By 3 March 2011 | Categories: news


As was expected Apple unveiled its follow up to the ultrapopular iPad yesterday, during a  special event held in San Francisco, California. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, taking a break off his medical leave, was on hand to introduce the device. 
New model, same display
One of the most intriguing aspects about the iPad 2 is its new sleeker design, 33% thinner and up to 15% lighter than the original model. The new version sports the same 9.7" LED-backlit LCD screen and not a new retina touch-screen, as featured on the iPhone 4,  that was rumoured pre-launch (only a handful of publications, including The Wall Street Journal stated that the new iPad will utilise the same display as the previous one).  
New hardware
What is new though (besides the design) is Apple’s new dual-core A5 processor enabling a smoother and faster processing and graphics performance. Also new are two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for apps such as FaceTime for Wi-Fi video calls, and a rear-facing camera that can capture HD-ready (720p) video.
Cupertino also stated that the even though the iPad 2 is more powerful, it will still deliver up to ten hours of battery life. The iPad 2 is available in either black or white, with users also being able to add some colour by purchasing the newly introduced iPad 2 Smart Cover that will be available in a range of colours.
New software
iPad 2 operates on Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system (OS), iOS 4.3, which boasts some new functionality including faster browsing performance via the Safari browser.
Also new is the iTunes Home Sharing feature that enables users to play music, movies as well as TV shows on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch from their iTunes library on a Mac or PC via a local Wi-Fi network.
iOS 4.3 brings enhancements to AirPlay, the wireless technology that allows users to stream multimedia content to their Apple TVs. By employing iOS 4.3 users will have access to new AirPlay functionality such as the ability to stream additional content from third party apps and websites to their TVs.
Also worth a mention is Personal Hotspot (as featured on some Android smartphones), allowing users to share an iPhone 4 data connection with up to five devices over Wi-Fi. The iPad 2 also features a built-in gyro included for added motion-based gaming functionality, HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds, and HDMI Video Mirroring that enables users to mirror their iPad display on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.
“With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO who made a surprise appearance at the launch event.
“While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we’re launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again,” Jobs boasted.
Apple’s iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on 11 March in the US for a suggested retail price of $499 (about R3436) for the 16 GB model, $599 (approx. R4125) for the 32 GB model, and $699 (around R4814) for the 64 GB model. 
The Wi-Fi + 3G models will set users back by $629 (approx. R4332) for the 16 GB model, $729 (around R5020) for the 32 GB model and $829 (about R5709) for the 64 GB model.
The company did also state that its iPad 2 will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on 25 March.
It will also become available in many more countries around the globe within the coming months, with further availability and pricing info being announced at a later date. No word yet on when the iPad 2 will be making its way to SA.


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