Thinner, lighter, faster Apple launches iPad 2
Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, made a surprise appearance to launch the iPad 2, the latest version of the tablet-style computer, in San Francisco last night. The launch of its improved 'tablet’ sees Apple once again pull ahead of its rivals.
Despite having taken a leave of absence due to ill health, a gaunt-looking Jobs presented the new device to a packed conference centre, saying: “We’ve been working on this product for a while now and I just didn’t want to miss today.” The second generation of the iPad, which goes on sale in the UK on March 25 and in the US on March 11, has two cameras built into the rear and front of the device, both of which take photos and shoot video. The new device comes preloaded with a new app called Photo Booth, which allows people to take distorted photos of themselves and share them with friends. And users will also be able to use the iPad 2 to video call friends who have either an iPad 2, an iPhone 4 or the latest iPod Touch, using Apple Facetime.
The iPad 2 is one third thinner than the first device and is slightly lighter. It will also be available in white for the first time, as well as the standard black. Apple has kept the pricing the same, with the cheapest model at $499. Jobs said that Apple has installed a new chip inside the iPad 2 which makes the device run up to two times faster than the original iPad. The new chip also allows graphics to load up to nine times faster than the first device. The iPad 2 will also run off the latest Apple operating system, iOS 4.3.
The technology company has also developed a new “smart” case for the iPad 2 which, as well as protecting the large screen, doubles as a stand so people can watch movies with greater ease. The new case hooks on to the hinges of the iPad 2 and folds up into a stand. Users will have to purchase the case separately. Jobs announced that Apple sold 15 million of the original iPads during 2010 and that he hoped 2011 would be “the year of the iPad 2”, in spite of the many more tablet devices coming on to the market.
With so many units sold by Apple, it’s no surprise that the competition wanted to get in on the act. A year on from the launch of the original iPad in the US on Good Friday, 2010, there are now tablet computers everywhere. Toshiba, Asus and even Next – yes, the clothes people – have jumped into the tablet market.