iPad 2

The iPad 2 was announced today, by a healthy Steve Jobs. As expected the iPad 2 is thinner, much thinner. The original iPad was 13.4-mm thick. The iPad 2 is just 8.8 mm, which is thinner than an iPhone 4. Remember the iPhone 4 is one of the thinnest smartphones on the market; it is just 9.3-mm thick. And a 9.7-inch LCD sporting iPad 2 is thinner than that. Amazing.

Apple’s A5 is onboard with dual cores and a GPU that is up to 9x more powerful than the A4. The iPad 2 is up to 2x faster than the original iPad. The graphics will come in handy when the iPad 2 is hooked up to the TV via the new $39 HDMI adapter. The iPad 2 outputs 1080p and can also be mirrored. Gaming will be intense, on your TV.

Black and white. You can’t get a white iPhone 4 but next Friday you can get a white iPad 2. And then you can pick whether you want AT&T or Verizon if you opt for the WiFi+3G version. I believe Apple is using the Gobi chipset from Qualcomm to get both GSM and CDMA connections. An unlimited data plan from Verizon? Let’s hope so.

$499. The iPad 2 will start at $499. As I’ve mentioned in The Apple Discount you no longer pay an Apple Tax, instead you get a discount. There is no other tablet announced or shipping that matches the $499 price point for a tablet as capable. The WiFi+3G version starts at $629 with 16GB of storage. Apple continues its leadership in tablets with the iPad 2, which I think will sell quite well starting March 11.

Although the iPad 2 doesn’t sport a Retina Display, the already fantastic 9.7-inch IPS LCD will continue to be well protected using magnets: Apple designed a fantastic minimalistic magnetic cover that can also be used as a stand. My initial reaction to both the iPad 2 and the cover: I see no reason to buy anything else.

Update: Looking at the iPad 2 pricing page I think I was wrong. There seems to be separate versions of the iPad 2: one for AT&T and another one for Verizon.