Jobs on hand as Apple launchesiPad 2

Jobs on hand as Apple launchesiPad 2

Dylan McGrath

3/2/2011 2:44 PM EST

Apple rolled out its second generation iPad tablet device in a press event that included CEO Steve Jobs, who is currently out on medical leave. SAN FRANCISCO—Apple Inc. Wednesday (March 2) rolled out its second generation iPad tablet device in a press event that included CEO Steve Jobs, who is currently out on medical leave.

The iPad 2 is powered by an Apple A5 dual-core processor, the successor to the A4 in the original iPad, which operates up to twice as fast and features up to nine times faster graphics processing speed, according to Apple (Cupertino, Calif.). 

IPad 2 features an entirely new design and is 33 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the original iPad, Apple said.

The device, available March 11, offers the same 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen as the original, according to Apple.
In something of a surprise, Jobs, who has been on medical leave for unspecified reasons since mid January, took center stage at the event, introducing iPad 2 in his typical style.

Jobs said iPad 2 was dramatically faster than the original version and that it is actually thinner than the iPhone 4. “We’ve really gone all out on the graphics performance,” Jobs added.

Apple, which was criticized for not including a camera in the original iPad, has added two cameras to the second-generation product: a front-facing VGA camera for and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video, according to the company.
The iPad2 offers the same maximum battery life of up to 10 hours that the original iPad offered, according to Apple. IPad 2 is available in black or white and runs on both AT&T and Verizon networks, Apple said.

“While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we’re launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again,” Jobs said.

Apple, which launched the original iPad 13 months ago and has since sold more than 15 million, is expected to continue to dominate the tablet market in 2011 with an estimated 70 percent market share, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli. But the company now faces a slew of competitors from the likes of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co., Research in Motion Ltd. and Motorola Mobility Inc., which last week launched the Xoom media tablet, considered by some the first true iPad competitor.

Michael Walkley, a technology analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said Wednesday that iPad 2’s features and pricing should be effective relative to competitive products.

“We believe Apple will continue to hold dominant market share of the fast-growing tablet market despite increased competition,” Walkley said.

Pricing for the iPad 2 is the same as the original iPad.

WiFi versions of iPad are priced at $499 for a 16GB model,

$599 for a 32GB model and

$699 for a 64GB model, Apple said.

Models offering both WiFi and 3G connectivity

will be priced at $629 for the 16GB model,

$729 for the 32GB model and

$829 for the 64GB model, Apple said.

The iPad 2 will run iOS 4.3, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

The new OS offers several upgrades, including faster Safari mobile browsing performance, iTunes Home Sharing and enhancements to Apple’s AirPlay music streaming technology, Apple said.