Apple iPad 2 Introduction: 10 Features That Define This New Model

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-03-02

Apple iPad 2 Introduction: 10 Features That Define This New Model

It took awhile and rumors that ran rampant prior to its announcement were everywhere, but the iPad 2 has officially been revealed. The device boasts a slimmer design, a heftier processor and a new version of iOS 4 to boot. By any measure, it looks to be a fine alternative to any other tablet on the market and could perform just as well at retail as its predecessor.

But amid the flurry of news that came from Apple's March 2 event, some might miss the key features that have helped define the iPad 2. Sure, there's a new iteration of the device, but what makes it special? What makes it important? And perhaps most importantly, what makes it worth a person's hard-earned cash?

After much speculation and prognostication over the past several weeks, the answers came out of the March 2 announcement.

Read on to find out about some of the key features that will come to define the iPad 2 when it launches in the United States on March 11.

1. The dual-core processor

One of the central updates to Apple's iPad 2 is the dual-core A5 processor. According to Apple, the update will deliver twice as much processing power as its predecessor, which should mean substantial improvements in all the apps on the tablet. Admittedly, other tablets, including the Motorola Xoom, come with a dual-core processor. But now that Apple's tablet does as well, those competitors can't point to an improved chip as an advantage for their own devices.

2. The apps

According to Apple, it now has over 65,000 applications designed for the iPad in its App Store. That is extremely important to the success of the company's tablet. Third-party applications help extend the functionality of devices. Considering Apple has the app market wrapped up by a wide margin-it claims Android 3.0 Honeycomb-based devices only have 100 apps available to customers-it will be difficult for competing tablets to make decisive inroads into the iPad's market dominance.

3. Built-in 3G on AT&T and Verizon

One of the key problems with the first-generation iPad is that it only allowed users to connect to the Internet while on the go over AT&T's 3G connection. If they wanted to connect to Verizon's network, they needed an additional product, like the MiFi 2200 Hotspot. Luckily, the iPad 2 comes with the ability for users to connect to either AT&T's 3G network or Verizon's 3G network without the need for any other products. It's a luxury that most customers will be happy to find in their iPad 2s.

4. iOS 4.3

With the launch of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google has made it clear that it's in the tablet game to win. The operating system, which features several interesting features like full browsing and 3D capability, looks like a winner. Apple announced that the iPad 2 will ship with iOS 4.3. That update will offer personal hot spot functionality with the iPhone 4, FaceTime functionality and an improved browsing experience. It's not groundbreaking. But at least for now, it's what consumers will need to compare to Honeycomb.

Apple iPad 2 Fills in Most Feature Gaps

5. The white body

When Apple announced the iPhone 4 last year, the company showed off both a black and white version of the smartphone. To this day, Apple has not sold a white iPhone 4. On March 2, however, it showed off a white iPad that it says will be on store shelves when the iPad launches on March 11. A white iPad might not appeal to the entire market, but having the ability to choose between a black tablet or a white tablet will undoubtedly suit the fancy of some folks.

6. Thinner and lighter means more mobile

Apple is getting serious about mobility. The company's iPad 2 is 33 percent thinner than its predecessor and a few ounces lighter. That difference, while not major, could do wonders for iPad sales. Tablets are about mobility and being able to carry a device around with ease. The smaller and lighter a device is, the better. Apple seems to understand that with the iPad 2.

7. The dual cameras

One of the main problems with the original iPad was its lack of cameras. Consumers couldn't take snapshots or have a video chat with others. Luckily, all that will change with the iPad 2, which will come with both a front- and rear-facing camera. The addition of the cameras extends the appeal of the iPad 2. And it allows customers to have FaceTime video conferences with those on the iPhone 4 and the new iPod Touch. Make no mistake, the iPad 2's dual cameras will be an important factor in consumer buying decisions.

8. Battery life is everything

What good is a tablet if its battery is drained too quickly? The longer a tablet's battery life, the more appealing that device is. It's plain and simple. Apple understands that and according to the company, the iPad 2 will offer 10 hours of battery life. The device's battery will hold up for more than a month on standby. Simply put, the iPad 2 is an efficient platform. And customers should be happy to hear that.

9. The entertainment consideration

At its event on March 2, Apple took time to talk about the entertainment options available to users. For one, the iPad 2 now supports HDMI output, allowing users to have mirrored video output of up to 1080p resolution on their televisions. It works with all apps and even supports rotation. In addition, the iPad 2's iOS 4.3 comes with an improved AirPlay function, letting users access built-in slideshow functions. And now that iMovie and GarageBand will be available to the iPad 2, allowing users to edit video and audio, it's easy to see why the iPad 2 is a worthwhile improvement over its predecessor.

10. Pricing, pricing, pricing

When it's all said and done, consumers want to know that they're getting the best device they can for their budget. In an attempt to appeal to those looking for good deals, Apple has kept iPad 2 pricing the same as its original iPad. So, prices range from $499 to $829. Considering 15 million iPad units sold at that price last year and this year's iPad 2 is even more appealing, it shouldn't surprise anyone if Apple's latest tablet sells extremely well.

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