Thinner, faster iPad 2 to arrive on March 11 at $499

Feign surprise if you like; today’s iPad 2 announcement was spoiled quite a while ago. Still, now that it’s official, we know the faster, thinner, and lighter tablet will be available on March 11 at the same $499 introductory price as the original iPad. Ready your credit cards.

At the heart of the iPad 2 lies a brand-new Apple A5 system-on-a-chip with two processor cores and, according to Apple, nine times the graphics horsepower of the A4. Despite the faster silicon, Apple has managed to make the iPad 2 33% thinner (0.34") and 13% lighter (1.3 lbs) than the first-gen model, all the while keeping battery life steady at 10 hours. Other additions include rear and front cameras, a built-in gyroscope, and HDMI output capabilities… if you purchase the $39 HDMI adapter cable from Apple. Just don’t look for a high-DPI display—the new iPad’s 9.7" panel still has a 1024×768 resolution.

On the software side of things, Apple is planning to introduce iOS 4.3 for iPads, non-Verizon iPhones, and iPod touch 3G and 4G devices on March 11. The software update will bring quicker JavaScript in Safari, support for streaming iTunes content over Wi-Fi, Facetime capabilities for the new iPad, and a Wi-Fi hotspot feature for the iPhone 4. You’ll be able to choose the function of the iPad’s hardware switch—rotation lock or mute—as well.

Apple will offer the iPad in black and white variants at the same prices as the previous model. That means $499 with Wi-Fi and 16GB of storage capacity, $100 extra for each capacity increase to 32GB or 64GB, and a $130 premium for 3G connectivity. The top-of-the-line, 64GB, 3G-enabled model will set you back $829. Toss in the $39 HDMI adapter and the rather nifty magnetic cover, which also costs $39, and you’re up just over $900. (As you might have guessed, both AT&T and Verizon will offer 3G connectivity.)

Check out Engadget’s live blog for coverage of the announcement. As Wired reported yesterday, this event is tantamount to Apple crashing the Game Developers Conference. Steve Jobs pointed out before the big reveal that the iOS App Store boasts 65,000 apps, including many games, and that iOS developers have made a total of $2 billion so far. Considering the iPad 2’s substantially faster graphics, I think it’s pretty clear Apple is actively trying to draw more game developers toward its platform.

Comments closed
    • crazybus
    • 8 years ago

    iOS 4.3 doesn’t support last year’s 8GB Touch? That’s a bummer. I could definitely use some of the new features and I don’t think they’re too much to ask of the older hardware. I didn’t think Apple would cut off support on a 4.x point release this soon.

    • blastdoor
    • 8 years ago

    It’s game over for the tablet market, folks. Apple has won. There is not a single Android tablet either on the market or even announced that is competitive with the iPad 2 as a whole package of hardware capabilities, price, software, and distribution. The only people buying Android tablets will be avid Apple-haters and the poor gullible friends and relatives of the avid Apple-haters who get duped into buying Android. But beware haters — once bitten, twice shy — this will be the last time your friends and relatives listen to you.

    edit — one other thought — I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Intel become a foundry for Apple. What’s the annual capacity of an Intel fab? Could one fab make 150 million A5s?

    • shank15217
    • 8 years ago

    Getting to the 1 lbs weight class would have worked out better even if it meant slightly smaller screen with the same dpi.

      • trackerben
      • 8 years ago

      Agreed for 9in but no less. The new cameras are useful, but I would gladly accept 2 hours less running life for a pounder. USB port would have been great, even a slightly crippled one so long as it allows using or charging devices off that massive battery pack. A 1280×800 or x1024 screen would have been nice, though.

    • Decelerate
    • 8 years ago

    Damn, wanted better cameras, and Thunderbolt.

    • TEAMSWITCHER
    • 8 years ago

    Apple is freak’n amazing! They are kicking out new products with such ease, finesse, and timeliness. The second gen iPad is gonna crush the first gen tablets from HP, Motorola, and RIM. This isn’t gonna be pretty to watch. Yesterday Microsoft announced that it will demo a Windows 8 Tablet in late June – why even bother? Apple is dominating the industry and I can’t see a single reason to buy a competing device. I think that HP, Motorola, RIM, and Microsoft should just give up on the tablets, and focus on limiting Apple’s success to Desktop and Laptop computers, Portable Media Players, Smarts Phones, and Tablet computers.

