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Apple Inc. launched the second generation tablet computer iPad 2 in the United States on March 11, 2011 and internationally on March 25, 2011. The device is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and has revolutionized tablet technology. 

iPad 2 Launch

Apple Inc. sent out invitations to the press toward the end of February 2011 inviting them to a media event on March 2, 2011. The launch of iPad 2 came as no surprise to the press and the public. The device was revealed at the event, held at Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco, California, United States. The event was aired on television and watched by people across the world. Apple Inc. CEO, Steve Jobs, made an appearance to provide the world a sneak peek of the revolutionary iPad 2 despite being on leave on account of his ailment. iOS 4.3 was also launched at the same event.

The iPad 2 was available on Apple’s website and in retail stores in the USA on March 11, 2001 at 5 pm PST. The opening day sales were phenomenal. In New York, San Francisco, and other major cities retail outlets and Apple stores were sold out by 6 pm PST, within an hour of the  launch. Online sales skyrocketed with shipping being delayed by up to five weeks for those who ordered the tablet five days after the launch.

iPad 2 was officially launched in twenty-five other countries including Australia, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Portugal New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Poland, and Switzerland on March 25, 2011. iPad 2 was released in other countries including Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong on April 29, 2011.

The iPad 2 was originally scheduled to be released in Japan on March 25, 2011 but the earthquake and tsunami in the country, a national crisis, delayed the launch to April 28, 2011.


What's New?

The new iPad 2 is definitely thinner and faster than the original iPad. While the original Apple tablet was about 0.53 inches thick, the second generation iPad 2 is sleeker at about 0.34 inches. The new iPad is also lighter and easier to handle.

The two versions show a marked difference in the speed department. The A5 dual-core processor in iPad 5 fires it with almost double the speed while loading apps and browsing web pages. With sharper graphics and a three-axis gyroscope the iPad 2 experience for gamers is remarkably better than is predecessor.

Not much change has been made to the display of the two versions. The size remains 9.7 inches and the resolution remains unchanged as well. The display of text looks the same in the two devices.

The most remarkable difference between the original iPad and iPad 2 is the addition of cameras. While the iPad had no cameras, Apple decided to add both front and back cameras to their iPad 2 for video calling  and still and video photography. The new iPad does lack a flash, though. More comparison -

FeaturesOriginal iPadiPad 2
Width0.53 inches (approximate)0.34 inches (approximate)
Weight1.9 Pounds (Wi-Fi), 1.6 Pounds (Wi-Fi +3G)1.3 Pounds
Display9.7 inches LED-backlit IPS LCD9.7 inches LED-backlit IPS LCD
Resolution1024 x 768 pixels1024 x 768 pixels
ProcessorApple A4 – 1GHzApple A5 – Dual-core 1GHz
Internal Memory16GB/32GB/64GB16GB/32GB/64GB
Front CameraNoneVGA Still Camera; VGA Video Recording (thirty frames per second)
Rear CameraNoneStill Camera – 5x digital zoom; Video Recording (thirty frames per second) HD 720p with audio
BatteryUp to ten hoursUp to ten hours
Wi-Fi8.2.11 a/b/g/n8.2.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth2.1 with EDR2.1 with EDR
GyroscopeNoneThree - axis
AccelerometerThree - axisThree - axis
GPSYesYes


Specifications and Accessories

Apple Inc.’s revolutionary tablet comes equipped with two cameras (front and rear) for FaceTime (for video calls) and HD video recording. Powered by a 1GHz dual-core A5 chip, the iPad 2 has a battery that can last upto ten hours. The iPad is also powered by an accelerometer and a three-axis gyroscope. Most of the iPad 2 hardware is smaller than the original iPad, because the new model is thinner and lighter than its predecessor. On October 12, 2011, Apple also launched the iOS 5 software to be used by the iPad 2. The software adds over 200 new features to the iOS 4.3 which was launched at the same event as iPad 2. Some of these features including iMessage and the Notification Center with a banner style notification alert have become a big hit with users.

iPad 2 is about 0.34 inch thick and weighs about 1.33 pounds. Apple also designed the iPad new Smart Cover with a magnetic technology. The Smart Cover comes in different colors and protects the iPad without adding to the bulk. And yes, the cover is smart. The iPad goes to sleep when the Smart Cover is closed and wakes when the cover is opened.

Apple released the iCloud storage and cloud computing system on October 12, 2011. iCloud allows for all the documents, music, and videos from the iPad 2 to be synchronized to any Mac, iPod touch and iPhone device owned by its user.  AirPlay allows the iPad 2 to connect with HDTV and speakers without wires and AirPrint allows printing from the iPad using Wi-Fi connectivity.

The new iPad 2 comes with video mirroring and supports both CDMA and GSM technology. It also allows for 3G connectivity. The iPad 2 was well received by the technological world and the sleeker design has made it a rage. The improved performance of the tablet vis-à-vis the older version, due to its dual-core A5 processor, has been its USP. Sales are likely to improve due to the addition of the CDMA compatible version. Most of the criticism is due to the lack of flash and the poor camera resolution making still photography on the iPad 2 less than appealing. Despite the criticism, Apple Inc. had sold over 15 million iPad 2 by the end of March 2011.  

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