Below is a complete transcript of iLounge’s play-by-play coverage of Apple’s iPad 2 media event, held on March 2, 2011, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco. Updates are presented in chronological order; photos from the event can be seen on iLounge’s Flickr account.
8:48AM PT: It’s a rainy day in San Francisco as people are assembling outside of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts to attend Apple’s second-generation iPad unveiling event. Join us a little before 10:00AM Pacific Time / 1:00PM Eastern Time for live updates from the event.
8:55AM PT: Ahead of the event, word leaked out from a reliable source that Apple has added a magnetic front lid clasping system to the new iPad, so that folio-style cases won’t need to have unsightly thick tabs with snaps or Velcro, and may be able to automatically lock and unlock the iPad’s screen as they close and open.
9:00AM PT: We also continue to hear that the new iPad will not be available for immediate purchase, with a minimum of 2-4 week availability deemed likely by sources. This would be similar to Apple’s iPhone release schedules, and unlike its iPod and Mac ones, which most commonly proclaim “in stores today” or “in stores tomorrow” during launch events.
9:11AM PT: Media passes for the iPad 2 event are purple plastic cards with an Apple logo, Media tag, and today’s date. Apple Media Relations badges are white with purple accents. Photos are being added to our Flickr photostream above.
9:20AM PT: Most likely because of the rain, Apple has actually allowed everyone to come inside the building before the announcement, queuing up next to the theater. In past years, there was always a mad rush from the Yerba Buena Center’s outside doors to get inside. Pictures on Flickr.
9:27AM PT: A representative of Smule, developer of numerous social music apps for the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, is amongst the crowd gathered at the event. Apple routinely invites key developers to attend, sometimes signaling that their products/apps are going to be mentioned at the event. “Guests” are issued orange badges this time.
9:32AM PT: Apple staff in blue t-shirts have filed into the theater.
9:38AM PT: It’s getting closer. Broadcast media were just allowed into the theater to set up their cameras.
9:42AM PT: Everyone else has been let inside. Pictures continue to go up on Flickr (above). Beatles music – Blackbird – is playing. Nice! Tim Cook, Jonathan Ive, Bob Mansfield and Phil Schiller are in the front row. No sign yet of Steve Jobs.
9:48AM PT: Note that Apple last year debuted the iWork applications for iPad at the same time as the device. Will this year bring more of iLife? An iMovie upgrade for the iPad cameras is obvious… Would Apple do iPhoto? Garageband? (Probably not iWeb or iDVD…)
9:52AM PT: For those who are curious about who may be on stage today: iPad and iPhone events have also included people such as Scott Forstall, the iOS VP. Ticket to Ride just played, now Revolution is playing. Will there be a musical guest at the event today? Paul? Ringo?
9:57AM PT: Here Comes The Sun is playing.
10:02AM PT: Applause in the theater. It’s Steve on stage. iBooks update: 100m books sold, and Random House now in the iBookstore. 200m accounts between the iTunes/App/iBookstores. 2500 publishers.
10:05AM PT: Developers have made over $2b from selling Apps in the App Store. Have shipped 100m iPhones.
10:06AM PT: iPod – 2001, iPhone – 2007, iPad – 2010. Everyone has been successful. iPad was marketed last year as most advanced technology, magical, and revolutionary. People laughed, but it was true. Look at competitors; their prices can’t match Apple’s. 2010 was the year of the iPad. 15m iPads sold in just nine months last year.
10:08AM PT: iPad has generated $9.5b in revenue in just 9 months. More than every Tablet PC ever sold. Most successful single product launch. Competitors had to go back to the drawing board with their designs. App Store has over 350,000 apps, 65,000 of those are fully for iPad. Other competitors don’t have the apps – Android Honeycomb has 100 apps. How to roll out so quickly? Apple retail stores were built for rollouts like this. Playing a video now about the year of the iPad.
10:11AM PT: Nothing really new in the video. Just discussing how successful and widely appealing the iPad has been, in everything from DJing to education in Chicago Public Schools. Medical applications, now.
10:15AM PT: Marc Benioff from Salesforce testifying to its business applications. Discussion of working with autistic children using the iPad. In other words, it’s a world-changing device, impacting all sorts of people and situations. Video’s over.
