At a live event in San Francisco, Apple today introduced the iPad 2, a thinner, lighter, and more robust successor to the iPad. The iPad 2 improves on many aspects of the original iPad: it's 33 percent thinner, 15 percent lighter, has both front- and rear-facing cameras, and packs a 1GHz A5 dual-core processor that Apple asserts will allow for up to twice the CPU speed and graphics processing that is nine times faster. Other hoped-for features, including a higher-resolution display or access to LTE networks, failed to make the cut, leaving the next iteration room for improvement.
The iPad 2 is 8.8mm thick, and weighs 1.3 pounds, 0.2 less than the first iPad. The back is still made of aluminum, but Apple has given it a less gradual beveled edge. The iPad 2 will be available with a white or black bezel, and Steve Jobs swore a solemn oath at the introduction event that Apple would not repeat the color availability transgressions of the iPhone 4, saying that the white version will ship "from day one."
A 1GHz dual-core A5 processor will power the iPad 2's 1024x768 display. Though the screen's resolution remains the same, Steve Jobs said the iPad 2 would be able to support 1080p video out and mirrored video through an HDMI adapter, which Apple has priced at $39. However, the iPad 2's video codec specs top out at 720p, so it's all but certain that the 1080p output is only upscaled 720p.
The long-awaited front- and rear-facing cameras have been added to the iPad 2, with the rear one able to record 720p video and the front at a VGA resolution. The iPad 2 will be able to get service on either AT&T's HSUPA or Verizon's EVDO network, but customers will have to choose one carrier or the other. Unfortunately, the iPad 2 won't be able to act as a hotspot like the iPhone 4, and no mention was made of support for either carrier's faster LTE networks.