iPad 2, iOS 4.3 and more: Apple's press conference summarised

Everything you need to know about Apple's press conference, including the iPad 2, iOS 4.3, GarageBand for iPad, iMovie for iPad and more.

Steve Jobs just finished speaking at the iPad 2 press conference, but for those of you who don't fancy watching the full speech on the Apple website, here are the main points the great man made.

In summary

There's a new, faster, slightly slimmer iPad with cameras. It's out on 25 March for an as-yet-unannounced price. You can look at some official pictures of it here . Here's some more detail:

iPad 2

The iPad 2 has a new, dual-core 1GHz processor called the A5, which the company claims is twice as fast as the old one, with a graphics engine that runs up to 9x faster than the original iPad.

A 640x480-pixel camera at the front is there for video conferencing, with a 720p model on the back for shooting video. You can edit it on the device if you buy a copy of iMovie for iPad. The battery lasts for 10 hours, which is the same as on the first iPad.

It will be sold in black and white versions, with Steve Jobs promising there won't be a repeat of the embarrassing problems that continue to plague the production of the white iPhone 4 .

The screen is the same resolution as the old one: 1,024x768 pixels, so you'll have to wait for another year at least for a screen that's as good as the one on the iPhone 4 .

It will be available to buy in 16, 32 and 64GB versions, with both Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi and 3G models available. It'll be in shops on 25 March. Good luck finding one in stock -- our guess is this will sell out quickly. Here's what's inside:

iPad 2 key specs

  • Dimensions: 241 by 186 by 9mm
  • Wi-Fi only version weighs 601g
  • Wi-Fi with 3G version weighs 613g
  • 9.7-inch LED screen with a 1,024x768-pixel resolution
  • 1GHz, dual-core Apple A5 processor
  • Rear camera supporting video up to 720p at 30 frames per second
  • Front camera for VGA footage at 30 frames per second
  • 10-hour battery life on Wi-Fi, or 9 hours on 3G
  • Available in 16, 32 and 64GB versions
  • Price TBC 

HDMI cable

An optional HDMI cable will be available that can output up to 1080p and mirrors on your TV what you see on the iPad 2's screen. If you rotate the iPad, the TV image also flips, and there's a port on the cable for you to charge the iPad from the mains while you watch movies. The resolution of the iPad's screen is different to a widescreen TV, however, so you'll get black bars on the left and right. No price has yet been announced for this accessory.

Smart covers

Apple will sell a cover that sticks to the iPad with magnets, waking it up when you open it. The magnets keep it lined up with the device, and the material cleans the screen when you open it up. It uses magnets to click itself on to the iPad itself and to keep the cover lined up with the device. It will come in 10 different colours. Yes, 10! There's no price for this yet either.

iOS 4.3

A few minor updates to the operating system will accompany the US iPad 2 launch on 11 March. Improvements will include a faster browser that runs JavaScript 2x faster than on the old software, better music and movie sharing between devices and the ability for non-Apple apps to use AirPlay, Apple's music-streaming technology. This opens up the possibility for a Spotify app that streams music wirelessly to your hi-fi.

You'll be able to choose whether the right-hand switch acts as a volume mute or a rotation lock, and Photo Booth lets you take pictures of yourself and mess them up with pre-set effects.

There will also be FaceTime for video calling. iPhone 4 owners will be able to set up a hotspot via Wi-Fi, if you pay your operator extra.

iMovie for iPad

A version of iMovie for the iPad is coming that's pretty much the same as the desktop version, but you use the touchscreen to edit your footage. You can press and hold on the screen to go backwards and forwards in a clip, for example, which is smart. Transitions appear in an iPad-like list, and there are plenty of themes to help amateurs make something that looks impressive. You'll have to pay for this, but no UK price has been set.

GarageBand for iPad

This is something of a gimmick. The iPad version of GarageBand has touch instruments, guitar amps and effects, eight-track recording and mixing and works with the Mac version, so you can finish off projects you started somewhere else on the iPad.

The standout features is a virtual piano that's clever enough to recognise the difference between hard and soft taps using the accelerometer, changing the volume and timbre of the note to match. You move through the octaves with a left and right arrow. It's full of pretend guitars, pretend drums, sci-fi noises and loads of other stuff you'll intend to use one day, but won't. This will also cost an undisclosed amount.

Apple's stats

Apple always has a shed-load of stats to trot out to show how all-powerful it is, and here are a selection of the most frightening interesting:

  • Apple sold 15 million iPads sold in 2010 in nine months, more than every tablet PC ever sold. Ever.
  • There are 65,000 apps specifically for the iPad, compared to 100 on Android Honeycomb tablets.
  • The iPad generated $9.5bn in revenue in 2010.
  • Apple has paid $2bn to app developers.
  • Apple has shipped 100 million iPhones.
  • Users have downloaded over 100 million iBooks in one year.
  • There are 200 million iTunes accounts with registered credit cards. Steve Jobs says, "Very likely this is the biggest store with credit cards on the Internet."
  • Random House will be bringing 17,000 books to the iBooks store this year.
What do you think of the iPad 2? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook wall.
 

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