iPad 2 Ships March 11

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To a delighted audience, Apple’s Steve Jobs appeared on stage Wednesday, in an apparent hiatus from medical leave, to introduce the iPad 2.

Apple's Steve Jobs introduces the iPad 2The device adds dual cameras with FaceTime video chat to the iPad and it’s slimmer and faster than the original. Video is improved so the tablet may easily be used with a TV and charge while you use it.

There’s a new flap like cover for the device (as an option) , which may fold up to become a stand.

Jobs told the audience at a press event Wednesday, “We’ve been working on this product for a while, and I just didn’t want to miss today…Thank you for having me,” reported the AP.

The iPad 2 (now in white or black) steps up to a dual core processor so the speed is twice as fast, with up to 9X faster graphics. Apple claims the iPad 2 will be the first dual core tablet to ship in volume.

The iPad 2 is 33 percent thinner than the original and it’s thinner than an iPhone 4. It’s also shed a couple of ounces, now at 1.3 pounds, down from 1.5. It also now gets a gyroscope.

Steve Jobs introduces the iPad 2Battery life is the same 10 hours with a month of standby and the price is the same, starting at $499 for a WiFi-only, 16 GB model, stepping up to $829 for a 3G 64GB version.

Video is also improved with HDMI mirrored output, and 1080p resolution.

The new new flap like cover costs $39 to $69 in either plastic or leather.

iPad 2 coverApple also spent a considerable amount of time showing uses for the iPad including two new apps. There’s a GarageBand for iPad app that turns the iPad into a “smart” musical instrument—keyboard, guitar, drums–with 8-track recording and editing for $4.99 due out March 11. And there’s an iMovie app for personal video editing with multi-track audio recording.

Apple said the iPad is also being used in the medical profession and for children with autism.

Jobs noted, “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology is not enough. It’s tech married with the liberal arts and the humanities. Nowhere is that more true than in the post-PC products. Our competitors are looking at this like it’s the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive,” as per Engadget’s live blog at the press event.

Apple also announced iOS 4.3, with a better Safari web browser and iTunes so you can get all your content over WiFi. AirPlay has been improved—it automatically finds your Apple TV.

Apple further announced a personal hotspot for the iPhone 4.

Source: Engadget, AP via Yahoo! News

Photos via Engadget

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