The iPad 2 and iOS 4.3 (And iMovie 2 for iOS and Garage Band for iOS!!!)

Incredible. The iPad came out a year ago. So far no one has produced a worthy competitor (despite plenty of pretenders to the throne). Apple upped the ante today, even though they’re still the only one that’s really in the game.

Steve Jobs (!) took the stage and announced 90% market share in the tablet market. This is a market that had all but been pronounced dead when Apple entered, and is a hotbed of strained activity today. Some companies (mostly no-names) have flung ship after ship into the sea, hoping one will make it. Some are out on a limb at the moment, waiting for some real sales (Samsung, Motorola, I’m looking at you). Some are still scrambling to get out the door (HP, RIM). All of them look pretty silly now, with Apple releasing a completely redesigned gen 2 tablet.

And I love the new “case.” So Apple, although RIM has had cases that told their devices when to sleep/wake for years. And the ability to “mirror” (quotes because the secondary image is actually in 1080) the display via an HDMI out is fantastic. This just became the way to do a presentation. Goodbye laser pointers, gyroscopic mice, PowerPoint, laptops, and VGA cables in the conference room. Speaking of, that HDMI connector also features a 30-pin dock connector repeater. I wonder if anything related to Thunderbolt is at play here - you know, since Thunderbolt involves the two-channel connectivity that makes delivering HD video and high-speed data simultaneously with no loss on a single connection medium possible.

And holy cow is browsing the Web about to get a billion times better. I love browsing on my iPad, but I will admit that javascript-intensive pages can be slow. Well, with a twice-as-fast processor and the Nitro javascript engine (part of iOS 4.3) that’s going to change.

iOS 4.3 also finally brings WiFi hotspot to iPhone 4 (GSM). I am guessing this will only be available to people who pay the additional $20 a month to AT&T and have the pro plan. It also brings AirPlay for third party apps. That should probably mean that Hulu+ will be able to play content on your AppleTV very soon. Oh happy day (although, I don’t have Hulu+…. yet). This could also mean that their model for apps on TV is just this: apps running on your iOS handheld device (Touch, iPhone, or iPad) can be displayed on your TV through your AppleTV, but you never need (get to) to run apps on your AppleTV.

GarageBand for iOS looks amazing. $5? Are you kidding me? How is that possible? Pianist Pro, which does a tiny fraction of what GarageBand does goes for $10. Apple’s going to piss off a lot of developers. That really does suck for them. But I sure do want GarageBand for $5.

No announcement about any cloud services, MobileMe updates or anything to do with that giant server farm, eh? Interesting.