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The iPad 2 is a second generation tablet computer designed, developed and marketed by Apple primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, and web content. Its size and weight fall between those of contemporary smartphones and laptop computers. Apple unveiled the iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 10 a.m. PST (18:00 UTC) on March 2, 2011. Prior to the release of the iPad 2, there was much media speculation of the device's features.

History

Apple's development of a tablet computer began with the Newton MessagePad 100, first introduced in 1993. This effort led to the creation of the ARM6 processor core with Acorn Computers. Apple also developed a prototype PowerBook Duo-based tablet computer, the PenLite, but did not sell it to avoid hurting MessagePad sales. Apple released several more Newton-based PDAs, and discontinued the last in the line, the MessagePad 2100, in 1998.

The product of original iPad was announced on January 27, 2010, at an Apple press conference at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The second generation of iPad: iPad 2 launched at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 2nd, 2011.

Hardware

Screen

There are four physical switches on the iPad 2, including a home button below the display that returns the user to the main menu, and three plastic physical switches on the sides: wake/sleep and volume up/down, plus a third which, as of iOS 4.3, acts as a mute switch. Initially this switch was utilized to lock out the screen rotation function (reportedly to prevent unintended rotation when the user is lying down). However, with the iOS 4.3 update, this functionality was removed and rotation lock is now controlled with a software toggle via the iOS task switcher.

The display responds to two other sensors: an ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness and a 3-axis accelerometer to sense iPad orientation and switch between portrait and landscape modes. (Related: iPad Wallpaper)

Connectivity

The iPad can use Wi-Fi network trilateration from Skyhook Wireless to provide location information to applications such as Google Maps. The 3G model contains A-GPS to allow its position to be calculated with GPS or relative to nearby cellphone towers; it also has a black plastic accent on the back side to improve 3G radio sensitivity.

Input and output

The iPad 2 has a fairly minimalist selection of external ports and it only has a dock connector for general input and output and a 3.5mm headphone jack for plugging in headphones to listen to audio. It also has a speaker and a microphone. (Related: You may need to connect iPad to computer for iPad backup.)

Controls

To control the iPad 2 and the software it runs you mostly use the multi-touch touchscreen display. The iPad 2 also has external buttons for sleep, mute and controlling the volume as well as a button to return to the home screen. It also has an Accelerometer (for motion sensitivity) and a digital magnetic compass. (Related: Control PC with iPad.)

Software

Applications

The iPad 2 comes with several applications, including Safari, Mail, Photos, Video, YouTube, iPod, iTunes, App Store, iBooks, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, and Spotlight Search. Several are improved versions of applications developed for the iPhone. The iPad syncs with iTunes on a Mac or Windows PC. Apple ported its iWork suite from the Mac to the iPad, and sells pared down versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps in the App Store.

Digital rights management

The iPad 2 employs DRM intended to lock purchased content—including TV shows, movies, and apps—to operate only on Apple's platform. Also, the iPad 2's development model requires anyone creating an app for the iPad to sign a non-disclosure agreement and pay for a developer subscription. Furthermore, critics argue Apple's centralized app approval process and control and lockdown of the platform itself could stifle software innovation. Of particular concern to digital rights advocates is the ability for Apple to remotely disable or delete apps, media, or data on the iPad 2 at will.

Jailbreaking

Like other iOS Devices, the iPad 2 can be "jailbroken", allowing applications and programs that are not authorized by Apple to run on the device. Once jailbroken, iPad 2 users are able to download many applications previously unavailable through the App Store via unofficial installers such as Cydia, as well as illegally pirated applications. Apple claims jailbreaking voids their factory warranty on the device in the United States.

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