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Apple Announces the iPad 2, iOS 4.3, Photobooth, iMovie and GarageBand

Yesterday (2nd March 2011), Apple announced the 2nd generation of their groundbreaking tablet device, the iPad 2.

The first surprise of the day was that Steve Jobs took the stage at the event. Steve is currently on health related leave and although there was rumours of his attendance, he wasn’t expected to be there. His entry was accompanied by cheers and applause.

As usual, the first order of the day was some updates and statistics:

  • There are now 2,500 books in the iBookstore and since opening, there have been over 100 million downloads.
  • There is a new addition, Random House with 17,000 books
  • There are now over 200 million iTunes accounts
  • $2,000,000,000 has been paid to developers
  • 100 million iPhones have been sold
  • Steve then proceeded to announce the iPad 2 and the following features:

  • New Apple A5 Chip – Dual Core, 2x faster CPU, 9x faster graphics and same low power usage as the current, single core A4 chip
  • Front and rear cameras
  • Gyroscope
  • 33% thinner (13.4mm down to 8.8mm)
  • Black and White versions available
  • Available on AT&T and Verizon (GSM and CDMA)
  • Same 10 hour battery life
  • Same pricing (starting from $499)
  • Available 11th March in the US and 25th March in 25 other countries, including the UK
  • To accompany the new iPad, the following new accessories were announced:

  • HDMI Video Adapter ($39) – this gives a 1080p mirrored video output which supports rotation and works with all applications
  • Smart Covers – these are a new cover which doubles up as a stand. Included are magnets which grasp and auto align, adds minimal weight and thickness, micro-fibre lining cleans screen, wake on open & sleep on close, easy to remove or change and available in polyurethane ($39) or leather ($69).
  • The new wasn’t just about the iPad, Apple also announced the release of iOS 4.3, including:

  • Safari performance improvements – Nitro JavaScript engine
  • iTunes Home Sharing Improvements
  • AirPlay Improvements
  • Preference for iPad switch (mute or rotation selection)
  • Personal Hotspot (iPhone 4)
  • New Photo Booth Software
  • Available 11th March for iPad, iPhone (GSM) and ipod touch (3rd and 4th gen)
  • Alongside the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3, Apple have been working on some new applications both available on the 11th March priced at $4.99 each:

  • iMovie
  • Garageband
  • Sadly, despite the rumours, there was no mention of changes to Mobile Me or any mention of iOS 5.

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