iPad 2: Better, stronger, faster

Fernando Yates

Apple released the much-anticipated iPad 2 on March 11. The tablet sold out at many stores during the weekend, and the wait period for online orders is now weeks long.

Apple has yet to release the total sales numbers at the time of this writing, but many believe that this version of the tablet will be more successful than the original.

Apple announced the new, redesigned iPad March 2 from the the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

The iPad 2, as it was called by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, is a complete redesign from the first tablet that was released nine months ago. The new tablet computer is faster, lighter, and thinner and has two cameras while maintaining the same price points of the the original iPad, starting at $499.

According to Jobs, the new iPad includes models with Wi-Fi and 3G service available from AT&T and Verizon. Jobs also said that the iPad 2 will come in black or in white from day one.

This iPad is faster due to Apple’s new A5 processor. The dual-core processor is two times faster and has a graphical performance that is nine times faster than the first iPad’s A4 chip, but it is still low-power like the A4. The low power consumption maintains the iPad’s 10-hour battery life.

New to this version of the iPad are two cameras, one front-facing and one rear-facing, that allow use of FaceTime. The back camera is a high definition camera that shoots 30 frames per second with audio and has a 5x digital zoom. The front camera is a VGA camera that also shoots at 30 frames.

The design of the pad is now one-third thinner and has sharper edges that the original iPad. As a result of the thinness, this iPad is now lighter, weighing in at 1.3 pounds.

At the event in San Francisco, Jobs also announced updates to the iPad operating system, iOS, which brings improvements to programs such as Safari and iTunes Sharing. Jobs also mentioned a new cover design for the iPad 2 and an HDMI cable adapter.

The event finished with presentations of versions of iMovie and Garage Band, which will sell for $4.99 each.

In typical Apple fashion, everything in the iPad 2 fits together well, and as a result, everything presented will be available March 11.