Apple Announces iPad 2

Apple guru Steve Jobs received a standing ovation at the company’s latest press conference. As expected, the company announced the new generation of its popular tablet computer, the iPad.

The iPad 2, due to his the U.S. market on March 11, will feature some changes to the original’s design, including rear and front facing cameras for video. Apple has created an iPad app version of its iMovie video editing software for $4.99.

It’s 33% thinner than the first generation and Jobs says the iPad 2 is thinner than the iPhone 4.

Another big announcement: Apple will offer it in both black and white, with the white model shipping from day one.

The iPad 2 will come in both AT&T and Verizon versions.

It will also feature the new A5 chip, which Jobs says will make graphics up to nine-times faster over the original iPad. The iPad2 will have HDMI out via a $39 cable. Output will go up to 1080p and allow for mirrored video output.

The optional case for iPad has been replaced with a magnetic cover that can be folded into a stand for the device and has a microfiber cloth that can clean the screen. It will be available in leather ($69) and polyurethane ($39) in multiple colors for each.

Apple says pricing will remain the same for the iPad 2. The company will offer 16GB ($499 for WiFi; $629 for WiFi+ 3G); 32GB ($599 and $729); 64GB ($699 and $829).

At the announcement, Jobs referred to the iPad as the company’s “third post-PC blockbuster,” with the first two being the iPod and the iPhone. He claims that the iPad has more than 90% of the tablet market.

Engadget’s live coverage of the announcement [Engadget.com]