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iPad 2 launches with GarageBand

Apple's new tablet is thinner, faster and better for musicians

iPad 2

Despite reports of Steve Jobs' deteriorating health, as expected and true to turtleneck form, the Apple co-founder took to the stage yesterday to announce the arrival of iPad 2.

So what's new?

The big news for musicians is that iPad 2 houses a "dramatically faster" dual-core processor called the Apple A5 (one major gripe of its predecessor was its sluggish processing speed).

It's also thinner at 8.8mm (that's less than an iPhone 4's 9.3mm) and 15% lighter but hasn't lost any of its 10 hour battery life. The 9.7-inch display is exactly the same as before, although graphics capability is 9x that of the current model.

A camera on the front enables FaceTime, capable of 720p video.

There's still no sign of a USB port, but a new HDMI out means you'll be able to hook the iPad 2 up to your TV. Oh, and the chassis is available in white, as well as black, apparently…

GarageBand

Steve Jobs also announced the arrival of iOS 4.3 (available for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch on 11 March) and with it the news that many musicians have been waiting for: GarageBand for iPad.

GarageBand for ipad

For $4.99, Apple claims to have re-built GarageBand "from the ground up" to take advantage of the iPad's multi-touch screen. The app appears to have borrowed many of its desktop version sibling's features including the multi-track arrange window. Touch-sensitive instruments and controls are welcome additions.

Sharing options also make it easy to export tracks to iTunes and to your desktop Mac.

GarageBand will work on existing iPads, although we're not sure how smoothly it will run without the dual-core processor.

Price and availability

The iPad 2 will be available in the UK from 25 March (a considerably faster turnaround than the wait which followed the original iPad's announcement). Prices are not definite yet, but as iPad 2 costs the same in the US as its predecessor, expect the models to start at £439 here.

Check out our friends at TechRadar for a hands on Apple iPad 2 review.

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