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Meet the official Apple iPad 2 – UK launch 25th March

A few hours have now passed since Steve Jobs was standing on the stage at Yerba Buena presenting the new Apple iPad 2 to the world and we have had a chance to digest the news and presenting you with the official breakdown of the iPad 2.

Meet the iPad 2

When can i buy the new iPad 2 and the price

As announced today the new iPad 2 will actually be available to purchase in the US from the 11th march with the UK and a selection of other countries following on the 25th march. All the rumors about delays in international release of the iPad 2 was put to shame!

In the US the iPad 2 is retaining the same price levels as the original one, and Apple has at the same time cut the price on the original iPad by $100. We have just checked the UK Apple Store online and they are yet to update with iPad 2 UK prices, but they have also reduced the price of the original iPad by at least £100. If they are sticking with the old prices in the UK as well for the new iPad 2, it should be starting at about £430 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version.

We will of course be back with further information about where you can buy the iPad 2, as well as updated best price iPad 2 tables in due time. If you currently own an iPad but are looking to upgrade you can check out our tip on upgrading to iPad 2.

A thinner, lighter, and faster iPad 2

new design for iPad 2

Our expectations in advance of the release of the iPad 2 was of improvements, and in some areas Apple surprised us, such as how much they were actually able to slim down the new iPad 2 compared to the original one.

The Apple iPad 2 is measured in at only 8.8mm thick, which is 1/3 less than the original iPad and actually thinner than the iPhone 4! And its weight is only 1.3 pounds, meaning Apple has been able to reduce the weight of the device by over 600 grams. That should help in some of the critique they have received over the weight of the iPad, especially in terms of a reading device.

In terms of the expected reduction in thickness of the bezel around the screen, it does not look like that has been reduced any. The screen itself is also the same as on the original iPad, a 9.7-inch LED backlit IPS LCD with a resolution of 1024 x 768.

What has changed however is the processor as the new iPad 2 features the A5 dual core 1GHz Apple processor, which according to Apple themselves should give you speeds up to twice as fast as the original, with graphics being up to 9x faster, which is a significant improvement, although not more than most were expecting. No information as of the moment in terms of improvement in RAM, but we will be back with that information as soon as it becomes available.

What is really good is that Apple has been able to make these improvements both in design and performance without it limiting the  battery life, which is said to be the same as on the original iPad – well done!

Dual cameras, facetime, gyroscope, and  iPad smart cover

Apple iPad 2 facetime dual cameras

As expected, and pretty much required by now, Apple announced dual cameras for the iPad 2; a front facing camera for use with facetime, and a back camera that also allows you to shoot video in HD (720p) at up to 30 frames per second. It also works as a still camera with 5x zoom.

Facetime has been one of the key things missing from the original iPad which you will now be able to use on the iPad 2. During the demos on the stage during the event the Facetime feature looked really impressive in terms of quality of the video, so we can’t wait to test it.

A new feature of the iPad 2 is also the addition of the gyroscope that both the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch 4 received last year, but that was missing from the original iPad. The addition of the 3-axis gyroscope together with the accelerometer and the compass means that the iPad 2 will be able to better sense direction and movement, resulting in an improved gaming and mapping experince for the user.

One of the accessories that Apple took a bit of time to present as well was the new iPad smart cover, which both helps protect and clean the screen, as well as works as a stand (to a certain degree). It is made from the same material as the space suits and uses smart magnetic technology to fit perfectly in place and protect the screen. When it covers the screen your iPad 2 goes to sleep, and as soon as you remove it the iPad 2 wakes up again. With 10 bright colors to choose from it could become a popular accessory for the iPad 2.

iOS 4.3 and new apps

Apple also took their time in presenting the new iOS 4.3 which will become available to download on the 11th march through iTunes, and some of the new and improved features it brings, as well as two new apps that will be familiar to the mac owners out there.

iOS 4.3 brings amongst other improved Apple AirPlay features when it comes to sharing photos, and now also videos from third party apps and webpages. A full breakdown of iOS 4.3 features is coming soon.

Two new apps that are coming to the iPad 2, and other iOS 4.3 devices is iMovie and Garage Band. Both apps looked really impressive when demoed on the iPad 2 so we can’t wait to have a play around with both of those apps.

Apple iPad 2 UK prices

Prices are yet to be 100% confirmed, but latest recommended prices from Apple are as follows:

  • iPad 2 16gb wi-fi only – £399
  • iPad 2 32gb wi-fi only – £479
  • iPad 2 64gb wi-fi only – £559
  • iPad 2 16gb 3G – £499
  • iPad 2 32gb 3G – £579
  • iPad 2 64gb 3G – £659

We will be back with further details as soon as they become available, including updated iPad 2 best buy price tables.

Review of the iPad 2

Unfortunately we have not had a chance to have a play around with the new iPad 2 yet, but we will be back with a full breakdown and review once we get some alone time with the iPad 2.

[ratings]

Filed in: Apple iPAD, Lead Story

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