Thinner, lighter Apple iPad 2 available on March 25


New Apple tablet will be available in the UK on March 25 with Everything Everywhere among the first to confirm it will stock the device

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs yesterday unexpectedly took to the stage in San Francisco to launch the Apple iPad 2.

The launch which has been heavily anticipated for a number of weeks, revealed the new tablet design to be 33 per cent thinner and up to 15 per cent lighter than its predecessor the Apple iPad.

The tablet will also sport Apple’s new dual-core A5 processor which Apple says will increase performance, along with two cameras – a front facing VGA camera and a rear facing camera that is able to capture 720 p HD video.

The combination of the two cameras means Apple iPad 2 users will be able to use Apple’s FaceTime service something previously only available on its iPhone 4 device.

Despite the new design the Apple iPad 2 will keep the same 9.7 inch LED- backlit LCD screen as it’s predecessor.

It will also keep the same battery which Apple says provides up to 10 hours of usage.

Jobs said at the launch: “With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices.

“While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we’re launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again”.

The Apple iPad 2 which will go on sale in the US on March 11 and else where on March 25 will be available in a white version from day one.

Everything Everywhere has confirmed that it will stock the device when it is released later this year but would not comment on any pricing plans.

An Everything Everywhere spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Everything Everywhere plans to offer the iPad 2 when it is made available later this month on both Orange UK and T-Mobile UK. More details will be announced in due course.”

The iPad took the world by storm following its release last year and currently dominates the tablet market accounting for 95 per cent of device sales according to figures recently released by market research firm Strategy Analytics.

Industry reaction

Despite the inclusion of additional features, some industry analysts believe Apple could have done more to further increase its position in the tablet market.

Apple iPad 2 with optional Smart Covers

Informa Telecoms and Media senior analyst Gavin Byrne said: “Although iPad 2 is ‘lighter, thinner, faster’ than the original, with some improvements at the processor level, Informa Telecoms and Media believes that Apple has lost an opportunity to further advance its lead in the tablet market.

“In a market where Apple’s Android-based competitors have had to wait for a tablet optimised version of Android (Honeycomb), it seems that Apple has taken its foot off the innovation accelerator.

“Without the pressure of strong competition in the tablet market, are they getting complacent in Cupertino? Indeed, it seems that the iPad 2 is more of an iPad 1.5, with the real innovations still to come in future iterations.

“Nevertheless, helped by more than 65,000 iPad applications and some colourful accessories, Informa Telecoms and Media still believes that iPad sales will more than double this year to over 30 million.”

There was a similar reaction to the launch from Phones 4U marketing director Russel Braterman said: “Although the launch of the new Apple iPad 2 will be seen as another step forward for Apple, recent announcements in the category show that tablet devices, using Google’s Android 3 operating system, will continue to challenge the innovation of the iPad in the battle for market supremacy.

“There are already some great tablets on the market and some even greater ones launching this year, such as the Blackberry Playbook and Samsung Galaxy Tab, which presents both us and our customers with a really exciting opportunity that we will be investing significantly in throughout 2011.”