Apple iPad 2 announced today by Steve Jobs at Apple event

Apple iPad 2 announced today by Steve Jobs at Apple event.

Jobs appearance was a surprise, but he did in fact make the event. He shared some stats about the iBookstore, which has 2,500 publishers. He also announced that Random House is bringing over 17,000 books to the store.  

Then came the announcement. The iPad 2 is faster with the A5 chip and a dual core processor. Apple says it's up to 2 times faster,a nd up to 9 times faster on graphics. It's 33% thinner (thinner than the iPhone 4) and only 1.3 pounds compared to 1.5 on the old one. This should make it a little better for reading publications like The Daily - as far as general comfort.

It comes in both black and white. There is a rear and front-facing camera. Battery life is the same as old iPad - 10 hours, over a month of standby.

 "We have the same legendary 10 hour battery life... with all this extra stuff in it and dramatically thinner." And the pricing remains unchanged, starting at $499 for a 16 gigabyte model.

 

The iPad 2 ships March 11 in the U.S., in "at least 26 more countries" on March 25.

Jobs lists some upcoming accessories. A $39 HDMI output cable (so you can plug an iPad into an HDTV without buying a dock).

A "smart cover" case that magnetically grasps the iPad 2 to protect the screen, sends it to sleep when covered and wakes the iPad when you open it. It comes in a choice of colors and with either a polyurethane (Jobs notes that they make spacesuits out of polyurethane) or leather exterior, with a microfiber lining on the inside the clean the screen. The former costs $39, the latter $69.

 

New iPad 2 features in short:

•Dual-core A5 processor, up to 2x faster than old iPad

•Front and rear cameras

•Built-in gyroscope

•8.8 mm thick (1/3 thinner than old iPad which was 13.4 mm thick)

•Weighs 1.3 lbs (down from 1.5 lbs)

•10 hour battery life

•Supports wireless data connections with AT&T and Verizon carriers

•Will be available in black and white

•Price: (WiFi) 16GB $499, 32GB $599, 64GB $699 (WiFi + 3G) 16GB $629, 32GB $729, 64GB $829

•Available in the U.S. starting March 11

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