    It would be a better strategy than trying to hock pale imitations.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      Is this guy after my job?

    • DrDillyBar
    • 8 years ago

    If a smaller notebook is called a netbook, then shouldn’t these things be referred to as Tiblets?

      • axeman
      • 8 years ago

      Tabletlet?

    • LawrenceofArabia
    • 8 years ago

    Pretty underwhelming all in all. There is a camera now, yay(which the original iPad should have had in the first place). Frankly the most interesting thing in the whole release presentation was the magnetic cover that works with the sleep mode, not the hardware or software.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    Ok the i pad is only a phenomina because there is no competition. Why is it so hard for honey comb to be released and for a company to put tegra 2 in there? The rest should take care of itself, add in 4G connectivity and 10 plus hours of battery life I’m good to go.

      • djgandy
      • 8 years ago

      tegra 2 is old now.

        • mcnabney
        • 8 years ago

        Is Sandy Bridge old too?

        Just because it has been talked about for a long time doesn’t make it old. Tegra 2 is still the fastest processor/GPU that you can buy.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        Your time machine is busted.

    • JMccovery
    • 8 years ago

    Why do I have the feeling that the iPhone 5 will use the A5, and keep the same resolution as the iPhone 4? Also, will there be HSPA/+ support in the iPad 2/iPhone 5?

      • DancinJack
      • 8 years ago

      I’d be okay with that. Whatever they do, I just wish they’d do it before the usual June announcement. I’m on VZW and I WILL not buy an iPhone4 before at least hearing what the iPhone5 has to offer.

      e: I suspect the iPad2 won’t be getting HSPA+ support as that’s considered 4G isn’t it?

      • XaiaX
      • 8 years ago

      Why would you even begin to think they’d change the resolution of the phone now? Unless they changed the size of the device, it’d be completely pointless, since the DPI of that display is at transparency for normal human vision, so there’s nothing to be gained by going denser. And if they did change the resolution, they’d have to deal with all that non-orthogonal scaling mess.

      Which is exactly why they didn’t up the res on the iPad, they’re not going to do that until they can hit 2048×1536 for cheap.

        • JMccovery
        • 8 years ago

        I never said that Apple was going to increase the resolution, I was saying that the iPhone 5 will be an iPhone 4 with the soc from the iPad 2…

    • dashbarron
    • 8 years ago

    I give kudos to Apple for introducing a bunch of software goodies with 4.3 and still keeping the products on schedule.

    The new iPad seems like quite the perky upgrade everyone has guessed, and wanted, since the introduction of the first one. I understand the need to keep the device sleek, thin, and simple, but I’m a bit dissapointed they still don’t have a USB port on this thing 2 or 3; not even a Thunder-thingamajingy.

    The screen could be touched up too, also dissapointed it didn’t make this round of releases.

    And the price? I thought maybe Apple would reduce the price, if just $50 or a $100 to try and seem competitive to-date with other tablets out and on their way (despite the fact that other tabelts are still very pricey).

    Still not a bad update for Apple and attractive product for those wanting to try an Apple tablet, albeit a mighty expensive one.

      • GuruBill
      • 8 years ago

      Guys,

      Now, this is the perfect iPad. I agree, the original iPad was “Gimped”. Not Dual Core, only 256MB RAM (not 512MB RAM), and no camera’s or Gyro. All these features are in there now, PLUS the price is reduced.

      Why?

      Well now with IOS 4.3 you don’t need an iPad with 3G. Just use your iPhone and setup a WiFi Access Point, and voila … access to the internet, everywhere, and you save $129 plus the $15+ monthly fee to the telco.

      You still want a higher rez display and other trinkets? If that was delivered now, people would complain about the price.

      Going without an iPad just became much tougher.

      Bill

        • dashbarron
        • 8 years ago

        Maybe…but I don’t have an iPhone and I’m guessing a lot of other people who are buying one don’t either. Just that simple to tether another Apple product to it, eh?

