Apple launched the iPad 2 today amidst the predictable buzz and hype. The technical improvements are relatively modest, but that won't matter much. The real story is that one year after the iPad's launch, the rest of the industry still has nothing that can touch it in terms of usability, platform strength, or even price. Yes, there will be a LOT of tablets hitting the market this year. The HP TouchPad, BlackBerry Playbook, and Honeycomb-based devices, like the Motorola Xoom, are all seem very promising. But don't kid yourself, as Charlie Sheen would say: the iPad is Winning.
Just to recap today's new: faster, thinner and the same price. The new A5 CPU will be twice as fast, the device will be 33% thinner, and the WiFi version will start at $500. The addition of Verizon as a carrier is nice, but otherwise there isn't a ton new hardware here. Front and back cameras will enable FaceTime—a feature everyone wants and nobody will use. The most important detail we got was that the iPad will go on sale March 11—that is when Apple can start collecting cash en masse again.