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What's New in iPad 2?

iPad gets its features from a combination of hardware and its software operating system. If you've seen the first-generation iPad in action, you might want to know what new features the iPad 2 brings to the table. In addition to features on the iPad first-generation device, iPad 2 offers:

  • A thinner, lighter design in two colors: You can choose between a black or white model.

  • A dual-core A5 chip: This chip gives your iPad much faster performance.

  • An improved Safari browser: Streamlining Safari gives you faster Internet browsing.

  • Two cameras (one front-facing; one rear-facing): Both cameras can be used to capture still photos or HD video. If you use FaceTime, a video calling service, you and your caller can watch each other on live video.

  • Video mirroring capability: You can use the Apple Digital AV Adapter to connect the iPad to your HDTV or other HDMI-friendly devices and mirror what's on your iPad display on the other device.

  • A built-in, three-axis gyroscope: Gamers will find this element useful to shift around in a more versatile manner as they virtually move through games that involve motion. With iPad 2, the gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass also help apps like Maps to pinpoint your location and movements as you stroll around town.

iPad 2 ships with iOS 4.3 installed. (iOS is short for iPhone operating system, in case you need to know to impress your friends.) Any iPad device can use iOS 4.3 if you update it using a connection to iTunes. This update to the operating system adds these features:

  • Personal Hotspot: Use your iPhone to make an Internet connection if you own a Wi-Fi iPad model and are out of range of a Wi-Fi network. Your iPhone service provider, AT&T or Verizon, will charge you to enable this feature.

  • AirPlay: This improved feature lets you connect your iPad to several devices in your home network to stream music, photos, and video.

  • Side switch: Set up this customizable switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute and unmute sound. (Before iOS 4.3, the switch was capable of controlling only one of these features.)

  • GarageBand, Photo Booth, iMovie: These three apps, which have always been built into Mac computers, are now available for iPad. Photo Booth is a special effects app for photos that is built into iOS 4.3 and takes advantage of the new built-in camera, and you can buy the other two from the App Store. GarageBand offers you a world of virtual musical instruments to play, while iMovie allows you to edit videos you take with iPad 2's video camera.

  • iTunes Home Sharing: This feature lets you play your iTunes library of media (music and movies, for example) on any Apple device or on a PC over your home Wi-Fi network.

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