Dr John Halamka endorses Apple iPad at iPad 2 launch event

By Brian Dolan
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iPad2FaceTimeThe original iPad, which launched early last year, proved to be a hit with physicians -- some 22 percent of US docs were using iPads at the end of 2010, according to Chilmark Research. This morning Apple launched the iPad 2, a thinner, lighter version of the popular tablet device, which now includes two cameras, gyroscope, dual core A5 processor and more. It also features more of the same: Still $499 and the battery life is still 10 hours. As is tradition, and despite being on medical leave, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the new device from the keynote stage in Cupertino, California.

A few minutes into Jobs' talk (and before the iPad 2 was debuted), he played a video that chronicled the iPad's adoption and uptake in various vertical markets during the past year. The second "vertical" featured? Medicine.

"Sometimes doctors are overhwhelmed with data," Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO Dr. John Halamka said during the video. "What we have tried to do with the iPad is to give doctors at the point of care the tools they need at the exact moment the doctor can make a difference. We're finding with the iPad doctors are spending more times with patients. In fact, doctors are engaging patients by showing them images, showing them data on the screen. So it has empowered doctors to be more productive but it has also brought doctors and patients together."

Halamka 3Halamka, of course, recently announced that he would step down from his post as chairman of the US government's Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP). Perhaps he'll become a healthcare market advisor to Apple?

"So I think what is so exciting about the iPad, is it will change the way doctors practice medicine," Halamka concluded. (Interesting footnote: Not too long ago, Halamka was pitching BlackBerry devices, remember.)

Jobs also included a couple of images of medical apps during his opening remarks. After noting that there are now more than 65,000 apps in the AppStore that take "full advantage" of the iPad, meaning they are designed for that platform and its larger screen and faster processor, he showed screenshots of a handful of such apps: "All sorts of... wonderful, wonderful apps... and a lot of apps for business and vertical markets like medical. The things people are doing here are amazing," Jobs said.

iPad medical"For those of you who have iPhone 4s, the new iPad 2 is actually thinner than your iPhone 4," Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during the keynote. "We are incredibly happy with this. When you get your hands on one, it feels totally different," he said. "And all these other tablets are coming out -- most of them even thicker than the original iPad -- nothing even approaching this."

Between April 2010 and December 2010 Apple sold almost 15 million iPads -- "That's more than every tablet PC ever sold," Jobs said. "The tablet PC did not invent the modern tablet PC. It crashed and burned. The modern tablet PC is the iPad."

iPad medical appsThe iPad generated $9.5 billion in revenue for Apple in 2010. "Many have said that this is the most successful consumer product ever launched." In 2010 iPad had "over 90 percent marketshare and our competitors were just flummoxed," Jobs said. "They went back to their drawing boards. They tore up their designs because they just weren't competitive."

Apple also showed clips of how the iPad had proven helpful for some people with Autism. Apps like Proloquo2Go help people with autism (and others who have difficulty speaking) to verbally communicate with others through their iPad.

Here are a number of other details about what's new in iPad 2:

  • iPad 2 is 33 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than iPad 1.
  • Features Apple's new dual-core A5 process, which makes it twice as fast according to Apple.
  • Rear-facing camera offers 720p video recording at 30fps along with 5x digital zoom.
  • Front-facing is VGA-resolution but also records at 30fps
  • Supports Apple video chat app FaceTime
  • 3G connectivity from AT&T or Verizon Wireless available
  • Available in white or black
  • Includes HDMI output capable of 1080p
  • Becomes available March 11

More in the press release from Apple after the jump:

Apple Launches iPad 2

All New Design is Thinner, Lighter & Faster with FaceTime, Smart Covers & 10 Hour Battery

SAN FRANCISCO-March 2, 2011-Apple® today introduced iPad™ 2, the next generation of its magical device for browsing the web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading ebooks and much more. iPad 2 features an entirely new design that is 33 percent thinner and up to 15 percent lighter than the original iPad, while maintaining the same stunning 9.7-inch LED-backlit LCD screen. iPad 2 features Apple's new dual-core A5 processor for blazing fast performance and stunning graphics and now includes two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime® and Photo Booth®, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video, bringing the innovative FaceTime feature to iPad users for the first time. Though it is thinner, lighter, faster and packed with new features, iPad 2 still delivers up to 10 hours of battery life* that users have come to expect. iPad 2 is available in black or white, features models that run on AT&T's and Verizon's 3G networks, and introduces the innovative iPad 2 Smart Cover in a range of vibrant polyurethane and rich leather colors.

"With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we're launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again."

With the new front and rear cameras, iPad 2 users can now make FaceTime calls to millions of iPhone® 4, iPod touch® and Mac® users so they can see family and friends anywhere there is Wi-Fi. Photo Booth lets you apply fun visual effects, including eight photo special effects like Squeeze, Twirl and Kaleidoscope, to photos captured by either camera.

iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, the latest version of the world's most advanced mobile operating system, with new features including faster Safari® mobile browsing performance; iTunes® Home Sharing; enhancements to AirPlay®;** the choice to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio; and Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.*** Additional iPad 2 features include a built-in gyro for advanced gaming; HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds on iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G on AT&T, and HDMI Video Mirroring that lets users mirror their iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.

The innovative new iPad 2 Smart Cover provides protection for the iPad screen while maintaining its thin and lightweight profile. Designed with a unique self-aligning magnetic hinge that makes it easy to attach and remove, the new iPad 2 Smart Cover automatically wakes iPad 2 when it's opened and puts it to sleep when it's closed, and has a soft microfiber lining to help keep the screen clean. The Smart Cover also folds into a stand for typing or viewing videos and is available in vibrant polyurethane for $39 or rich leather for $69 in a range of colors, including a (PRODUCT) RED one which helps support the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Apple also introduced two new apps: iMovie® and GarageBand® for iPad, both available on the App Store℠ for just $4.99 each. With iMovie, iPad 2 users can shoot and edit videos right on their iPad and post their movies to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and their MobileMe℠ gallery; watch them on their iPod®, iPhone or iPad; as well as view them on their HDTV using AirPlay and Apple TV®. GarageBand turns your iPad into a collection of touch instruments and 8-track recording studio, allowing you to perform with onscreen keyboards, guitars, drums and basses using multi-touch gestures–even if you don't play a musical instrument.

iPad 2 runs almost all of the over 350,000 apps available on the App Store and there are more than 65,000 native iPad apps available from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. The iTunes Store gives iPad users access to the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over 14 million songs, over 50,000 TV episodes and over 10,000 films including over 3,500 in stunning high definition video. The iBooks® app for iPad includes Apple's iBookstore℠, the best way to browse, buy and read books on a mobile device.

Pricing & Availability

iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G compatible with the Verizon network will be available in the US only for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 will be sold in the US through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iMovie and GarageBand for iPad apps will be available on March 11 for $4.99 each from the App Store on iPad or www.itunes.com/appstore.

iPad 2 will be available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on March 25; and in many more countries around the world in the coming months. Further international availability and pricing will be announced at a later date.

*Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.

**AirPlay video requires second generation Apple TV running the latest software.

***Personal Hotspot requires supporting data plan. Customers should check with their carrier for availability.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

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