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Apple adds dual core A5 chip to iPad 2, sticks to March delivery

Apple bamboozled all of the pundits and came out with iPad2, with all the benefits and none of the downsides which have been imagined or rumored

By PETER WHITE

Published: 3 March, 2011

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Apple bamboozled all of the pundits and came out with iPad2, with all the benefits and none of the downsides which have been imagined or rumored. The real issue is whether or not it has done enough in technology terms to keep the massed hoards of Android Tablets at bay – our guess is that it’s done better than could have been expected given the aggression with which Android players have chased it.

The new device offers the same screen size, and is not at light as we’d hoped, but has made up processing power ground on freshly launched rival devices – while its new chip and new graphics chips don’t have the raw power specs of some of the new quad core devices launched for 2012 delivery, its dual core A5 seems to have enough processing power that when added to Apple integrated design, and its brand power, it will see off all but the best Androids and continue to hold sway in the tablet market.

The iPad2 comes with a new version of the Apple iOS operating system and boasts that it has 9 times the graphics processing power of its predecessor. Since most of what it does it graphic related, this is perhaps where Apple has moved furthest. The suggestion is that it has incorporated new multiple cores from Imagination Technologies and clocked the speed up. Apple Insider said back in January to look out for a new A5 chip and described it as two cores of the ARM Cortex-A9 and a jump from the Imagination Technologies SGX535 to a newer SGX543 graphics and video core, with around twice the processing power which supports OpenCL, whereby spare graphics capability can be offered to general purpose processing.

There were rumors of the past few weeks of delays and delivery in June, giving a window of opportunity to every Android device, but all international deliveries are targeted during March, which means that only devices with a significantly higher spec are likely to ship on high numbers – most of the others will fall by the wayside, as Apple takes the leading market share.

The iPad 2 comes 33% thinner, but only 15% lighter, has the same 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen, which to many will be a disappointment, but the new dual-core A5 was critical and just the timeframe for a second generation chip that we initially predicted at the time the original A4 was launched. The iPad2 has two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth, and a rear-facing camera which captures 720p HD video. Battery life is still 10 hours and there are 3G and CDMA 2000 versions for AT&T’s and Verizon’s 3G networks (though not 4G). It also comes with an iPad2 Smart Cover.

iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, which features a faster Safari browsing performance; iTunes Home Sharing and a Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.

iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 in the US for $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model, $699 for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G will go for $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 for the 64GB model and can be bought from the Apple Store and select Apple Authorized Resellers. It will also be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on March 25.

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