The new iPad 2 - faster, thinner and lighter than the original, and with an ingenious new "Smart Cover," is yet another impressive technical achievement from the design wizards at Apple. But as with all consumer electronics products, those attributes will only go so far in compelling consumers to crack open their wallets and buy. Steve Jobs knows better than anyone in the world the gadget marketer's manifesto, "It's not what it is, but what it does," so it's no surprise that as sexy as iPad 2 is, yesterday he also rolled out exciting new ways the iPad 2 can be used. The common theme: video apps are going to be critical to driving iPad 2's sales.
First and foremost is FaceTime, Apple's video chat app that is enabled on the iPad 2 with the addition of a VGA front-facing and 720p HD rear-facing camera to the device. These upgrades address the single-biggest criticism of the original iPad (aside from the inability to play Flash-based video) - that a device so conducive to personal video chatting shipped without the onboard cameras to do so (which in turn led to conspiracy theories that the cameras had been purposely left out to give the subsequent release extra juice).
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