Everyone has known for a while that a new iPad was due and that it would likely be announced today, but those who don’t follow tech may not now that recent rumors were promoting the idea that this would be a kind of stopgap release, with the “real” new iPad coming next fall.
Apple’s event today puts that to rest. While not totally revolutionary, this is a very solid update. The iPad 2 is 33% thinner than the previous one, lighter (a bit), has a much improved processor (Dual core A5), front and rear facing cameras (including video), a gyro, choice of black or white, and some very interesting new apps, as well as a strangely fascinating cover (purchase separately).
For musicians, the most interesting thing is the new Garageband for iPad, which lets you create tracks with built-in electronic instruments or record your own instrument. This is major, because while recording with the iPad was great prior to the iOS 4 update last fall, apple evidently dropped the amount of power available to the dock connector (where you could use the camera kit to attach a USB microphone) and it got very complicated to do this. Now it looks like it’s going to be super easy.
Available March 11. More details here:
EDIT: Forgot to mention HDMI output so that you can mirror the iPad screen for presentations and such. Very big news for educators and presenters. (The old ipad could only output certain apps, never the whole ipad itself.)