You knew it was coming—and now it’s here. This week, Apple announced the iPad 2, the much anticipated follow-up to Apple’s very first iOS-based tablet. As with all gadgets that hail from the hallowed halls of the Cupertino tech trend setter, speculations about the iPad 2’s tech specs, improvements and features flew wildly. So, which of the predictions where prescient and which were wishful thinking? Read on to find out.
Introducing the Smart Cover
Hello, iPad 2 Smart Cover! That wheezing sound you just heard was the bubble being burst over all the third-party iPad cover/iPad sleeve manufacturers. Apple now has an official cover that protects the screen, looks sporty in 15 fun colors and 2 materials (polyurethane and leather) and perfectly conforms to the iPad 2’s surface. Not only that, the device automatically sleeps when you close it. It even rolls up into a little stand to give you a little incline for ergonomic typing and better hands-free viewing. It’s not included with the iPad 2, but for just $39 it can be yours.
One of the most perplexing omissions from the iPad 1 was the camera. In a world where iPod Touches, iPhones and even a generation of iPod Nanos had cameras, the granddaddy of iOS device lacking one seemed nonsensical. Well, Apple has since corrected the perhaps calculated withholding and now offers a front-facing VGA camera (for self-portraits and video chat) and another camera capable of shooting 30 FPS 720p video on the back.
Let the Games Begin
The much touted gyroscope included in the most recent generation of iPod Touches and the iPhone 4 is now available on the iPad 2, making it even more responsive to tilting, rotating and other motion sensing. Plus, the processor has been upped to an A5 dual-core processor, making it allegedly 9x faster. This is going to be most exciting for gamers, as it really opens doors for the iPad 2 in terms of graphics, performance and control.
10 Hour Battery Life
The iPad 2 isn’t just faster, it’s more efficient, too. Apple claims that you’ll get up to 10 hours of battery life on your new iPad 2.
The new iPad 2 is about .3 pounds lighter than the iPad 1 (that’s roughly equivalent to 26 quarters) and is thinner by .16 inches. They say the difference is noticeable—you’ll have to see for yourself, though.
Can You Hear Me Now?
The 3G version of the iPad 2 is now available on the Verizon network as well as AT&T. No 4G support yet, though. Bummer.
The iPad 2 costs $499 for the 16 GB WiFi version and $629 for the 3G 16 GB version. Good news, though—if you just bought an iPad 1, you get $100 back from Apple. You can use that money towards an iPad 2 or just keep it and feel less angry that they just released a better, faster, smaller version.
The iPad 2 will be available to order on March 11.