The Apple iPad 2 Is Here!

March 2, 2011
Jill taylor

Apple unveiled the iPad 2 today. It has a slimmer, lighter design, a video camera, and a faster processor.

As I write this blog post, I’m waiting for the Apple iPad2 launch event to start, so I can watch Jason Chen cover the event live on Gizmodo. The Apple community has been abuzz today, enthusiastically speculating about and analyzing an iPad 2 mock up spied online on Ebay just hours before the official announcement.

There’s a serious amount of hype that swirls around Apple events, and this one is no exception. I’ve heard people lament that as of today, their practically new iPads are rendered technologically out of date (the first was CNN’s Kiran Chetry on American Morning), which is amazing when you remember that the iPad launched just last year. It has so successfully invaded our popular culture that it doesn’t seem as though it could possibly be that new. Yet, it is.

Physicians have embraced the iPad since its early days and companies catering to the healthcare market have taken note. Adding to an already hefty list of applications available to physicians on Apple mobile products, GE announced this year at HIMSS that its EHR offerings are now available on both the iPhone and iPad.

Now, back to the Apple event… everyone suspected that it would surround the iPad, and indeed, Steve Jobs confirmed that on stage. According to Jobs, there were 15 billion iPads sold in 2010 and the Apps Store offers 65,000 applications for the iPad.

The iPad 2 has an all-new design that includes the anticipated dual core processor and better speed with the same 10-hour battery life of the previous model. It has a video cam, is thinner (by 33%) and lighter (by 0.2 lbs) than the iPad, is available for AT&T and Verizon, and… retails for the exact same price.

Yep, there’s no price increase. March 11, 2011 (ship date) has turned out to be the holiday season redux for Apple fans.

Some additional bells and whistles: The iPad 2 has a cable being offered for $39.00 for HDMI video output. But here’s an interesting one — a magnetized cover (called a Smart Cover) that signals the iPad to turn on (removal) or sleep (screen covered). It is available in five colors in either polyurethane or leather, and evidently can be used as more than a cover -- it’s designed to bend at certain angles so that it can act as a prop/stand for the device.

iOS 4.3 improvements were also announced, including Safari performance and AirTime. Video conferencing (via FaceTime) is now available on the iPad. Apple’s video editing app, iMovie, has been added, and voice-overs can be performed straight on to the iPad 2. And for the bargain price of $4.99, aspiring recording artists can have GarageBand, complete with “smart instruments” that anyone can play.

I decided not to buy the original iPad because it functionally felt too much like a very large iPod Touch. Now -- especially with all the new apps that have quickly become available -- it’s looking more like a lifestyle tool that attends to both business and pleasure, which I think is what Apple is going for.

What do you think… did Apple just hit another home run?