Apple's invitation to its announcement teased recipients with the number "2," causing many to anoint the next iPad the "iPad2." Nothing like a little cockiness to usher in a new product.
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The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts was host to the original iPad launch. We are now on site, checked in, huge crowds forming, TV trucks, and a buzz of expectation is inescapable. Next door is the Game Developer Conference (GDC), a massive event produced by our parent company, TechWeb. We understand Nintendo is keynoting right about now. All eyes on Howard Street in San Francisco right now. Soon, we'll be on the inside, showing photos and giving play-by-play right here.
9:40 PST: it's rainy in San Francisco so we are inside the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts a little early, but not inside the auditorium. It is jam-packed, and there is very little additional buzz about what's to be announced here this morning but if we don't get in soon I might have to start making things up out of boredom.
9:55 PST: Apple is playing the typical Beatles music as the crowd settles in, as if to say "we now have the Beatles catalog on iTunes. Right now, "Revolution" is playing but I'm not trying to take too much from that. Maybe if they played "All You Need is Flash" or something, then I'd be impressed. (Wasn't that on the White Album?)
10:03 PST: Steve Jobs. Standing ovation. "We've got something great to announce today, and I didn't want to miss it."
10:04 PST: Jobs: "Random House is bringing its books to iBook store. Over 2500 publishers now a part of iBook store. We just crossed 200 million accounts across all the stores. iTunes, app store, iBook store. Apple recently paid out over $2b to developers for selling apps on app store. The emphasis here on the volume of apps and the money being made."
10:06 PST: Jobs: "Apple recently shipped 100 millions iPhone. A majority of Apple revenues come from post PC products. iPod, iPhone, iPad."
10:08 PST: Jobs says that at the time of the launch of the iPad, people weren't so sure the price was "magical," and now, he says, "just ask our competitors." Big laughs on that one. They are all trying to figure out how to price their tablets, and are all waiting on what Apple will announce today. 15 million iPads sold in 2010, 9 months. More than every tablet PC ever sold (of course) and $9.5b in 2010. 90% market share.
"Competitors flummoxed." The cocky Steve Jobs. You gotta love it.
10:15 PST: Jobs is showing a video about 2010, the year of the iPad. The big emphasis of this video and what Jobs has been talking about so far is on the consumer -- the retail store, showing videos of children using it to play games and draw on it, vacationers, senior citizens. But they are also showing their use in schools, particularly highlighting schools in Chicago and how it has assisted in raising test scores. Also showing the use of the iPad in hospitals -- the claim they are making is that it is allowing doctors to be more engaged with their patients, that it will "change how doctors practice medicine."
Now Marc Beniof, CEO of Salesforce.com in the video talking about how the future of the enterprise will be run . . . of course, it'll be on a tablet.
10:16 PST: In this video, they are also showing how the iPad has been improving the potential of children with Autism. The doctor in this video calls the iPad a "game changer."
10:18 PST: What about 2011? Jobs asks. "Everyone's got a tablet." Is 2011 the year of the
Jobs announces iPad 2. All new design, he says. Not marginal improvements. Dramatically faster. A5 chip -- "our chip wizards have come out with it." Dual core. 2x faster CPU, 9x faster on graphics. Same low power as A4 chip.
10:21 PST: Built in cameras. More on that in a second. A built in gyroscope. From 13.4 mm thick to 8.8 mm thick. Thinner than an iPhone 4. Also lighter. From 1.5 pounds to 1.3 pounds. He says it feels a lot lighter.
10:22 PST: Jobs is really stressing how thin it is. Like him. Shipping both black and white from day 1. Big applause on that.
Both AT&T and Verizon on day 1. No applause on that. We're already there, of course.
10:23 PST: What about battery life. The same 10 hour battery life as the original iPad. Over one month of stand by.
10:24 PST: Jobs says that as they have added more, and made it better and lighter and thinner, they are sticking to standards like great battery life. They've also "preserved the price." Exact same prices
10:25 PST: 2011 is the year of iPad 2. It will ship March 11. In one week. That's a surprise. That's in the US. 26 more countries by March 25.
10:27 PST: Now onto accessories. HDMI video out. Thank goodness for that. HDMI mirrored video output -- what you see on the iPad is what you see out. Up to 1080p. Works with all apps. Supports rotation, no setup and you can charge your iPad while you're using it. $39.
10:28 PST: Also, "smart covers." Before, we went through all the trouble of designing something great, and covered it with a case, which also made it harder to use. They designed the case (a cover) with the design of the product.
10:29 PST: It wakes up the iPad from sleep when you open the cover. It uses magnets. Grasp and auto-aligns it.
10:32 PST: It also has a micro fiber liniing that cleans it. All of this is helpful, especially as you take it with you. Of course, I've been seeing many more cases that include Bluetooth keyboards built in, and that isn't covered here. But they just showed a video of the cover and it is really really nifty. The video reminds Jobs of a "Pixar short or something." Hehe. Of course they come in colors: polyurethane are $39 and the leather ones are $69.
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