The iPad 2 is powered by an Apple A5 chip, a dual-core CPU that somehow consumes the same amount of power as the iPad 1’s A4 unit, but delivers “up to 2X” the speed. This also leads to faster graphics, which Jobs quoted as being “nine times” better than the iPad 1. The A5 is the “first dual-core tablet to ship in volume.”
iPad 2 is just 8.8mm deep, compared to the iPhone 4’s 9.3mm and original iPad’s chunky 13.4mm, and it’s also just 1.3 pounds—much less than the original’s 1.5 mass, and thus way more handler-friendly. It’s coming in both white and black (that’s the glass front bezel, not the aluminum back) and will will launch March 11th in the U.S. and it’ll be available in 26 nations from March 25th.
Pricing may have been the first iPad’s secret killer feature, so Apple’s not messing with the recipe: The Wi-Fi only 16GB iPad 2 will launch at the same $499 as the original, and the most expensive 3G-enabled 64GB version will still cost $829.
EDIT: From Apple’s official press release:
With the new front and rear cameras, iPad 2 users can now make FaceTime calls to millions of iPhone® 4, iPod touch® and Mac® users so they can see family and friends anywhere there is Wi-Fi. Photo Booth lets you apply fun visual effects, including eight photo special effects like Squeeze, Twirl and Kaleidoscope, to photos captured by either camera.
iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, with new features including faster Safari® mobile browsing performance; iTunes® Home Sharing; enhancements to AirPlay®;** the choice to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio; and Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.*** Additional iPad 2 features include a built-in gyro for advanced gaming; HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds on iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G on AT&T, and HDMI Video Mirroring that lets users mirror their iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.
The innovative new iPad 2 Smart Cover provides protection for the iPad screen while maintaining its thin and lightweight profile. Designed with a unique self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove, the new iPad 2 Smart Cover automatically wakes iPad 2 when it’s opened and puts it to sleep when it’s closed, and has a soft microfiber lining to help keep the screen clean. The Smart Cover also folds into a stand for typing or viewing videos and is available in vibrant polyurethane for $39 or rich leather for $69 in a range of colors, including a (PRODUCT) RED one which helps support the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.