Apple introduced the latest version of the iPad tablet yesterday and with Forrester predicting that Apple will sell close to 16 million iPads this year, the iPad 2 is a nice incremental bump from it's predecessor.
* A5 dual-core processor which is supposedly twice as fast as the original
* Compared to the first generation iPad, it is approximately 33% Thinner and weighs 1.3 pounds instead of 1.5
* Black and white versions of the device
* Preference switch allows users to select the function of the side switch
* HDMI 1080p Output and Mirror
* 3-Axis Gyro
* The screen resolution is the same 1024x768 'gorgeous' display as the original iPad. Sorry Retina display fans, not yet.
* Front and Rear Cameras that provide the ability for video conferencing but apparently are not the quality of the iPhone 4
* Pricing: The iPad is available within the same price points with the same memory equivalents ($499 to $899). For those interested in the first of the iPad, you can purchase them at a discounted price (16GB iPad for $399 new and $349 refurbished).
Apple also announced the upcoming release of iOS 4.3 that will come standard on the new iPad device. iOS 4.3 includes an updated version of Safari browser that provides a faster experience as well as enhancements to the Home sharing and Airplay, Apple's wireless streaming functionality that allows users to stream photos, music and video to Apple TV. This release includes the Personal Hotspot functionality for the iPhone 4 that was first introduced with the Verizon iPhone and provides for up to 5 devices to connect to the internet using Wi-Fi. The free 4.3 update will be available on March 11th.
If you want a 3G version of the new iPad will need to choose the carrier specific version for Verizon or AT&T. There has been speculation that the iPhone 5 will be a unified device that supports both networks but it hasn't shown up with this release of the iPad.
Apple introduced an innovative new case, available in 10 colors, called a 'Smart Cover' that fits to the device with a magnet and activates the device when opened. You can also fold the new case into a display support to prop the iPad up. The cases are $39 for the regular version and $69 for the leather option.
Overall the iPad 2 is a nice successor to the original device that has defined the tablet industry. Last but not least, if you've been on the fence, here are a few reasons to consider the iPad:
1.) You already are in the Apple Ecosystem: If you have an iPhone and have purchased apps then you can generally use them on the iPad as well.
2.) Price, you can get one cheap: While supplies last, you can get the first iPad for $100 cheaper than the new one and if you prefer the refurbished models, you can pick on up for $150 off the iPad 2 retail price
3.) You don't need a desktop replacement: If you're looking for a simplified way to get Email and browse without lugging around the full laptop, the iPad is terrific.
The iPad 2 will be available on March 11 in the United states and subsequently in more than two dozen countries starting March 26th.