 cameras

When Apple unveiled the first iPad in January, 2010, one of the few knocks against the device was that it lacked cameras on the front and rear of the device to enable video conferencing. Apple’s FaceTime video conferencing technology has proved to be a hit with iPhone and iPod Touch users, so it was only a matter of time before the software was made available to the iPad. The new iPad includes both a VGA camera on the front of the device and a rear facing camera that can record 720p high definition video. Still, the iPad 2 is hardly the first table to include front and rear-facing cameras, a feature which has become somewhat standard on other tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom and Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry PlayBook all include dual HD camera set ups.

2. Less is more

Apple says the iPad 2 is more powerful than its predecessor, with twice the computing power and 9x the graphics power as the original, however, the Cupertino, California-based computer giant has crammed all those updates into a smaller package. The new iPad 2 is both thinner and lighter than its predecessor. The WiFi-only versions of the iPad 2 weigh in at just 601g, down from 680g, while the thickness of the device has shrunk to just 8.8 mm down from 13.4 mm. RIM’s PlayBook — which sports a 7-inch screen that is smaller than the 9.7-inch screen of the iPad 2 — is 10 mm thick, and weighs in at 425 g.

3. I want my iPad 2 TV

No matter how nice the screen is on a tablet, it still can’t compare to the experience of watching a movie on a 40″ flatscreen television. With that in mind, iPad 2 owners will now be able to connect their tablets to their HDTVs through an additional HDMI adapter, that will cost US$89. The new adapter will enable users to mirror their iPad 2 screen on their HDTV.

4. A little splash of colour

Unlike the original iPad, which came only in black, the iPad 2 will be available with either a black or a white border. Both colours will be available at launch, which means Apple shouldn’t have to answer the same kind of questions as it did with the phantom white iPhone. Also on Wednesday, Apple unveiled a new line of iPad cases that the company is calling “Smart Covers.” These new covers are available in a variety of colours and attach themselves to the iPad 2 using magnets. When a user opens the lid of their Smart Cover, the iPad 2 automatically boots up, and when the flap is closed, the device immediately enters sleep mode. The new covers range in price from $39 USD to $69 USD.

5. From content consumption to content creation

Despite the growing popularity of tablets over the past 12 months, devices such as the iPad are used primarily by most consumers for consuming content, such as watching videos, reading digital books and surfing the Web. Outside of posting messages to Twitter and sending the odd email, many users still don’t see tablets as content creation devices. On Wednesday, Apple announced several upgrades to the iOS software platform that powers the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch product lines, including tablet editions of the company’s iMovie video editing software and GarageBand music editing software. With the addition of these new technologies, Apple is moving the iPad into a new era, one where the tablet takes over more of the content creation tasks traditionally performed by a laptop.

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