The next generation of the iPad, the iPad 2, has been long-awaited. There have been countless rumors, thousands of pictures, dozens of videos. These rumors all ended on March 2nd.
On March 2nd, the iPad 2 was officially announced by Apple. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who was on medical leave, took the stage looking healthy and told the world what 2011 would be the year of. The answer: 2011 will be the year of iPad 2.
So what is the iPad 2, and what makes it better than the original iPad? The iPad 2 is thinner, lighter, and faster than it’s predecessor. It has many new features, including a front and rear facing camera, the choice between a black and a white model, faster processor and graphics, and the ability to mirror everything on your iPad screen and send it to your HDTV via the $39 HDMI adapter.
iPad 2 is available in 3G and WiFi versions. Both come in 16, 32, and 64 GB models. The iPad 2′s 3G model will be available through both Verizon and AT&T.
The iPad 2 weighs in at 1.33 pounds, about a fourth lighter than the original iPad. This makes it easier to hold, which could be a deciding factor in whether to buy the device or not.
When Apple announced the original iPad last year, it had a case ready for it on day 1. This year, instead of a case, they are doing a screen cover called the Smart Cover. The Smart Cover is made of 4 hard, rectangular pieces, covered by either Polyurethane or leather material, which can fold nicely into a stand for either typing or watching movies. The cases are available in 10 colors, at either $39 for the Polyurethane, or $69 for the leather.
Another new feature in iOS 4.3 is iTunes Home Sharing. Home Sharing allows users to stream their entire iTunes library through a shared Wi-Fi connection. This would eliminate the need to sync, but if you were ever to leave your house with your iOS device, your content would not come with you.
Overall, the iPad 2 is a sleek and thin device with many cool features. Starting at $499, the iPad 2 is a good buy for someone who wants a new tablet PC. Both the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3 become available March 11. Check out the gallery after the break.