Just days after Motorola let fly with the Xoom tablet, Apple revealed its second-generation iPad. These two and many others will duke it out for tablet supremacy over the coming months, and consumers will have to wade through a confusing quagmire of prices, plans and features. Meanwhile, Gmail flopped, Android security fizzled and content farms flailed.
The iPad 2 has made its entrance, and by next week it'll go up for grabs. There's been a lot of anticipation for what Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) would do with its next tablet now that rivals have showed up with their own tablets that beat the original iPad's specs -- granted, they were mostly demo units.
Steve Jobs himself showed up to kick off the proceedings. They opened with a reference to iBooks and how Apple just signed on Random House as a participating publisher. Could be a bid to reassure customers who are worried that its strict purchasing rules will squeeze Kindle out of the App Store. Or maybe I'm just paranoid.
Anyway, the new iPad's chassis is lighter and thinner than the previous model's, and Apple finally included a couple of cameras, front and back. iPad 2 also does 1080p HD video output, but not through an HDMI port on the body. You actually have to plug an auxiliary cord into the standard dock to do HDMI out. Cord goes for 40 bucks.
As for the its guts: There's a new dual-core A5 chip, which Apple says doubles its CPU speed over that of the original iPad and offers nine times the graphics processing abilities. And its power usage should be about the same as the old A4.
The iPad 2's price range also stays the same as before. It starts at $500 for the 16 GB, WiFi-only model and goes all the way up to $830 for 64 GB and WiFi plus 3G. There are six options in all, and they all land on March 11.