iPad 2 Event Wrap-Up

Yep, today was the day of iPad 2.  And 2011 will be the year of iPad 2 as well.  So, let’s go over all the highlights.

Steve Jobs was onstage!!  Yep, he didn’t want to miss this one.

Random House is now on the iBookStore.  Yes, Virginia (and all my PassPorter buddies), that means books from The Da Vinci Code to The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (and the remainder of the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson, huzzah) are now available to buy and/or download from the iBookStore!!  Hip hip HOORAY!!

Then came the main event: iPad 2.  It is NOT a spec-bump, as a few of us bloggers were quick to say.  It is NOT a first-gen iPad with marginal improvements, again as us bloggers were pretty quick to say.  The 1st-gen iPad will hereafter be called the iPad Prime.

There’s a new processor in it, called the Apple A5, which is a dual-core processor, meaning a 2x faster CPU and 9x faster graphics, with the same low power as the A4 seen in the iPad Prime.  It’s got front- and rear-facing cameras (ehh), BUT the front-facing camera CAN do FaceTime HD in 720p, so I guess that’d work out okay, but until I get my dirty paws on one at the Apple Store, I cannot make a judgement on the cameras.

It’s 33% thinner than the iPad Prime (will fit nicely into my Scottevest I am guessing).  Also, the iPad 2 is 0.2 pounds lighter than the iPad Prime.  Surprisingly, the iPad 2 comes in not one, but two colors: Black as well as (!!) white.

Both colors will be shipping from day one (also very surprising).  There will be 3G models for both AT&T and Verizon from day one (nice job Apple), and the battery life is unchanged from its 10-hour lifespan on the iPad Prime.  Same price points (AAAARGH), at $499/599/699 for the Wi-Fi only models and $529/629/729 for the Wi-Fi + 3G models, and the iPad 2 launches March 11th here in the States, with 26 more countries getting it on the 25th (which is my birthday… and I don’t get the presents this time. sad face).

But, that wasn’t all the new products Apple decided to announce today.

First, they announced an HDMI mirrored video out adaptor for $39.  My guess is that if you have a Mac Pro and a Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro HDMI capture card (only $200 at the Apple Store!), you will be able to screencast your app demonstration, and then be able to place it up online.  Maybe my friends at PassPorter were waiting for exactly that sort of thing to put out an iPad app??  I at least know the hosts of iPad Today on the TWiT network, Leo Laporte and Sarah Lane, will be thrilled, as they’ve had to focus cameras onto iPads and show their hands demoing the iPad apps that they feature!

Second, they announced a Smart Cover that will work with the iPad 2.  It’ll wake up your iPad when you remove the cover, you can set up your Smart Cover however you like, and when you want to stop playing with the iPad 2, you can put the Smart Cover back on.  However, full disclosure for the accident-prone: this thing DOES have magnets in it to keep it all fastened together, so it might be smart to keep this thing away from your hard drive.

Third, they talked about and demoed iOS 4.3, which not only includes features like this and this, but also faster Safari browsing, using your mute/rotation lock switch how YOU choose, Home Sharing, Photo Booth for iPad (uhh… I don’t even use it on my Mac, that’s how excited I am about it on the iPad), and more, available for download March 11th.

Finally, Steve Jobs brought two software engineers up onstage to raise the bar even higher for iPad apps.  First, they showed off iMovie for iPad, which WILL be a universal update (thank goodness), and showcased all that iMovie for iPad can do.  Second, they showed off (IMO one of the coolest apps) Garageband for iPad.  You can make music on the iPad version with touch-based instruments, as well as plug in your own instruments.  Me likey.  Both the iMovie universal update and Garageband for iPad will launch March 11th, so March 11th should be a red letter day for a number of you US Apple fanatics out there.

So, the iPad 2.  I’m impressed with what I saw.  How about you?

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