At Apple's iPad 2 reveal last week, CEO Steve Jobs said iOS 4.3 would be available for download on March 11, the same day the updated iPad goes on sale. But according to BGR, Apple will release the newest version of its mobile operating system at around 1 p.m. EST today.
The update brings a variety of new features, including enhanced Safari performance, iTunes home sharing, AirPlay improvements, slider switch rotation, and a personal hotspot for the iPhone 4. Apple iOS 4.3 will support all iPads, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS.
The Apple iPad 2 will be sold in Target stores starting March 11, according to the retailer's Twitter account and an ad on Target.com.
"The #iPad2 is coming to @Target stores! Get yours on launch day - 3/11/11" wrote @Target. An ad on Target's web site also said the tablets would be available in-store starting Friday.
A Target spokeswoman did not have any more details at press time.
Last Thursday Best Buy also announced that it will start selling the iPad 2 on March 11; there are also rumors that the reseller is giving free iPad 2s to all its sales associates.
You have to hand it to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. No matter how ill he may be, his showmanship and stage presence remain undimmed. So much so that it took, as it often does, days for the euphoria of the iPad 2 unveiling to wear off. As that happened, though, I, like others, started to have these little, "Hey, wait a minute…" moments. And from there, the inevitable questions about the latest magical device from Apple started piling up. Here are the ones I've been considering or hearing from others. Fortunately, I think we have answers for virtually all of them.
Why No Memory Specs?
Apple's busy touting the iPad 2's huge performance increase (over the original), which comes courtesy of the A5 chip. That makes sense, a dual-core processor should beat the pants off a single core CPU. However, as with any computer, the CPU is only part of the performance story. What's the easiest way to increase system performance? Add memory. We know that the first-generation iPad has 256MB of RAM, but Apple isn't saying how much is in the iPad 2. "More" seems like a reasonable guess.
Why No 4G?
Apple's new best friend, Verizon, has a brand-new LTE network, but you won't find 4G on the new Verizon iPhone 4 or the latest-gen iPad. Why is that? Price is one reason: Adding a 4G radio would certainly have increased the price on the top-of-the line iPad 2. Also, Apple pays pretty close attention to the market and early market research indicated that almost 50 percent of potential iPad buyers were picking up a Wi-Fi-only model (Apple does not break out Wi-Fi-only iPad sales figures). I have a 3G-ready iPad, but I've never activated the service (I find ample Wi-Fi access almost everywhere I use my iPad). I suspect that's a common scenario. If a good percentage of iPad owners aren't using 3G—even when they have it—why would Apple jump to introduce 4G?
Apple has a new iPad on the way, but you've probably gotten pretty chummy with your original model. For a first-generation product, the Apple iPad is a fine tablet that can do tons of different things and hasn't lost any of its functionality in the last few days. Sure, the newer iPad 2 is more compact, faster, and adds cameras, but besides that, there's not much more in the way of upgrades. So, should you make the move to the iPad 2?
Well, the new one has a camera, so you can use FaceTime, Photo Booth, and other fun iLife apps that focus on taking photos or videos. If your best friend or favorite relative has an iPhone, iPod touch, or a Mac, this would be the perfect way to get some video calls going without getting a new cell phone. And its faster CPU and graphics processor means it's better suited for the apps and games of the future. Still, there are several good reasons why you shouldn't ditch your old iPad just yet. Here are five of them:
It's as good a media player as the iPad 2
The iPad 2 doesn't increase the resolution or improve the brightness or colors of its display over the first iPad, so as a plain movie viewer, there's no compelling reason to replace your iPad. There are no movies you can watch or songs you can listen to on the iPad 2 that you can't on the original iPad.
On Thursday night's show, O'Brien claimed that Apple and its team of engineering wizards was "getting a little cocky". Team Coco then proceeded to spoof the iPad's desktop, thinness, "a pair of cheap cameras," and how we Americans seem to take everything said with an accent and lend it more credence than it actually deserves.
O'Brien, whose humor is perhaps more warm-hearted than his late-night rivals, completely leaves Steve Jobs or a parody of Jobs out of the fake launch video, almost certainly because of Jobs' struggle with cancer. The omission allows the humor to fall where it should: on Apple's iconic status, and how the iPad 2 might be considered a bit more like an iPad 1.5.
Apple has just made the final version of iOS 4.3 available to anyone with a developer account. You can grab the downloads for build 8F190 for iPhone 4 and 3GS, iPad, and iPod touch 3rd and 4th generation now. The iOS 4.3 SDK is also at GM status with build 10M2518, and you can grab that as well. All the rest of you, expect iOS 4.3 to launch alongside iPad 2 on March 11.
No, the Apple iPad 2 is not a game changer. Instead it simply, firmly establishes Apple once again as the front-runner in the tablet wars. Apple and chief executive Steve Jobs (who made an appearance and received a standing ovation) focused on all the right areas to ensure that the Apple iPad will remain the tablet you have to rule out before you buy any others.
As I predicted, Apple added not one, but two cameras. This makes perfect sense, though I was not particularly happy to hear an Apple exec say on stage that the iPad is perfectly suited for these cameras and FaceTime. Why couldn't the first-generation iPad, which I own, also have been considered perfect for at least one camera? Apple didn't say anything about the resolution on the cameras, though we know the rear one can capture 720P, more or less - the Apple definition for "High Definition." Please, no one tell Steve Jobs that someone on the iPad team sneaked by an accessory that outputs full 1080p from the device (more on that later).
At today's Apple event, where the world was first introduced to the iPad 2, one thing stood out to me above everything else. Many of the new features and specs had been leaked, or correctly guessed, months ago, but no one knew that Apple would pour its innovative energies into a case for the new device. But they did, and the new Smart Cover might be the best case I've ever seen for a mobile device.
The Smart Cover is a single sheet, made of either polyurethane or leather and either pink, orange, green, blue, several shades of gray, black, cream or red. It snaps magnetically onto the side of the iPad, and closes over top of the screen. It protects the parts of the iPad that need protecting—the screen—and leaves the parts that don't—the rugged, aluminum back and sides—to the elements. It makes the case thin, the iPad lighter, and best of all makes the case and iPad extremely easy to separate. The magnetic system should work like the MagSafe adapters on Mac computers, which are a popular feature.
In the lead-up to the iPad 2 announcement, many were predicting that Apple would give the tablet's 9.7-inch screen a bump in resolution. But when Steve Jobs revealed the second-generation iPad to the world, it had the same pixel count as the first one: 1,024x768, even though the display was revamped to be considerably thinner. Why no extra pixels?
Looking at the history of the display on the iPhone offers some clues. Apple kept the display of the iPhone at the same 480x320-pixel resolution for the first three versions of the phone, and when it finally upgraded the display for the iPhone 4, the bump was huge, doubling the display resolution to 960x640 pixels. The upgrade also introduced the term "retina display," a piece of marketing jargon that Apple doesn't quantify, but generally means a display that is better than the limits of human vision.
Of course, bargain is a relative term when you're dealing with Apple. The original iPads are now $100 cheaper than they were at launch, meaning the most affordable tablet starts at $399. But with iPad competitors like the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab running about $600, spending $399 for tablet that started it all isn't too bad of a deal.
At this point, the Wi-Fi version of the iPad is available for $399 for the 16GB, $499 for the 32GB, and $599 for 64GB. For Wi-Fi + 3G, the 16GB is now $529, the 32GB is $629, and the 64GB is $729.
Those interested in a first-gen iPad, however, might want to hurry. Apple is reportedly slowing down production of the original tablet to make room for the iPad 2, which debuts on March 11.
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