Apple iPad 2 Announcement: Rumor vs. Reality

Wednesday Apple announced its iPad 2 the whole tech world keeping track mostly through live blogs and online streams who are watching live blogs. As with any expected Apple launch, there were plenty of rumors to go around prior to the announcement. Here’s a lineup of what was real versus what was imagined. Will let you do the score keeping as to which sources were correct.

iPad 2 Hardware Design

The most significant change in the new iPad are front facing and rear facing cameras. No one was surprised to hear about them. We call that a rumor but it was almost considered fact, rightly so. The rear camera will record 720p video up to 30 frames per second. Still images can be taken as well. There will be a 5X digital zoom. The specs page does not tell us what the resolution will be for still photos. The iPhone 4 rear camera can take 5MP images, which is plenty for most uses except large prints. We doubt it’s higher. The rumor was a would be a 3MP camera.

It was also a foregone conclusion that there would be a faster processor. The dual-core A5 processor should be a nice speed increase for the new device.

Most of the predictions about what the new iPad would look like we’re pretty accurate. It is in fact thinner and lighter. The leaked picture that showed both the white and black iPad looked pretty accurate. The external speakers appear to be like those in the picture.

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Early on there were rumors of a higher resolution display, but apparently that was false. It looks like iPad 2 will have the same face as the original iPad. One thing some GBM readers may be disappointed to hear is that there is not an official stylus with the new iPad or any improvements for inking notes. There was a recent patent application that led to this rumor. Perhaps it could come in a future release.

There isn’t an SD card slott, nor a Thunderbolt port, but there is a new HDMI dongle. There were rumors of HDMI out, but we never heard anything about a new dongle. The new HDMI out connector will allow people to mirror the iPad 2’s display to an external monitor or projector.

We also heard a late rumor that the iPad 2 might possibly have a magnetic proximity sensor that would turn the screen on and off when in the case. While that was not mentioned during the presentation, we did learn that there are magnets in the new iPad which will hold Apple’s new case in place.

When it looked like the Apple iPad 2 would become available immediately, people got really excited. Is March 11 immediate? It’s close enough since the last iPad was announced almost an entire month before it was available.  Ten days is immediate compared to other devices’ release schedule, such as the PlayBook, which was announced in September and is still not available.

iPad 2 Software

iOS 4.3 is coming. There wasn’t a whole lot new on this front because the beta releases revealed most of what is new in the update. All we now know is the update will be available March 11. That is the day the new iPad will ship.

We did learn about a couple of new apps coming to the iPad. iMovie and GarageBand are on the way and will cost $5 a piece. While we did learn that wireless tethering will be a part of iOS 4.3 it will not be available on the iPad. It is an iPhone only feature in 4.3. We also have not yet learned whether or not AT&T will support the feature on the iPhone.

Other iPad 2 Rumors

The battery life will not be any better on this iPad compared to the first one. We were also told that there would be built-in NFC technology in an upcoming iPhone. The jury is still out on this rumor. It was not announced on Wednesday.

Some hope Apple would lower the price. While they did not do that, the good news is they did not increase the price either.

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One of the biggest features that people long for in their iOS devices is wireless syncing. Nothing was announced on that front. We also didn’t get any information about an upgraded MobileMe.

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