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iPad 2 Doubles Processor Cores

Apple has also debuted iOS 4.3, with support for "personal hotspots" for sharing a mobile connection with WiFi and Bluetooth devices.

Apple's iPad 2 doubles processor performance, according to Apple, and adds front- and rear-facing cameras.

Apple reported it will ship the new dual-core iPad 2 next week. At a special event in San Francisco Wednesday, the company unveiled the second generation of the iOS-based mobile device, which has to date sold more than 15 million units since its introduction last year. In addition to a significant processor upgrade, the updated version will gain new multimedia capabilities and will be lighter and thinner than its predecessor while retaining its 10-hour battery life.

Based on Apple's new dual-core, 1 GHz A5 processor, which replaces the single-core A4 in the first-generation iPad, the new model sees significant improvements in both CPU and graphics performance, according to Apple. It retains the same 9.7-inch, 1,024 x 768 screen as its predecessor, but it comes in thinner and lighter than the original iPad ("33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter," Apple reported today). It also will include a front-facing VGA (640 x 480) camera and a rear-facing camera capable of capturing 720p/30 video.

Other features include:

  • A new built-in three-axis gyroscope (in addition to the accelerometer and ambient light sensor);
  • New support for FaceTime personal video conferencing;
  • 5x digital zoom on the rear-facing camera, along with tap-controlled exposure settings;
  • Various accessibility features, including playback of closed-captioned material, VoiceOver screen reader, and screen magnification, among others;
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
  • Support for AT&T and Verizon 3G (on 3G-capable models);
  • New HSUPA support (for 3G models); and
  • New HDMI video mirroring with HD output (up to 1080p with optional Apple Digital AV Adapter, which also provides Dolby Digital 5.1 audio passthrough).

The iPad 2 will run on iOS 4.3, which Apple also unveiled today. The latest release of the mobile operating system includes an enhanced, better-performing version of Apple's Safari Web browser with the Nitro JavaScript engine; additional options for using the side switch (such as rotation locking); and improvements to iTunes and AirPlay.

According to Apple, "The Nitro JavaScript engine that Apple pioneered on the desktop is now built into WebKit, the technology at the heart of Safari, and more than doubles the performance of JavaScript execution using just-in-time compilation. With the Nitro JavaScript engine, Safari provides an even better mobile browser experience working faster to support the interactivity of complex sites you visit on a daily basis."

In addition, iOS 4.3 adds support for "personal hotspots," allowing users to share their cellular connections with up to five devices, though the availability of this feature will vary with the user's data plan. Users can share a connection in combinations that can include up to three devices via WiFi, up to three via Bluetooth, and one via wired USB, but no more than five total.

In related news, Apple also previewed new iOS versions of GarageBand, its consumer-grade audio mixer, editor, and sequencer, and iMovie, its consumer-level non-linear editor. Both will ship March 11 and will be available for $4.99 apiece through the App Store. The will support

The iPad 2 is expected to be available March 11 in black or white. The base WiFi model, with 16 GB storage, will run $499. The top-end model, with 64 GB storage and support for both WiFi and 3G, will run $829. Other configurations are also available with and without 3G. Further information can be found here.

Editor's note: This article has been modified since its original publication to correct a factual error. We inadvertently referred to the iPad 2's internal storage as RAM. As the commenter points out, of course no tablet comes with that much RAM. [Last updated March 2, 2011 8:18 p.m.] --David Nagel

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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