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Apple’s Media Event with Steve Jobs: iPad 2 released March 11th

It turns out that the biggest surprise is that Steve Jobs was front and center to announce the iPad 2. Steve looked pretty good from the countless pictures taken by Engadget, so that is good to see him up and about. Following various live feeds on the Apple Media Event and it looks like the majority of the leaks were right. Apple will be releasing the officially named iPad 2 on March 11th, less than two weeks. Even though the iPad 2 will not have the retina screen we all hoped for, there is still a pretty impressive list of updates and new adds built into it.

  • First, and this is not a shock, the iPad 2 will come with a dual core processor. Called the A5, the successor to the original A4 will be up to 2x faster than the original iPad and have 9x faster graphics. Apple is also proud to announce that the A5 will have the same power consumption as the A4 with 10 hours of usage time and up to a month on standby.
  • If you were expecting camera you got them. the iPad 2 will have both front and read facing cameras. No specs on the cameras was given during the event that I could find so I will update this later. Facetime has now come to the iPad.
  • Here is a really cool announcement. The iPad 2 will be 33% thinner than the original iPad. The iPad 2 will be 8.8mm thick compared to the original that was 13.4mm thick. Interesting also is that the iPad 2 will also be thinner than the iPhone 4 which is 9.3mm thick. The weight changes only slightly with the iPad 2 weighing in at 1.3 pounds which is .2 less than the 1.5 pound original iPad. And what about the colors? Yes, it is official, there will be a white version folks!
  • Now here is where it really starts getting good and where Steve starts going after Android and the XOOM. The pricing on the iPad 2 will be lower on ever model than the XOOM except one. Wifi only version of the iPad 2 will be 16gb; $499, 32gb: $599, and 64gb will be $699. For the Wifi + 3G versions add $130 to each version listed above. 16gb: $629, 32gb: $729, and 64gb: $829. Ouch that is still a huge nut. $830 dollars which is the version that is only more expensive than the XOOM.
  • Steve continues to go after Android Honeycomb with the iPad 2 Having over 65,000 apps where the XOOM has only 100. Steve says that the original iPad out sold every other Tablet combined with over 15 million units sold from April 2010 to December 2010. Impressive.
  • Moving forward the Apple iPad 2 will have 1080p HDMI out with a cable costing $40.00 bucks. The splitter HDMI Cable will also allow you to charge the device while streaming. The iPad 2 will also have “mirrored video output” as well.
  • Steve then goes on to introduce a cool new cover concept for the iPad 2 that will make use of magnets. It will have bendable joints that can put the iPad 2 into a standing position either in portrait or landscape. The cover as it will be called and not a case because Apple does not want to hide all of their design genius behind a case, will also have a microfiber lining on the screen side to keep it clean. Also when you open the cover, it will  wake the iPad 2 and closing will put it back into sleep mode. The cover will come in both polyurethane or leather and crap pile of colors. $39 dollars and $69 dollars for leather. Not really sure how much I like this cover, but I do admit it’s pretty clever.

Got to wrap up here cause I pressed for time, but here are some other highlights:

  • iOS 4.3 to come on the iPad 2
  • 2 new cameras are shown with the official Facetime app included.
  • They announce personal hotspot on the iPhone 4
  • iMovie for the iPad 2 is announced. $4.99 a month.
  • GarageBand also announced for the iPad 2 which really looks cool!

So I think that this is better news than we expected and it is clear that Apple has put a lot of work into the iPad 2. It was good again to see Steve looking better, regardless of criticisms, we only wish Steve good health. The real question is the iPad 2 going to have enough to make current owners upgrade. At this point I would say yes, I would upgrade. I don’t own an original iPad, but I am definitely in line for the second version. So here is a question for all you current owners of the iPad, are you going to upgrade?

Thanks to Engadget for an awesome job of live streaming.