Apple launch iPad 2

As widely expected, Apple have announced the iPad 2. In a presentation by founder and CEO Steve Jobs who took the day off from his sick leave to make the announcement.

As usual with such events, Jobs started the show with a few updates as to how Apple sales and figures are shaping up, of note are the inclusion of Random House as a new iBook publisher, an ever growing number of itunes customers and that 100 million iPhones have now been shipped.

The main attraction of course was the introduction of the iPads successor, the iPad 2. The new tablet heralded as an "All-new design...not tweaked, not marginal improvements" by Jobs sports impressive, if not unsurprising, specifications.

The processor has been upgraded from the original A4 to the dual-core A5, which utilises the same low power consumption as it's predecessor but provides speeds up to twice as fast and nine times faster graphics. This apparently makes the iPad 2 the first tablet computer to ship with a dual core processor.

The iPad 2 also features cameras, both front and rear facing, which was probably the most anticipated feature for the iPad platform. Along with the new cameras comes new software to the iPad with the inclusion of Photo Booth, FaceTime and a new version of iMovie made for the iPad.

The new tablet is a little thinner and lighter than the first iPad losing 33% in depth and a slight reduction down to 1.3lbs from the previous , which should help some tired wrists. Inside there's a gyroscope for more accurate position based recognition, something which will most likely be jumped on by games developers.

Over the last few days the rumour sites have been talking about the possibility of the new iPad coming in white. The iPhone 4 was originally supposed to but never materialised due to production issues. However this doesn't seem to be a problem for the iPad 2 which is going to ship in white from day one. Prices start from $499 and shall be available in the US from March 11th and in 26 more countries from March 25th.

Apple have also improved on the case design for the iPad 2, with a new magnetic cover which wakes the iPad when opened and can be folded to create a typing stand and shall be available in five colours.