Apple Refreshes iPad Tablet as Competition Heats Up

Some rights reserved by meedanphotos | http://www.flickr.com/photos/meedan/5356419464/sizes/z/in/photostream/Unless you’ve been on a stranded island for the past year, chances are you are familiar with Apple’s flagship tablet device, the iPad. Less than a year after unveiling the original iPad, Apple releases the iPad 2 tomorrow, which is good – and bad – news for shoppers. For those who waited to take the iPad plunge, this new model is irresistible and offers nearly a dozen more reasons to loosen up your wallet. If you already have an iPad, well, the decision depends on the severity of your iGadget addiction.

What’s New in the 2nd Generation iPad?

Apple has a magical way of consistently improving the quality of their products while packaging the components in a lighter, more compact housing. The new iPad features an upgraded processor, improved design, dual cameras, and a revamped operating system. Sadly, the iPad did not receive a Retina Display like the iPhone 4 and new iPod Touch. Analysts predict Apple will incorporate the Retina design into the iPad 3.

New Custom Built Apple A5 Processor

Let’s face it, until Apple announced the iPad 2, the original iPad was feeling a bit out of date, especially when compared to the iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4G, and Apple TV, which all use Apple’s A4 processor. The new dual-core A5 chip is twice as fast as its predecessor and boasts nine times the graphics power of the first iPad. Interestingly, the new processor uses the same amount of battery life as the A4 chip. For consumers, this means you’ll soon be playing high definition games that leverage the new processing power in ways unseen within the tablet industry.

Front and Rear Facing Cameras

Apple adds the iPad 2 to a growing list of compatible FaceTime devices, which allows users to communicate with one another using front and/or rear-facing cameras. The iPad 2 boasts a front VGA camera like the iPhone 4, which is ideal for video conferencing and talking to relatives. On the flipside, the iPad 2 contains a high definition camera, which captures large, vibrant images and shoots HD-quality video, similar to the iPhone 4.

Apple also updated their iMovie application for iOS, which now supports the iPad 2. Edit your HD videos, add titles, record a custom audio track, and more with the versatile video editor from the comfort of your couch. Users can even export their films to YouTube, share with friends on Facebook, or email films to friends or family. iMovie is available for $4.99 from the Apple App Store. If you already have iMovie for iPhone, you do not need to purchase it separately for the iPad 2.

Lighter, Thinner Design

If you’ve ever used a clunky tablet PC, you probably thought the original iPad weighed next to nothing. Well, Apple has outdone themselves again with the iPad 2, which is 33 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the iPad 1. Besides the front and rear-facing cameras, Apple relocated the speaker to the back of the unit, which produces louder, richer sound. How does Apple magically reduce the iPad’s size and weight while keeping the revolutionary 10-hour battery life, which lasts for 30 days on standby? It’s pretty simple: each component strategically fits into the metallic unibody design.

Revamped Operating System with iOS 4.3

Apple continues to vigorously update its iOS platform to keep up with the latest trends. While the original iPad received the iOS 4 treatment, not everyone took the time to upgrade their device.

Stream Your iTunes Media Collection

Are you tired of having to manually sync songs and videos to the iPad? Well, iOS 4.3 includes a nifty feature that allows you to stream your entire media collection to the iPad using your home’s wireless network. Sure, Fandroids will say they’ve had this capability for years, but Apple’s refined method doesn’t require any configuration or technical jargon.

Play Videos and Music from iPad to Apple TV

Do you hate having to finish your television shows or movies on your iPad when you get home? If you have a 2nd Generation Apple TV, you can watch videos and listen to music that’s on your iPad using your HDTV. Let’s say you started watching an episode of Glee on the subway and still have 30 minutes remaining when you get home. Simply press a few buttons and the video magically appears on your Apple TV.

Mimic Your iPad’s Display

Even if you don’t have an Apple TV, you can still view videos and listen to music on your 120 Hz LCD TV with the iPad 2. The new device mimics your iPad display on your television via a Dock Connector to HDMI cable, which is available the same day as the iPad 2. Surf the web, play Scrabble, and watch movies on your TV thanks to the iPad’s new screen sharing technology.

Save $100 on First Generation iPads

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If you’re craving a piece of the Apple pie, but your wallet is telling you otherwise, consider buying new or refurbished first generation iPad. In an effort to dwindle its inventory, Apple is offering $100 off brand new first-generation iPads, with an entry price of $399. Users who don’t mind refurbished products can score a 16 GB iPad 1 starting at $349, which includes a standard one year warranty.

For those who haven’t been following the rumor mill and bought an iPad towards the end of February, Apple will issue you a $100 credit for iPads sold 14 days before the March 2nd announcement. Moreover, users can opt to return their iPad 1 and will not be charged a restocking fee within the 14-day period. For more information, contact an AppleCare representative.

So…What’s the Verdict?

With less than 24 hours until the new iPad arrives, are you going to buy this “magical” device? Or are you going to hold out for an Android tablet? Hit up the comments and let us know what you think about Apple’s newest device.

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