iPad 2: What you need to know

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Smart Cover, Digital AV adapter accompany iPad 2 launch

To accompany the newly unveiled iPad 2, Apple on Wednesday also announced two new accessories that promise to enhance the experience of its latest tablet—a cover with a stand and an adapter for getting slides, movies, and photos from your ipad to a larger screen.

The iPad Smart Cover, which is designed to work both as a typing stand and to facilitate the all-important watching of movies and other video, comes in two materials— polyurethane or leather. The trick is in the folds. The Smart Cover folds in various places so you can create a stand to hold the unit upright, or tilt the iPad into a typing position. The Smart Cover can also flip back and out of the way. If you want to shoot HD video, the Smart Cover can fold in half to expose the back-facing camera.

Apple offers the iPad case in five colors. The polyurethane covers come in gray, pink, green, blue, and orange. The leather covers come in black, cream, red, dark gray, and off-white.

The Smart Cover sports a unique design. Covering only the front of the unit, it is held in place by magnets from both the iPad itself and the cover. Because it covers only the top, it adds minimal thickness to the total package.

Apple says it’s easy to convert the Smart Cover into a stand. The case also automatically wakes the iPad from sleep when you open it and puts the tablet to sleep when closed.

The Smart Cover’s micro fiber lining also serves to clean the screen when you move it.

The polyurethane model costs $39 and the leather offering sells for $69. They’ll be available for the iPad 2’s March 11 launch.

The second important accessory Apple announced Wednesday is its Apple Digital AV Adapter, which offers HDMI mirrored video output. That means that what you see on the iPad 2 screen—slides, movies, photos—can also be viewed on a large screen HDTV, video projection screen, or other HDMI-compatible display, in 1080p. Just plug in an HDMI connector and a dock-connector cable.

The HDMI out works with all apps. Using it requires no setup or configuration; it supports rotation, and routes digital audio to screens that support it. A second built-in 30-pin connector lets you charge your iPad while it’s mirroring.

The Apple Digital AV Adapter costs $39. In addition to working with the iPad 2, it also supports video out for the original iPad, the iPhone 4, and the fourth-generation iPod touch, though mirroring is only supported with the new iPad.

Updated 12:00PM PT with details, new images, and cover colors.
Updated at 1:03 p.m. PT to include information on iPhone, iPod touch, and original iPad compatibility with the Digital AV Adapter.Updated at 2:14 p.m. PT to add information about mirroring support.

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