What you need to know about the iPad 2

Macworld dishes all the details they've been able to accumulate about the latest revision to Apple's tablet (see video below)

As with any new Apple product, questions abound over the details of the new iPad 2. Sure, we know it's thinner, faster, and lighter and, like the original iPad, set to dominate the tablet landscape. But even if you've watched what Steve Jobs had to say, read our hands on account, and perused our pretty pictures, you may still have lingering queries about the new revision.

Not to worry -- the Macworld staff is here to answer those burning questions and put your curiosity to rest. Read on for all the gory details that we've been able to accumulate about the latest revision to Apple's tablet.

What's the iPad 2's screen resolution?

Despite rumors that Apple would revamp the iPad's display, the iPad 2 sports the same resolution -- 1024 by 768 pixels at 132 pixels per inch (ppi) -- as the screen on the original model. It's still, in Apple's words, a "9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology." (That's in-plane switching technology, in case you're not up on your abbreviations.)

What are the specs for the two cameras?

According to Apple's iPad 2 tech specs, the front camera -- the one facing you when you're looking at the iPad's screen -- is virtually identical to the front camera on both the iPhone 4 and the fourth-generation iPod touch: it can record VGA video (640 by 480 pixels) at up to 30 frames per second and can take photos at the same resolution.

The back camera is similar to that of the fourth-generation iPod touch, in that it can record HD-quality (720p) video at up to 30 frames per second, and take pictures at that 1280 by 720 pixel resolution; the camera also offers a 5x digital zoom. However, the iPhone 4 maintains its spot on top of the pack in terms of still images: its 5-megapixel camera produces substantially higher quality pictures (2592 by 1936 pixels) than what the iPad 2 or iPod touch can produce.

Will I finally be able to use FaceTime over 3G?

Nope. FaceTime is still available only over a Wi-Fi connection, regardless of what iOS device you're using.

How much RAM is in the iPad 2?

As with previous iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch models, Apple doesn't publish nitty-gritty specs such as memory amounts. We may have to wait until someone--such as our friends over at iFixit--actually takes a new iPad apart before we know if the new model has more RAM than its predecessor. We certainly hope so.

What about other hardware changes?

Perhaps the biggest hardware change, apart from the two cameras, is that the iPad 2 uses a new, dual-core processor Apple calls the A5. Apple says the A5 chip offers performance that's up to two times faster than the A4 chip inside the original iPad, despite running at the same 1GHz clock speed; graphics are nine times faster, according to Apple. All the while, the A5 consumes a similar amount of power as the A4 does. That means that despite the improved performance, the iPad 2 should maintain the same 10-hour battery life as its predecessor.

Like the iPhone 4, the iPad now features a three-axis gyroscope in addition to its accelerometer. The gyroscope allows for more-precise motion-sensing, including rotation around an axis. This feature is primarily of interest to game developers, who can use it to provide more immersive mechanics.

The iPad's enclosure has also gotten a makeover; the back is mostly flat, tapering only at the edges. The new iPad is also significantly thinner and slightly lighter than its predecessor--8.8mm and 1.33 pounds, compared to 13.4mm and 1.5 pounds for the original iPad. (We're comparing the Wi-Fi-only models here.)

IDG Enterprise's John Gallant talks with Computerworld News Editor Ken Mingis about the new iPad 2, the new features, whether it surpasses competitors, and what enterprises can expect.

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