San Francisco – Apple (NASD: AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs, currently on his third
medical leave of absence from the company, showed up on Wednesday at an event
in San Francisco to unveil the company’s new iPad 2. According to CNET’s live
blog of the event, Jobs called the device "dramatically faster" and
"dramatically thinner" than the original iPad, with a CPU that is
twice as fast and graphics that are nine times faster. The new iPad, which Jobs
said was 33% thinner than its predecessor — and actually thinner than the
iPhone 4 — also features both rear- and front-facing cameras; a gyroscope;
HDMI video out; a personal Wi-Fi hotspot; FaceTime; iMovie and Garageband.

new iPad will come in two colors — white and black — and versions that work
on both AT&T’s and Verizon’s networks.

The company also introduced its own
$39 polyurethane "Smart Cover," which triggers sleep mode when
attached to the iPad via magnets.

After publisher Random House announced
yesterday it would adopt an "agency model" for e-book pricing, Apple
said it has added 17,000 Random House e-book titles to its iBookstore, which now
counts 2,500 publisher partners.

Pricing for the iPad 2 will remain the same as
the previous model, ranging from $499-$829, when the device ships on March 11
in the U.S., and in 26 additional countries on March 25.

Jobs said Apple sold
15 million iPads in 2010, accounting for 90% of the nascent market.

The device
has so far generated $9.5 billion in revenues for the company.



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