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Apple declined Maximum Tech entry into its temporary ivory tower at the Yerba Buena Gardens for today's iPad 2 announcement. However, our own Susie Ochs from sister site Mac|Life scored a ticket to savor the sights and sounds of the latest "it" gadget.
After the bluster of the official unveiling, Susie got a chance to grab some real-world, hands-on experience with the iPad 2 before being politely shooed away by the Apple staff.
Here are the salient points of her first-person report:
• Its weight loss from the original iPad (1.5 pounds) to the iPad 2 (1.3 pounds) looks minor on the surface, but is actually noticeable when you hold it.
• At 8.8mm (down from 13.4mm), it's almost astonishingly thin. The iPhone 4 is one of the thinnest smartphones, and the iPad 2 is even thinner.
• It looks purr-ty. (Well, truth be told, Susie describes it as "gorgeous.")
• A live FaceTime call went off without a hitch.
• The built-in Photo Booth app operates smoothly, showing nine simultaneous video feeds off the front camera and deftly showcasing the brawn of the new dual-core A5 processor. Plus, it's fun, Susie says. You can easily manipulate the wacky, wild visual effects before taking a snapshot, plus you can flip the iPad around to use the more powerful backside camera.
• We still don't know if there is more RAM in the iPad 2. Apple isn't saying (and she did ask). Said an Apple rep when Susie asked about the RAM specs: "We didn't mention that." Said Susie in reply: "Yeah. I noticed."
• Screen size is still 9.7 inches with 1024x768 resolution and 132 pixels per inch. Susie thought the iPad 2 screen's might be brighter, but that remains inconclusive.
• The optional Smart Covers look brilliant in real life and work like a dream. They magnetically snap to the right position every time.
Check out our top 10 gallery photos below. For many more photos and full iPad 2 coverage, go to MacLife.com.
So, is the iPad 2 what you expected? And are you impressed?