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        Well, the price isn’t *reduced* but it didn’t go up, which is a pretty mean feat.

      • MrBojangles
      • 8 years ago

      “I thought maybe Apple would reduce the price, if just $50 or a $100 to try and seem competitive to-date”

      ………hahahahahahahhahahaahahhahahahahahahahahah………hahahahahaahhahahahahahahahahahahhaha……
      bbbwaahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahhahahaha……and sigh. Thank you that was the best laugh i’ve had in a long time.

        • dashbarron
        • 8 years ago

        😀

        • defacer
        • 8 years ago

        Yep. Apple has never competed on price; why would they start doing so now? There’s apparently millions upon millions of consumers who think the price is worth it.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 8 years ago

          Yeah, the Xoom is so much cheaper than $630 (base iPad with 3G). Oh wait…

            • defacer
            • 8 years ago

            Uh… I ‘m not sure what your point is here. I did not compare any two products, much less the iPad (which IMO lacks serious competition right now) to the Xoom, which is the first of its kind and thus highly unlikely to be a good yardstick for prices. I just said “Apple products in general are expensive if you just take the feature set into account”.

            Maybe you ‘ve heard of the phrase “Apple tax”?

    • Voldenuit
    • 8 years ago

    I think I’d prefer a 7″ tablet running Honeycomb.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 8 years ago

      Do you have $250?

      [url<]http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nookcolor/index.asp[/url<]

        • Voldenuit
        • 8 years ago

        The wife and I have been interested in getting a nook color for a while, especially since our local library lends out books in epub format. It’s been rooted, but is reportedly a bit slow as a general purpose Android tablet.

        • TEAMSWITCHER
        • 8 years ago

        A friend at work tried to show me his nook color, but using it felt awkward and sluggish. Sure it’s only $250.00 and you can ‘Root’ it (whatever the hell that means) but it’s obviously something dramatically less functional than the iPad. I also seriously doubt that Barnes and Noble have great plans for the device, they are exactly not a tech savvy company.

    • crose
    • 8 years ago

    Can [i<]I[/i<] get some FaceTime with that girl??

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Have you paid your apple tax this year? If so, yes.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        Lol

      • TaBoVilla
      • 8 years ago

      you gonna try’n steal that dude’s chick yo?

    • thudo
    • 8 years ago

    No USB connectivity = No Sale.

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      Doesn’t even have Thunderbolt.

        • ImSpartacus
        • 8 years ago

        I’m still holding out for a Blu-Ray drive.

          • XaiaX
          • 8 years ago

          No fibre channel, no sale.

            • mutarasector
            • 8 years ago

            No Thunderbolt, Blu-Ray, or Fibre-Channel? Don’t tell me it doesn’t have SAS, or it will be an absolute deal breaker for me! 🙂

      • Neutronbeam
      • 8 years ago

      I’m waiting for a keyboard…

        • mutarasector
        • 8 years ago

        you might want to look at Asus’ ‘Slider’ or ‘Tansformer’ then.

        • kyboshed
        • 8 years ago

        Well you can already use a bluetooth keyboard with the ipad.

      • paulWTAMU
      • 8 years ago

      despite the snarky comments I’m in agreement; I want either a USB port or an SD card. Either or is OK.

      • thudo
      • 8 years ago

      Also..

      No Flash = No Sale.

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    Well, there’s the target for everyone, and it’s quite do-able…

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    so. I still don’t want one.

    • blitzy
    • 8 years ago

    finally an ipad 1.0, with decent specs and size… too bad they didnt up the screen resolution a bit.

      • jdaven
      • 8 years ago

      I guess since none of the other competitors are offering a higher res, Apple doesn’t feel compelled. That and the fact that suppliers/technology is not there yet for millions of units.

        • blitzy
        • 8 years ago

        I’m sure they can get higher res screens, they are just saving them for the next product refresh. Apple knows how to milk it

        • mcnabney
        • 8 years ago

        The Xoom is higher resolution.

          • glynor
          • 8 years ago

          The Xoom is $800.

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