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iPad 2, On Sale In Australia on March 25

Apple unveils iPad 2, on sale in Australia on March 25

By Patrick Stafford
Thursday, 03 March 2011

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs fronted a press event this morning to unveil the iPad 2, an updated version of the company’s flagship tablet device that is set to launch in America as early as next week and in Australia on March 25.

 

The new gadget sports a thinner design, two cameras, including a rear-facing lens that captures high definition video at 720p, a faster CPU and an optional cover that snaps on the front of the iPad like a magnet.

 

Jobs also announced – to much applause – that the iPad 2 will ship in white, as some rumours had predicted.


 

 

The biggest surprise of the night was Jobs himself. He was not expected to appear at all as he is still officially on medical leave, but he entered the room to a standing ovation.

 

“We’ve been working on this project for a while, and I just didn’t want to miss this,” he said.

 

“When we introduced the iPad, we said it was our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device,” he said at the start of the event.

 

“People laughed at us for calling it magical – but it’s turned out to be magical. People didn’t necessarily agree with the price – but ask our competitors now”.

 

The iPad 2 features an A5 processor, which Apple says is twice as fast as the original iPad, along with graphics nine times as fast. The new built-in gyroscope will surely be welcomed by game designers, along with the thinner design – it’s only 8.8mm thick, thinner than the iPhone 4.

 

The new cameras will allow users to take video, or use the new FaceTime feature. Now, Apple says, FaceTime users on iPhones, Macs and iPads can take part in video conferences.

 

The iPad 2 will weigh 0.68kg for the Wi-Fi model, and 0.73kg for the Wi-Fi + 3G model.

 

Jobs also addressed pricing. He said that given iPad’s competitors are up around the $US799 mark, he feels comfortable in shipping the iPad 2 for the same price models as the original iPad. Here are the Australian prices:

  • 16GB Wi-Fi - $629
  • 32GB Wi-Fi - $759
  • 64GB Wi-Fi - $879
  • 16GB 3G - $799
  • 32GB 3G - $928
  • 64GB 3G - $1,049

As for the original iPad, the Australian Apple store has been updated this morning and it is clear the first version will see a significant price decrease.

 

The original iPad now costs:

  • 16GB Wi-Fi - $449
  • 32GB Wi-Fi - $579
  • 64GB Wi-Fi - $689
  • 16GB 3G - $598
  • 32GB 3G - $729
  • 64GB 3G - $839

The iPad 2 will also come with a number of new accessories – but by far the most impressive of these is the new smart cover.

 

Jobs said that with the original iPad, “We spent all this time creating a beautiful device and then covered it up with a case”. The new smart cover fixes that – it’s essentially a cover for the front of device that snaps on to the side with a magnet.

When customers want to use their iPad 2, they start rolling up the case, and the iPad automatically detects when this happens and turns the screen on by itself. Users can roll up the case into a triangle shape and use it as a stand for typing or using the cameras.

 

Each time the case is opened it also cleans any smudges or fingerprints as well.

 

The new covers come in either polyurethane, (the same material in space suits), or leather, for $US39 or $US69 respectively.

 

Apple also announced the next version of the iOS software, version 4.3. The new update, which is free for iPhone and iPad users and will cost a small fee for iPod Touch users, features enhancements to Home Sharing and some other changes for hardware personalisation.

 

iPad users can now use the side switch to lock the screen rotation or mute audio, while iPhone 4 users now have access to a personal hotspot that can share a mobile internet connection over Wi-Fi, although Apple says carriers will need to be on board.

 

This means users can connect their Wi-Fi iPad to an iPhone 4 using a wireless hotspot to access the internet through a mobile connection.

 

The iOS 4.3 update will also bring updates to AirPlay which allows users to stream music and video to Apple TV.

 

Jobs also showed off some updates to the iMovie app, and introduced the new Garage Band for iPad app. This music recording software is a staple for DIY musicians and will allow them to plug in instruments and record on eight tracks. It will cost $US4.99 and be available on March 11.

 

As always, Jobs showed off some impressive new stats.

 

More than 10 billion apps have now been downloaded from the App Store, including 65,000 iPad apps to customers in 60 countries. He bragged that over $US2 billion has been paid out to app developers directly thanks to app sales.

 

Jobs also says Apple now has the biggest database of credit cards on the web – over 200 million Apple accounts.

 

“Amazon doesn’t publish their numbers. But it’s very likely that this is the most accounts with cards anywhere on the internet,” Jobs said.

 

Jobs also said the company has sold over 15 million iPads, and has now sold more than 100 million iPhones.

 

He also addressed the growing number of tablet devices, saying that he believes Apple is taking the right approach and that 2011 will “be the year of iPad 2”.

 

"A lot of folks in this tablet market are rushing in, looking at this as the next PC. Hardware and software are done by different companies, talking about speeds just as they would with PCs. Every bone in our body says this is not the right approach"

 

This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

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