Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Apple, AT&T, Verizon, Dell and Google

Mar 04, 2011, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, March 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com Analyst Blog features: Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) and Google (Nasdaq GOOG).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Analysis of Apple's iPad 2

After launching the much-hyped tablet computer, iPad, on April 3, 2010 in the U.S., Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) introduced iPad 2, its second generation tablet computer with additional features. Despite the buzz about the new iPad, the company's shares rose a modest 0.8% or $2.81 per share and closed at $352.12.

Old vs. New iPad

Most of the functionality and appearance remains the same in both the iPad versions. The tablet computer can be used for web browsing, reading and sending emails, viewing photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games and reading ebooks. Further, both versions have a battery backup of 10 hours and can be used for a month on standby without charge.

While both versions have an LED-backlit LCD touchscreen that measures 9.7 inches (25 cm), the new iPad 2 is 33.0% thinner and up to 15.0% lighter. The first iPad weighed around 1.5 pounds and iPad 2 weighs closer to 1.3 pounds. The iPad 2 is 8.8 millimeters thick compared with13.4 millimeters for the first version iPad.

In terms of speed, the iPad 2 features a dual-core A5 processor chip for enhancing graphics capabilities. Apple commented that the graphics performance of iPad 2 would be nine times faster and that standard calculations would be twice as fast as its predecessor.

Moreover, iPad 2 has dual cameras for video conferencing, including a front-facing VGA camera for FaceTime and Photo Booth, and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video. The previous version lacked the second camera, and given its speed limit more than one app could not run on the iPad at the same time.

iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, with new features including Safari mobile browsing performance, iTunes Home Sharing and AirPlay. There are 65,000 apps specifically made for the iPad available at the Apple app store.

iPad 2 is available in black and white models and will be distributed via both the AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) 3G networks. The previous version of the iPad was only available through AT&T.

Most importantly, the launch price of iPad 2 is same as the first version. The iPad 2 will be available in the U.S. on March 11 for $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model and $699 for 64GB (only for the Wi-Fi model).

The other model with both Wi-Fi and 3G will be available at $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB. On March 25, Apple will begin shipping iPad 2 overseas, reaching out to 26 countries including the U.K., Germany and Japan.

Our Take

With several new entrants flocking to the market, the competition for iPad is heating up. Apple's competitors in the tablet market already include Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) (Streak tablet), Samsung (Galaxy Tab), Toshiba (SmartPad tablet), Acer and Lenovo, most of which are based on Google's (Nasdaq GOOG) Android OS.

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