10:17AM PT: What about 2011? We haven’t been resting on our laurels. iPad 2. It is an all-new device. All new design. First thing is A5 chip. It’s dual core. Two processors inside, twice as fast, but graphics – all-out. Nine-times faster graphics. Same low power as A4 chip. First dual-core tablet to ship in volume. Second: video cameras. Rear and front. Also built-in a gyroscope. All of this stuff built-in, yet iPad is 1/3 thinner, 33% thinner. 8.8mm thin. The new iPad 2 is thinner than an iPhone 4.
10:21AM PT: Other tablets coming out are thicker than the original iPad. It’s down to 1.3 pounds, from 1.5. It feels quite a bit lighter, “totally different.” Comes in two colors, black and white, white shipping from day one. (laughter) In addition to both colors, AT+T and Verizon 3G versions from day one. Here we are adding stuff into the iPad, cameras, faster processors, etc, and we’ve made it way thinner. Something’s gotta give. You’d think we’d have to give up battery life. Engineers gave it the same legendary 10-hour battery life.
10:23AM PT: Preserves prices, too. Starts at $499 with all the new features. 16/32/64 versions, as before. Add all of these new features together with all of the 65,000 apps for the new iPad, 2011 will be the year of the iPad 2. Shipping? March 11 for U.S. only. Two weeks after that, March 25, in 26 more countries. This thing’s going to be everywhere. So that’s iPad 2.
10:26AM PT: Accessories. Two – HDMI video out cable, so you can connect to a TV. It works with all apps – anything you can see on the iPad screen goes into HDMI. Supports 1080p, rotation, no setup or configuration, and you can charge iPad with it. $39. Wow. Something even more popular: Smart Covers. For original iPad, there was an official iPad Case. But it made iPad bigger and more difficult to use. This time, the case and product were designed together. It’s a cover for the glass. Can be used as a typing stand, or video stand, folding into a triangle. Automatically puts iPad to sleep when closed, wakes when opened. (Leaves the iPad back exposed though.) Magnet grabs and auto-aligns the cover so that you don’t need to do anything special. It adds minimal weight and thickness, with a microfiber lining to clean the screen.
Comes in polyurethane or leather. First version shown in light blue.
10:31AM PT: Like a Pixar short, Jobs jokes to laughter. Magnets were built right into the iPad itself, he notes. Five colors of each version to choose from. $39 for the poly in gray, blue, green, orange, or pink, $69 for leather (tan/brown/black/blue/red). Boy, people won’t be laughing at the prices.
10:32AM PT: iPad will run iOS 4.3. Scott Forstall to discuss. Safari performance increased. Mac OS X gives iPad Safari the Nitro engine for 2x the speed. iTunes Home Sharing wirelessly streams to your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch. AirPlay improves. If you share photos, you can now use slideshow transitions from device on your TV. Apps from App Store and web sites can AirPlay video and audio to a connected Apple TV. Can set preference for iPad switch now – audio mute versus screen lock. Personal Hotspots. It’s for the iPhone 4, he says. New software for the iPad’s cameras.
10:36AM PT: Demo of camera software. Photo Booth for iOS. Full-screen photo with a collection of special effects windows at the bottom of the screen. Can share with friends. iPad 2 is so fast that 9 live video feeds for the special effects can be on the screen at once—similar to what was done with the iPod nano 5G. Next is FaceTime. The best/easiest way to video call. FaceTime between two iPads, iPad + iPhone/touch, and iPad + Mac. Here’s a demo.
10:39AM PT: FaceTime is full screen. You can switch between cameras to show people what you’re looking at. Little preview window appears in a corner of the screen. Looks like the iPhone/iPod touch version of FaceTime, only with more real estate. Demo over. Looks pretty good.
10:40AM PT: iOS 4.3 will be free on March 11. GSM iPhone 4 and 3GS, plus 3G/4G iPod touch. Not Verizon. iPads will all get it. Two more apps will be offered separately by Apple, Steve says. This sets the bar for third-party developers. iMovie for iPad is first. Apple is largest supplier of video editing software in world. Multi-track audio editing, precision editor, AirPlay directly to Apple TV. Share videos in HD with popular sites. New themes. Universal app so it will run on iPhone/iPod touch. Demo by Randy of iMovie team.
10:44AM PT: Main interface shows movie posters outside a theater. Separate video bin, timeline, and playback panes on the screen. The UI is an evolution of the iPhone/iPod touch application, resembling a beginners’ version of iMovie for the Mac. Powerful and impressive editing, for what it can do. The audio editing capabilities are a dramatic upgrade over what was in the prior application for iOS, and the additional screen real estate makes a big difference in being able to manipulate clips.