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Apple iPad 2 raises the bar for tablets

Consumer Reports News: March 02, 2011 02:13 PM

The Apple iPad 2
Photo: courtesy of Apple

The new iPad 2 just announced by Steve Jobs at Apple's event today included some surprises, along with many improvements that were expected. According to Jobs, the tablet, which ships on March 11, will be lighter (1.3 lbs. vs. 1.5 lbs.) than the iPad, 33 percent thinner (8.8 mm vs. 13.4 mm), up to twice as fast using an A5 dual-core processor, and have graphics up to 9 times faster.

As expected, it has both front and rear cameras and the same battery life as the iPad. It will come in two colors—black and white—and there will be models compatible with both the AT&T and Verizon networks. It will also include a gyroscope, as does the iPhone 4.

Other new goodies include a cover ($39 for polyurethane, $69 for leather) that automatically turns the iPad2 on when you remove it, a $39 HDMI-out adapter, and faster JavaScript for the Safari browser.

There are also two new apps for the iPad 2, iMovie and GarageBand. Both will run under the new operating system, iOS4.3, that will ship with the iPad 2 in the US on March 11. Pricing and storage capacities will be the same as the orgiinal iPad. There was no mention of USB ports or SD-card slots.

Pricing will be consistent with the current iPad, with a 16GB, Wi-Fi-only version going for $499, and versions with 3G access via AT&T or Verizon topping out at $829. We'll have more on the iPad 2 soon.

—Jeff Fox

Jeffrey Fox

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