iPad 2 is here and it looks great

Today Steve Jobs introduced the iPad 2 personally during Apple’s special media event in San Francisco. There were few surprises in the device itself, but some very interesting twists in the accessory and software arenas.

The iPad 2 will be available in the US on march 11th and it will come in two colors: black and white.  In a reference to the troubles Apple seems to have thad to ship the white iPhone, Jobs emphasized that the white iPad will be shipping from day one.  The new iPad will have a faster processor (up to 2x) and much a faster graphics processor (up to 9x the current model) in addition to being thinner and lighter.

Both front and rear facing cameras are present on the device and both can be used with the new built-in Face Time application.  Face Time, introduced with the iPhone 4 and also included in the 4th generation iPod Touch, allows users make visual calls. Apple is making the Face Time applications available on the Mac, increasing the number of potential users with which to connect.

Among the truly impressive things in the iPad 2’s presentation was the cover that Apple introduced in order to replace the current iPad case.  The cover has magnetic hinges which not only attract the  iPad but already aligns the cover to the device ensuring the proper placement.  The cover is available in ten different colors which can be seen in the picture bellow.

Just about all covers look great and the magnetic hinges are a fantastic touch as they allow the design of the device to be noticeable.  The current case does a very good job in what it’s actual goal is: to protect the device and prop it up. In the process it totally hides away all design effort that went into making the first generation iPad  a great product.

While Apple did not make the new model iPad any cheaper than the previous one, it did drop the price for the existing iPad models by $100 in the US. This drop for the older generation device is probably targeting the current retail inventory.

Now that would be competitors are entering the market at a higher price point than most iPad models, maintaining the price while reducing the equipment’s size and weight and adding features is again an aggressive move.  In an reference to Motorola’s Xoom tablet, Steve Jobs mentioned that currently only the most high-end of the six iPad models, has a higher price point than the competition.

The release of the iPad 2 will coincide with the release with the next version of iOS: 4.3.  Apple plans to have the iPad 2, already running iOS 4.3, available in 26 countries by March 25th.

With a fully refreshed iPad,  great applications,  a huge pool  of them to choose from, available at a low cost, Apple is poised to dominate the tablet market in 2011, just as it did in 2010.



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