Apple has launched the successor to the iPad. All hail the iPad 2, which is 33% thinner, has a dual-core processor and now has two cameras.

As we suspected, the updated product isn’t that revolutionary – but it will certainly be enough to keep the iPad going until Apple can build a new high-definition screen and some different sizes. And when Steve Jobs took to the stage, you just knew that no matter how mundane a launch might be – it will suddenly be a major talking point for the weeks ahead.

You can hardly ignore the fact that at 33% thinner (making it thinner than an iPhone 4 at just 8.8mm) and with a dual-core A5 processor (that also boasts 9x graphics performance) that will keep Apple in the game for those who play by numbers, the iPad 2 will quite possibly get everyone wanting to upgrade. The original iPad suddenly got old, fast.

You’ll also be able to get an iPad 2 in white from day one, which will be an on-sale date of March 11th in the US and March 25th elsewhere. What’s more, despite the faster chipset, Apple insists the battery will remain the same at 10 hours. An optional dongle now allows you to output the iPad 2 to an HD television via HDMI at 1080p.

If the hardware isn’t enough, Apple has also created a new range of Smart Covers, in a range of colours and materials, switching the iPad 2 on and off automatically when you open and close the cover using a new sensor in the iPad 2. The covers feature a micro-fibre lining to clean the screen, and can also be folded to double up as a stand.

Naturally, this is going to have all of the third party accessory companies extremely excited, which in turn helps create more demand for the product. Apple’s clever marketing at its best.

Apple also launched iOS 4.3, with improved JavaScript performance in Safari and iTunes home sharing, to get content directly via Wi-Fi. iOS 4.3 will also be rolled out to the original iPad, the iPhone and iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation models). iPhone 4 users will also gain the new ‘Personal hotspot’ feature, sharing the 3G data connection over Wi-Fi. Finally, iPad users will get to choose what the iPad switch will do, from turning off screen rotation to muting the audio.

Just like the original iPad, the iPad 2 will be available in two key configurations, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G, with storage options of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The pricing is unlikely to be changed on the original, which will now be phased out.

Next page: Official press release

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