Today in San Francisco and before a global audience, Steve Jobs once again conjured Apple magic.
In response to countless copycats of Apple’s wildly successful iPad (15 million sold to date), Apple introduced the iPad 2—effectively raising the stakes in the tablet PC war. The iPad 2 has been the source of crazed speculation by industry insiders and fanatical consumers; it’s also received much-deserved attention from both app developers and gamers.
So how much is the iPad 2 and when can you get your hands on it? The device will hit U.S. stores on Friday, March 11, 2011, with no pre-orders available this time around. Unfortunately, if you want one, you’re going to have to line up with all the other iPad fanatics who are awaiting the 5 pm unveiling. The iPad 2 will retail starting at $499 for the 16GB WiFi version and go up from there ($499, $599, $699 for WiFi 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, $629, $729 and $829 for 3G versions). The iPad 2 will have something to offer everyone.
App Developers Have Power to Spare
iPad’s cosmetic changes disguise a powerful engine. iPad 2 is more streamlined, sleeker—it’s now 8.8 mm thick compared to 13.4 mm (for comparison purposes, the iPhone is 9.3 mm thick)—and lighter in weight: 1.3 pounds, down from 1.5.
- A significant boost in processing power, thanks to the iPad 2’s new A5 processor. Apple maintains that the dual-core processor delivers CPU performance that’s twice as fast, and generates graphics which are nine times better. This is also the first dual-core processor to ship in volume.
- More RAM to support the new processor.
New iPad 2 Features
The iPad 2 has more than processing power under the hood:
- One of the iPad 2’s new features—its front-facing camera—may not mean much to gamers yet, but will in the future. Imagine using applications that support “augmented reality,” like the Nintendo 3DS (go to 2:18 in the video).
- HDMI Video out ($39) supports apps up to 1080p (and requires no set-up or configuration). It also charges the iPad at the same time.
- Black or White models shipping on Day One.
- Smart Covers. Protect your iPad with style. Check out the new Smart Covers.
Apple also used the event to announce an update to its iDevice operating system. iOS 4.3 will update the OS that runs both iPad and iPhone. IOS 4.3 will feature:
- Stream wirelessly from your remote Mac.
- Improved AirPlay for iOS 4.3.
- Share photos, using transitions from Apple TV.
- New iPad switch preferences: mute or lock rotation.
- Personal hotspot. Currently available only to iPhone 4 customers, this allows you to share your iPhone 3G connection for use with other devices via Wifi.
Gamers Have an Axis to Grind
Gamers can expect control and interface improvements to an already great mobile gaming platform. Like the technology in the PlayStation 3 controller, a new gyroscope in the iPad 2 ramps up game play by utilizing a three-axis system to balance character motion—making the action more lifelike.
Smart Covers are available in polyurethane, with the last five colors (light beige through red) in leather.
New iPad Apps
Gamers and app developers aren’t the only ones that will be happy with the iPad 2′s new features. Digital media creators everywhere are eager to get their hands on it, and here’s why:
Apple also announced the Garage Band app for the iPad. Apple’s sophisticated music production software includes touch instruments, guitar amps, loops and more—like a “Smart Instruments” feature. This helps guide users who haven’t learned to play music through a recording session. Playing along on the iPad keyboard? The accelerometer determines how loud the sound is based on how hard you touch the screen. Add to that some 250+ Loops, plus the ability to email ACC file of your songs and you’ve got a totally mobile 8-track recording and mixing studio. Garage Band will be available for download for $4.99 on March 11—and it will be compatible with the Mac version. Garage Band will definitely open the door to those wanting to learn music production.
Likewise, since the Mac platform is the world standard for video editing, Apple also announced it was bringing iMovie to the iPad as well. The app will sell for $4.99 and also be available March 11. Users can directly upload videos to Vimeo, CNN iReport, YouTube and add sound effects, voice overs and other cool video edits. It’s like learning to use Final Cut Pro, albeit a mini version.
It should be no surprise that many industry insiders noted the iPad is quickly becoming a productivity tool in addition to being a media-consumption device.
The one disappointing bit of news was the lack of any announcement related to the much-vaunted Retina display (which supplies the same dazzling resolution seen on the iPhone 4). It had been rumored to be integrated into the iPad 2’s design but it turns out the boost in resolution would have required considerable amounts of extra RAM to handle the extra processing.
App Developers Get Ready
Regardless of anything it may be missing, app developers are eager to see the iPad 2 hit stores, as the new iDevice promises to set the standard for touch tablets. The Apple App Store is an extremely exciting (and profitable) marketplace and the iPad promises to grow it even more. Are you interested in developing apps for the iPad?
Digital Media Academy, the world’s #1 Technology Summer Camp and Digital Media Training Center offers several summer camp programs for future Apple app developers. Take, for example, App Development for Apple iDevices, a program that teaches you how to develop for the iOS. In addition, DMA features courses in 3D Game Development for iPhone and Android devices. The mobile computing market is only getting bigger: What better time to become an app developer than now? Apple uses the same development kit for all iDevices, and the official Apple iOS powers the iPad 2 and is used in all of DMA’s programs.
Will you buy an iPad 2? Do you want to become an app developer? What kind of game or application would you make?
SIGN IN TO LEAVE A COMMENT -or- SHARE THIS ARTICLE WITH OTHERS: