Calling 2011 the “year of the iPad 2”, a frail but festive Steve Jobs led the unveiling of the second-generation of Apple’s hit iPad Wednesday night in San Francisco.
“We’ve been working on this product for a while, and I just didn’t want to miss today,” Jobs – who is on an indefinite medical leave – said, and then thanked those in attendance for having him.
The iPad 2 is thinner and lighter (and if you choose so, whiter) than its predecessor. It will ship in black and in white.
The second-generation device also has a new 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 chip and a front-facing and a back-facing camera. It will be on sale in the US starting March 11 and will launch in 26 other countries by March 25. In the US, AT&T and Verizon will carry the new device.
Jobs said that Apple was not resting on its laurels, even though the first iPad was the clear winner in the tablet market last year. He called 2010 “the year of the iPad.”
In his keynote address, Jobs also took a moment to tease skeptics back when they launched the first iPad. “People laughed at us for using the word magical, but you know what? It’s turned out to be magical, right? People weren’t sure that it was an unbelievable price, but, let me tell you, ask our competitors now,” the iconic CEO said.
With the enhancements made to the iPad 2, its processor is twice as fast as the original iPad and its graphics is nine times faster than its predecessor. However, it retains its 10-hour battery life.
Jobs also unveiled two new accessories for the iPad 2: first, an HDMI Digital AV Adapter and second, a “Smart Cover” for the iPad.
The HDMI output allows mirrored video output on compatible displays and the “Smart Cover” is a magnetic snap-on cover for the iPad 2 which wakes the device when peeled open and puts the device on sleep when closed. The clever cover can also be folded to become a typing stand.
The price of the iPad 2 starts at $499 just like the first iPad.