iPad 2 to hit Australia March 25


Iconic US technology giant Apple this morning revealed the next version of its flagship iPad tablet would hit Australia on March 25, along with most countries outside the US; but the company has yet to unveil localised pricing for the device.

The iPad 2 showcased this morning at a press event in the United States represents a substantial upgrade to the original iPad, which has already sold in the hundreds of thousands in Australia.

Perhaps the most obvious new features include a design that is 33 percent thinner than the original model, coming in at 8.8mm thick, and a lighter weight, with the Wi-Fi version of the iPad coming in at 601g compared to 680g, and the 3G version at just over 600g, compared with 730g for the old model. White and black models are both available; the original iPad only came in silver.

Apple has also updated the CPU for the iPad 2, with the new Apple-produced A5 processor retaining the same speed rating (1GHz), but adding a second core to bring the iPad up to speed with an incoming wave of devices based on Google’s Android platform and utilising NVIDIA’s dual-core Tegra architecture. And a new magnetic cover is available which can protect its screen when not in use, or allow the iPad 2 to be propped up on a table.

Like the iPhone, the iPad now comes with both front and rear-facing cameras, meaning the device is now capable of using Apple’s FaceTime videoconferencing application, and it also now comes with a HDMI output port — meaning it can export 1080p video to your television. The rear camera can record 720p video at 30 frames per second.

“With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices,” said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs in a statement. “While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we’re launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again.”

However, much remains the same with the introduction of the iPad 2. For starters, the device’s screen is identical — it’s a 9.7″ LED-backlist LCD screen, and the iPad 2 still comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, with Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi plus 3G options. It now has a triple axis gyroscope in-built, but the original iPad also had an accelerometer — and so does the iPad 2.

Apple also unveiled the latest version of its iOS mobile operating system at the event, noting new features such as a faster mobile web browser, personal Wi-Fi hotspot sharing from an iPhone 4 and updates to the AirPlay, which links Apple’s mobile devices with its Apple TV media centre. iOS 4.3 will be available as a free download on 11 March globally. And new versions of its iMovie movie editing and Garageband music editing applications will be available for the iPad.

Australian telcos have already started confirming they will support the iPad 2 when it comes to Australia, as they did with the original iPad.

“We’re delighted to confirm that Telstra will support this new Apple iPad on our Next G network when it arrives in Australia,” said a spokesperson for Australia’s largest telco. “The original iPad was a huge hit with our customers and exceeded all sales expectations — today more than 100,000 of these touch-screen devices are connected to the Next G network.”

“We know our customers are going to love the second generation iPad which will help them take a world of entertainment and information which them on the go. And teaming it with Australia’s largest and fastest national mobile broadband network will allow people to enjoy the benefits of fast, reliable internet connectivity in more places.” The spokesperson said Telstra customers would be able to connect their new iPads to the telco’s network via its existing pre-paid plans for the device.

However, the iPad 2 will face a wave of competition in Australia this year from similar tablet devices. Although a number of companies — such as HP, Research in Motion and HTC — have not yet confirmed local launches for their own tablets, some — such as Samsung — are already planning to introduce their next models. The devices also come in varying form factors and sizes — with Apple only offering the one size and two colours for the iPad 2.

Image credits: Apple


  1. Really it all looks rather meh. I won’t be racing out to replace my original iPad, that’s for sure.

    I know people get all excited about cameras, but really, do that many people actually use them with any regular frequency? Sure, people were all about FaceTime when it first came out on the iPhone4, but what about now?

    Other than that, slight processor upgrade, same screen, same battery – there’s nothing here that’s really fantastic.

    Honestly, if you were really desperate for an iPad and have no use for a camera, I’d be picking up an original one now their prices are going to bottom out.

    • I think it likely that our household will buy one — if only because we’ve been wanting one but holding off to see what’s next. The changes to the iPad’s weight and thickness are definitely welcome — the old model had started to feel a bit brick-like.

  2. “White and black models are both available; the original iPad only came in silver.”

    More accurately, “Models with a White or black bezel are both available; the original iPad only came with a black bezel.”

    The previous iPad was Aluminium back, black front, The new one is aluminium back, black or white front.

    Nice work getting the launch date.

  3. To be honest, I’m not sure why this would “cause [the competition] to go back to the drawing boards yet again”. Sure there’s some nice incremental updates, but it’s nothing revolutionary.

    Though it’s nice to see Steve up and about again.

  4. Meh.

    The Galaxy tab does meet most of my needs, a bigger screen for PDF files would be my only wish. However I can manipulate font size, so it is not a fatal flaw.

    Features like wifi hotspot, and deep intergration with Google Mail and Calender is nice, and most android apps look great on the bigger screen. I hardly use the cameras, but have used.

    The bst thing about the iPad is battery life and better apps (Camera+ is the app I miss most, made the iphone camera extreamly usable. The iPad 2 does not offer a compelling reason to swap.

  5. The iPad2 is effectively the Motorola Xoom with half a gig less RAM, cheaper and lighter. The screen is a smaller resolution but not by much. Half of the Xoom’s wonderful features are only available after software upgrade such as Flash, SD card support and 4G LTE. The other equivalent spec’d tablets from HP and RIM don’t have firm availability dates or pricing on them to be able to compare either.

    Realistically they don’t need anything more than a speed bump to make them competitive with the market that has a year later only just caught up. Their release is reasonably par with the only major difference being less RAM however given the iOS multitasking model the extra RAM isn’t as drastically required when compared to real multitasking platforms like Android. What will be interesting is seeing what everyone comes up with in another year or so.

    Now all of those people who held off buying the version 1 can now buy the version 2 anyway.

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