Best_shots_20110302-224x163Thinner, lighter, and faster -- per usual. Apple's iPad 2 offers a number of updates from the first-gen gadget, including a dual-core A5 processor, magnetic "smart" cover, and biracial availability (it comes in white now, too). Shipping March 11th, the deuce also introduces a number of video-centric features: not just one but two cameras (front- and rear-facing), and it also premieres for the first time on the iPad Apple's consumer video editing program, iMovie.

The iPad 2 can now shoot 720p video at 30fps from the rear-facing camera, and VGA (640x480) video from the front-facing lens (which allows one to video conferenceFaceTime). It's also got an HDMI output, for mirroring the iPad's display on a HDTV or computer monitor. But the HDMI port is reportedly only an output, so one the most sensible potential uses for an iPad -- as an on-set monitor -- is still impossible for filmmakers. Personally I had my fingers crossed for a higher resolution display and a Thunderbolt connection, but perhaps those will have to wait until the iPad 3. The Thunderbolt connection, to me at least, makes too much sense to not migrate to the iPad, given it's both a high-speed data pipe and a mini DisplayPort. And Apple could ensure Thunderbolt's success almost singlehandedly by including it on millions of iPads.

Here's Apple's marketing video; FaceTime and iMovie are featured starting around 2:30 in.

iMovie, apparently, requires too much horsepower for the A4 chip in the first-gen iPad, so it's an iPad 2, iPhone 4, and 4G iPod Touch exclusive. Here are a couple of looks at the new iMovie touchscreen interface:



It's certainly not going to replace Final Cut Pro, but I suppose filmmakers could use an iPad on-set to demo a rough edit. And as iOS features continue to trickle up to OS X, one does wonder if there's a future for touch-based NLEs.

What do you think of the new iPad -- if you have the first-gen, does it offer enough to justify an upgrade, and if you don't have one, was this enough to put you over the edge? Any use for the new iMovie?

[via Engadget]