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Yowza, the iPad 2’s built-in case is pretty nifty. We’re trying not to swarm you with OMG APple, but seriously, check out how they’re solving a design issue AND making a shrewd business grab.

The sleeve, attached with a built-in hinge, closes tight to the front  of the iPad, thanks to magnets. But then, it peels away to become a  support for either typing mode or screen-viewing mode.
The covers will be $39 for a plastic version, and $69 for a leather  version — and, if you think this is a mere cosmetic change, think  again. The iPad and iPhone peripheral markets are worth billions upon  billions. Stealing that thunder and creating a high-margin peripheral  ingeniously integrated with the device is as savvy a business move as a  design move. We bet that integrated case costs about $1 to make, making  it possible the highest margin piece of plastic in the world.

Yowza, the iPad 2’s built-in case is pretty nifty. We’re trying not to swarm you with OMG APple, but seriously, check out how they’re solving a design issue AND making a shrewd business grab.

The sleeve, attached with a built-in hinge, closes tight to the front of the iPad, thanks to magnets. But then, it peels away to become a support for either typing mode or screen-viewing mode.

The covers will be $39 for a plastic version, and $69 for a leather version — and, if you think this is a mere cosmetic change, think again. The iPad and iPhone peripheral markets are worth billions upon billions. Stealing that thunder and creating a high-margin peripheral ingeniously integrated with the device is as savvy a business move as a design move. We bet that integrated case costs about $1 to make, making it possible the highest margin piece of plastic in the world.

IPAD 2 SWAG IT’S HERE

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.

IPAD 2 SWAG IT’S HERE

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.

iPad Rumor Round-Up!

Tempted by awesome end-year sales, did you pick up an iPad for what you thought was a bargain? We hate to break it, but the iPad 2 is probably going to be more swagged out than its predecessor in every single way. Here’s a quick round-up of the most pressing rumors regarding the iPad 2’s design and functionality.

SD card slot again?

Rumors that the iPad 2 will borrow some thinking from the iMac and MacBooks and adopt an SD card slot for storage expansion have come and gone, but now they’re back with a vengeance, thanks to some new ”leaked” iPad 2 protective cases from Chinese manufacturers.

Screen at four times the current resolution?

This is the hottest rumor that’s popped up. Hidden in files within a developer release of a future version of iOS that’ll go into the iPhone and iPad are a number of graphics files that suggest the iPad 2 will have four times as many pixels on its display than currently. This means it’ll have a 2048 by 1536 pixel screen.

Vibrator(!?)

Finally there’s one hint from a parts supplier that the iPad 2 will gain a vibromotor for haptic feedback, like its iPhone cousin. Not big news, and certainly a plausible evolutionary step, but app designers will certainly pay attention to it.

We can’t wait!