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iPad 2: The Breakdown

As many of you may know by now, earlier today Apple confirmed the rising swell of rumors by releasing the iPad 2. Apple boasts that it’s “Thinner. Lighter. Faster.” on its website, but what exactly makes this version of the iPad different from the original iPad model? Well, there are a few major changes that make this new iPad stand out as the best tablet computer on the market.

 

First, Apple made a new chip specifically for the iPad 2 that they call the A5. This chip has duel-core processors, which translates to double the speed of the first iPad, and 9 times the graphics speed. This allows for amazing games and faster-loading apps. The new chip plus an LED-backlit display translates to amazing graphics for all of your games and movies on the iPad 2, and absolutely no lag, even in graphic intensive games like Infinity Blade, opening the App Store up to even more graphic intensive games than ever possible before. Apple once again revolutionized the market, creating not only the first tablet with a duel-core processor, but also the most beautiful.

Apple also made the iPad 2 33% thinner than the original iPad. This makes it much more portable than the original, and .2 pounds lighter. Reading ebooks at the beach or taking an all-in-one travel companion with you has never been easier!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most expected updates for the iPad 2 was rear and forward-facing cameras, with FaceTime support built in, and Apple didn’t disappoint. With the new 4.3 software update, not only will FaceTime be added, but PhotoBooth, the iPad equivalent of the Mac app, and iMovie for iPad, which allows you to edit the HD videos you take with your iPad camera, will also be added. PhotoBooth looks almost identical to the Mac version, with the same effects that make this app so fun to play with.

 

Another important update for the iPad 2 is the addition of a gyroscope. This allows the iPad to better track its movement, making games that rely on the accelerometer more accurate and allowing for increased screen-rotation accuracy. If you own the original iPad, you know that it can sometimes be frustrating to lift your iPad up to reorient it when you changed its orientation on a stand, but the gyroscope on the iPad 2 fixes this problem.

 

Surprisingly, Apple claims that the battery life of the iPad 2 is the same as the original iPad, at 10 hours of standard use. This, to quote Steve Jobs, “legendary” battery life is part of what made the iPad so popular

 

Apple also announced its own accessory for the iPad 2, dubbed the Smart Cover, that magnetically attaches to the iPad, acting as a cover, stand, screen cleaner, and screen protector, all in one. When the cover is rolled up, it acts as a stand, both in landscape and portrait, while rolled down it covers and protects the iPad screen. The microfiber lining on the inside of the case cleans your screen when you put it on, and the iPad 2 detects when you are rolling the case on and off and responds by waking itself up. The smart cover comes in polyurethane and leather in a variety of colors.

The iPad 2 starts at $499, with the same pricing model for the original iPad. The 3G model will offer a choice between AT&T or Verizon. Smart Covers are sold separately.

*All images are from apple.com

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iOS 4.2 Software Update Released Today: The Breakdown

If you’ve been to the Apple website recently, you may have noticed┬áthe “iOS 4.2 is here” button under the huge Beatles sign. This seemingly insignificant link is actually a major, much anticipated update for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

What’s so great about this update?

Well, for iPad users, this update is the long awaited entry into the features introduced the the iPhone with the release of iOS 4.0.

Multitasking

That’s right: Multitasking on the iPad. This popular iPhone feature finally makes it way to the iPad and, I have to say, I’m impressed. I have been waiting for this feature to appear on my iPad for a long time, and the wait is finally over. As I do not own an iPhone, I was unfamiliar with this feature, and was surprised at how quickly I learned how to use it and how helpful it really is.

Folders

Folders, another popular iPhone feature, is also making its debut on the iPad. This allows iPad users to keep their apps organized in simple to use folders on the Home screen. This makes it easy to find your favorite apps, as well as prevents you from having to look through 5 pages of apps to find a calculator.

Game Center

Game Center, the iPhone/iPod Touch service that allows you to compete with your friends and see their scores on select applications finally makes its way to the iPad. Now you can finally prove that you are better at Real Racing HD or Flight Control HD than your friends!

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Sure, this is great for iPad users, but what about my iPhone? Well, there are also a couple cool new cross-platform features.

AirPrint

The first of these is AirPrint, the new feature, integrated into specific apps, which allows you to print to any printer shared by a Mac computer. For example, to print a webpage in Safari, all you have to do is touch the button button, then touch print.┬áThis feature first requires you to turn on printer sharing on a Mac computer, so it is pretty much useless for Windows users, but it’s still a pretty neat feature.

AirPlay

A second new feature introduced in iOS 4.2 is AirPlay. This feature allows you to stream digital media wirelessly to your Apple TV. This means that you can instantly switch a movie you are watching on your iPad to your Apple TV when you return home from a trip, or blast your music from your iPod Touch out of your TV’s speakers from any room in the house. It also allows you to play movies and TV shows rented on your iPad or iPhone on your Apple TV, which was impossible to do before. This feature could boost sales of the Apple TV before and during the holiday season, as it adds new and helpful features and ties the Apple TV to Apple’s more successful products.

Find My Device

Find My Device, a cool feature that used to be bundled with the MobileMe suite (which requires a $100 dollar per year subscription), is now offered on the app store for free if you update to iOS 4.2. Although this is incompatible with the iPhone 3GS, this app is very helpful if you misplace your iPhone 4 or iPad.
Find Text

Now you can search for text within Mobile Safari. This feature, although minor, is very helpful and I’m surprised it was not offered on previous versions of iOS.

Overall, this was a very important update for the iPad, and added many new, long awaited features to every Apple iDevice such as printing and streaming to an Apple TV.

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AAPL was up 6.63 points today to close at $313.36 per share.