Apple officially introduces iPad 2: A5 chip, 33% thinner, same prices

Summary:After months of waiting and speculation, Apple has officially unveiled the iPad 2 at a special press event in San Francisco today.

After months of waiting and speculation, Apple has officially unveiled the iPad 2 at a special press event in San Francisco today.

[Image Gallery: Apple's iPad 2 Event]

This story will be developing, but here's what has been announced about the much-awaited tablet so far:

  • iOS 4.3
  • All new A5 chip with dual-core processors
  • 2x faster CPU
  • 9x faster graphics
  • Same power consumption rate as A4 chip
  • Dual cameras: Shoots 720p at up to 30fps on the rear and VGA stills on front-facing camera
  • 33% thinner body at 8.8mm
  • Weighs 1.3 pounds
  • Built-in gyroscope
  • Same 10-hour battery life
  • New apps optimized for iPad: iMovie, GarageBand, FaceTime, Photo Booth

And unlike the iPhone 4, CEO Steve Jobs promises that this device will ship in both black and white from day one, with both AT&T and Verizon as 3G carrier options.

While all of these are definite improvements, I'm sure many consumers (myself included) were hoping for a cost drop. However, most of the price tags will remain the same:

  • 16GB Wi-Fi: $499
  • 32GB Wi-Fi: $599
  • 64GB Wi-Fi: $699
  • 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G: $629
  • 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G: $729
  • 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G: $829

Best of all, the iPad 2 is set to launch on March 11, with 26 countries receiving the tablet by March 25. Maybe 2011 really will turn out to be the "year of the iPad 2." We're only two days in, but this is definitely going to be the "month of the iPad 2" at the very least.

Jobs also debuted a few nifty accessories, including an HDMI 1080p output dongle for $39 and a bizarre-looking screen cover that can convert to prop up the iPad. That will be available in a rainbow assortment of colors in polyurethane and leather for $39 and $69 respectively.

This is all very exciting, so check back in a bit to see an evaluation and whether or not I will be buying one myself.

Related coverage on ZDNet:

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPad, Mobility, Networking, Processors

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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