Today was the big day, the day of the announcement from Apple about the new iPad 2. The best news of the day is that Steve Jobs made a surprise appearance on stage, back temporarily from his medical leave, from Apple to announce the iPad 2. But about the iPad 2…
As usual with Apple products, the new iPad is thinner, lighter and better than the previous generation. The iPad 2 is 1/3 thinner than the original iPad, 8.8mm vs. 13.4mm. In fact, the iPad 2 is thinner than the iPhone 4, which is 9.3mm, and the weight of the iPad has dropped from 1.5lbs to 1.3lbs. The standby battery life has improved too, lasting for a month. With iPad 2 use, the battery life remains at a healthy ten hours, the same as the original iPad.
What’s particularly impressive about the decrease in size and weight and the increased battery life is the many features that were added to the iPad 2. The iPad 2 gets two cameras, front and back, and can take HD videos. The iPad 2 uses a new dual core chip that delivers nine times faster graphics than the original iPad. And the iPad 2 contains a gyroscope, handy for certain apps.
The iPad 2 has HDMI out (with a special cable, $39, sold separately) and introduces video mirroring so whatever is on your iPad 2 screen can also be shown on your tv.
The best news for some? The iPad 2 will be available in either black or white from Day 1. Yes, some people care passionately about such matters.
When is Day 1? Day 1 in the US is March 11 and March 25 in 26 other countries. The iPad 2 will go on sale in the US at 5pm, Eastern Time, at Apple Stores and will be available for order online at that time. Pre-orders will not be taken. I’m thinking Apple wants the longest lines possible at their stores to avoid the embarrassing coverage of the short lines at the Verizon stores on iPhone launch day.
What doesn’t the iPad 2 have? No mention was made of memory which, at 256mb, is paltry compared to the 1GB Xoom (translation, the Xoom has four times the memory). There was no increase in hard drive space either, with the iPad being offered at 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, but 64GB should be plenty of space for most people. There is no flash for the camera so forget about taking pictures or video in a dark room.
With the iPhone 4 having Retina Display (a very sharp looking screen), many were predicting that the iPad 2 screen would be a higher resolution than the original iPad, but the screen resolution is the same on both models.
The iPad will be available with Wi-Fi only or with 3G and Wi-Fi for $150 extra. There are 3G models that will be compatible with either GSM (AT&T) or CDMA (Verizon) networks.
Pricing remains the same as it was with the previous iPad, another amazing feat with the iPad 2 offering many more features than the original iPad. Steve Jobs also pointed out that five out of the six iPad 2 models were priced below $799 (the price of the Xoom).
- iPad 2 16g WiFi: $499
- iPad 2 32g WiFi: $599
- iPad 2 64g WiFi: $699
- iPad 2 16g WiFi + 3G: $629
- iPad 2 32g WiFi + 3G: $629
- iPad 2 64g WiFi + 3G: $729
A very cool accessory was also introduced, the iPad 2 cover. The cover attaches to the side of the iPad magnetically and covers the screen only. The cover folds back to act as a stand. The iPad 2 goes to sleep when the cover is on it and wakes up when you fold the cover back (why can’t Apple invent baby products?). The colors are beautiful and the price is reasonable ($39 for polyurethane, $69 for leather), I just don’t know if the cover will offer enough protection from drops and scratches.
Apple will also be offering the original iPad at discounted prices:
- iPad 16g WiFi: $399
- iPad 32g WiFi: $499
- iPad 64g WiFi: $599
- iPad 16g WiFi + 3G: $529
- iPad 32g WiFi + 3G: $629
- iPad 64g WiFi + 3G: $729
These prices are $100 off the original price of the iPad and the price of the iPad 2, so you probably will be able to get the original model at a better price on eBay.
Am I excited? Yes.
Am I disappointed? Yes.
Do I crave an iPad 2? Yes.
Will the iPad 2 be as successful as the original iPad? No.
Why no? Because Apple sold 15 million units of the original iPad in the first nine months on the market when the iPad didn’t have any competition. People now have a choice between the iPad 2 and the Motorola Xoom (running Android). HP’s TouchSmart, Blackberry’s PlayBook and other Android tablets are coming to market within the next year. Are the iPad 2’s features and pricing enough to compete against the other tablets? Only time will tell. I predict Apple will keep its lead in tablet sales, but its current 90% market share will be very difficult to maintain.
What are your thoughts about the iPad 2 announcement? Do the new features make you crave an iPad 2? Is the iPad 2 for you?
Android Tech News
In a stroke of poor timing, Google has just announced that 21 apps have been pulled from the Android Market because the apps had malware (short for malicious software) and were pulling personal data from the phones while adding extra code to the phones. Here is a link to the article from Mashable that lists the malware apps with advice what to do if you had downloaded one of the free apps.