iPad 2 and iOS 4.3 come with new features, apps and accessories
Along with Apple's announcement about the iPad 2 today came the introduction of iOS 4.3 and some new apps and accessories for the iPad. First, here are the details on iOS 4.3, which will be included on the iPad 2 and will be available for download on March 11:
- Airplay - Airplay is the wireless feature streams content (music, movies and photos) from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your HDTV via the Apple TV (2nd generation only). AirPlay now streams video directly from your Photos app so you can shoot some video and immediately share it.
- iTunes Home Share - No matter where you have your iTunes library stored, on a Mac or PC, you can play your entire iTunes library on all your iOS devices on your WiFi network from anywhere in the house. Movies, podcasts and audio books all play.
- iPad Side Switch - The side switch on the iPad now can be customized to lock the screen rotation or mute the volume.
- Personal Hotspot - Use your iPhone 4Share your 3G connection with up to five devices at once over WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB — with up to three of those connections using Wi-Fi (requires a tethering plan). The iPhone detects when your Personal Hotspot is no longer in use and turns it off to save battery life.
The iPad 2 includes two new apps, FaceTime and PhotoBooth. FaceTime for iPad can be used to to make video calls to a compatible iPad 2, iPhone 4, new iPod touch, or Mac over WiFi. Because the original iPad does not have cameras it joins the iPhone 3GS as one of two current iOS devices that cannot use FaceTime. PhotoBooth is an app for applying special filters to your photos, like XRay, Light Tunnel, Squeeze and Stretch to produce fun, bizarre and artistic results.
Two additional apps were introduced, iMovie and Garage Band, and they will be available for download on March 11 for $4.99 each. iMovie, previously available for Macs and iPhones, is a video editing app that uses templates for quick production of home videos. The iPad version of iMovie will provide for HD movie editing and exporting with a Multi-Touch Precision Editor. Multi-track audio editing also is supported making iMovie a powerful video editor on the iPad.
The new Garage Band app was built from the ground up to take advantage of the large Multi-Touch screen on the iPad. The app includes a collection of musical instruments that makes your iPad a full-featured, portable recording studio with eight-track editing. Choose from drums, guitars, synthesizers and keyboards and smart instruments that make it seem as if you know what you're doing, even if you don't.
The new iPad Smart Cover was was unveiled and will be available in 10 colors with five bright colors in plastic and five more subdued colors in leather. The thin cover is lined with a microfiber material to protect the iPad's screen and wipe away finger prints. Held on by magnets, the cover is designed to perfectly position itself on the iPad and also acts as stand for keyboard use and for multimedia viewing.
The iPad 2 is equipped with HDMI out and to utilize that feature to the fullest you'll need the Apple Digital AV Adapter. With this adapter you can share everything you see on your iPad's screen on your HDTV or HDMI-compatible digital projector, making the iPad an outstanding piece of hardware for presentations. A second, built-in 30-pin connector lets you charge your iPad at the same time so you don't run out of juice. Early reports by those who have had hands-on time with the connector indicate it works with the iPhone 4, new iPod Touch and the original iPad too.
Rounding out the lineup of accessories is the iPad 2 Dock and Camera Connection Kit, along with a few other cables and the wireless keyboard. The Camera Connection Kit, also compatible with the original iPad, wasn't expected as a needed accessory for the iPad 2. An SD card slot was rumored to be included with the new iPad for months but that rumor ended up being just that.