A bit better
Apple unveiled the successor to its iPad tablet today, logically calling it the iPad 2. While it was more of an evolution than a revolution, it did debut Apple's next SoC - again logically called the A5 - while managing to be 33 percent thinner than the original device.
The not so well-kept surprise was that CEO Steve Jobs himself ran the press event, despite being on medical leave. "We've been working on this product for awhile, and I didn't want to miss it," he announced.
He wasted little time in emphasising how well the original iPad has sold, and how few anyone else has sold, which we'll look at in greater depth in our subsequent analysis.
Onto the iPad 2, the first new thing announced was the A5 chip. It's dual-core this time - almost certainly ARM Cortex A9 - and consequently promises up to 2x the CPU power. More impressive, however, is the claim of up to 9x the graphics performance from what we guess will be an Imagination Technologies POWERVR SGX543 GPU.
There are rear and front cameras, which seems to have been one of the most anticipated features. But no less impressive is that Apple has made the iPad 2 33 percent thinner than the previous one, which means it's now thinner than the iPhone 4. It's also a couple of ounces lighter than its predecessor, but apparently has the same battery life.
Onto the physical appearance - this one will ship in both black and white, which seems to be a big deal. It will also be available via both AT&T and Verizon in the US. All the pricing is the same as before, implying the older one will become cheaper. It will launch in the US on 11 March, which is a good effort, and 26 other countries, including the UK, two weeks later.
There are a couple of new accessories: an HDMI lead and a magnetic cover. The latest version of iOS - Apple's mobile OS - will also launch with this product. Among the features of iOS 4.3 are an improved browser, improved media streaming and personal Wi-Fi hotspots for iPhone 4s. Finally Apple released some new software: Photo Booth image editing, Face Time for iPad, iMovie video editing and a cool-looking Garage Band for iPad.