As expected, Apple announced the next generation of its popular tablet device at a media event today. The iPad 2 will have the same 9.7-inch display but will be 33% thinner than the previous model. It will have front-facing and rear-facing cameras and Apple’s new 1GHz dual-core A5 processor.
With the addition of cameras, the next-generation iPad will be capable of making FaceTime calls with other FaceTime-capable devices. The rear-facing camera can capture 720p HD video. Despite its thinner casing, the iPad 2 will have the same battery life as the first generation of 10 hours and 30 days of stand-by time.
The 3G models of the iPad 2 will be compatible with the GSM networks of AT&T and other carriers as well as Verizon’s CDMA network. The versions compatible with Verizon’s network will be sold in the U.S. only.
Apple has designed new accessories for the next-generation iPad, including cases called Smart Covers and an HDMI adapter. The Smart Covers will attach magnetically to the iPad 2 and will automatically wake the device when opened and put it to sleep when closed.
The iPad 2 will run iOS 4.3 which will be released for other iOS devices on March 11.
The iPad 2 will be available starting March 11 in the U.S. and will come in two colors: white and black. Pricing and capacities have not changed from the first generation of the iPad with the Wi-Fi models coming in at $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for 64GB. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will cost $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB, and $829 for 64GB.