Apple announces iPad 2: improved design, price unchanged

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Apple has announced the the iPad 2, the company's second-generation tablet. Just like its predecessor, the device will have the same pricing structure:
  • WiFi version: 16GB ($500), 32GB ($600), and 64GB ($700)
  • 3G version: 16GB ($630), 32GB ($730), and 64GB ($830)

The device will start shipping on March 11, 2011 in the US. You will be able to get it in black or white from either AT&T or Verizon. On March 25, it will arrive in 26 other countries.

The iPad 2 is one-third thinner than the first-generation model at just 8.8mm thick. It weighs 1.3 pounds, making it lighter than the original iPad, which weighed 1.5 pounds.

The iPad 2 features a faster dual-core A5 processor which offers up to 9 times faster graphics processing, rear and front facing cameras for recording video, taking photos, and FaceTime video chat. Despite these extras, the power consumption will be the same according to Apple, and the device will sport the same 10-hour battery life.

Apple also detailed two accessories for the iPad 2. A $40 cable will offer mirrored HDMI video out to HDTVs for 1080p high-definition output and will also charge the device. There's also a $70 magnetic "smart cover," which covers the front of the device and locks it. Microfibers on the screen cover will reportedly clean the iPad 2 display, while magnets will automatically align the cover on the screen.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs also took the opportunity to announce that iBooks now has over 200 million registered accounts and has paid out $200 million dollars to publishers. Cupertino sold 15 million iPads in 2010 during the nine months after the launch.


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