Apple’s hotly anticipated iPad 2 was officially introduced this past Wednesday, and the company will release the device in stores next week. That’s a strong message to competitors: By selling more than 15 million units of the first iPad, and by iterating the next version of the device before most Android tablets actually launch, Apple appears ready to take the tablet market by storm.
Much of iPad 2′s feature set was expected: a front- and rear-facing camera for FaceTime video call support, a new dual-core processor with improved graphics and a device that is overall thinner and lighter. Indeed, the new iPad 2 is only 8.8 millimeters thick — thinner than Apple’s own iPhone 4. Even with this slimmer size — the new device is 0.2 pounds lighter than its predecessor — Apple claims the same 10-hour run time on a single charge. Fashion-forward consumers can choose iPad 2 in either a white or black bezel. And the pricing of last year’s model holds true for iPad 2 as well: Costs range from $499 for a 16-GB Wi-Fi model to $829 for 64 GB of memory and 3G connectivity.
But not everything about iPad 2 was accurately predicted. Instead of a 3G version only for GSM networks, like the original tablet, iPad 2 arrives in a CDMA-compatible model for Verizon Wireless customers. The 7-inch iPad called for by at least one analyst for didn’t materialize, nor did iPad 2 gain a Retina Display. And the star of the product launch may not have been the device itself, but a unique accessory that nobody saw coming: Apple redesigned its iPad case into a folding, magnetic cover that smartly puts the tablet to sleep when the case is fully extended over the screen.