Apple's iPad made
a pretty big splash when it hit the market last year (15M sold in 2010). It
arguably brought tablets to the mainstream consumer market despite claims from
many that it was nothing more than a large iPhone/iPod touch. Apple has laughed
all the way to the bank as iPad sales
have ballooned to make it one of the most lucrative segments of its
business ($9.5B in revenue for 2010).
Today, Apple is looking to build upon the
success of its first generation tablet now that the competition is finally
catching up (see Motorola
Xoom) and none other than Steve Jobs was on hand to announce the iPad 2.
The iPad 2 doesn't deviate very far from the original formula, but it does add
a few notable advancements over its predecessor including:
In a move that was foreshadowed late last year
began selling iPads bundled with its MiFi portable hotspots, there are versions of the iPad 2 that will work on either Verizon or AT&T’s wireless networks.
Pricing for the iPad 2 stays the same as before (starting at $499) –
storage capacities also haven’t budged (16GB, 32GB, 64GB). The iPad 2 will launch March 11.
Perhaps more interesting than the iPad itself is the new Smart Cover that Apple is debuting with the iPad 2. Available in multiple colors, the Smart Cover attaches to the iPad 2 with magnets and folds down to cover the screen, or can fold back to allow the iPad 2 to be used standing up.
The Smart Cover will wake the iPad 2 when you open it, and put the iPad 2 to sleep when you close it (obviously taking advantage of the new proximity sensor). It will be priced at $39 for the polyurethane version and $69 for the leather version.
Other things to take from the Apple keynote: