The iPad 2: It’s official

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With the world waiting patiently for Apple’s anticipated iPad 2 tablet, Steve Jobs delivered the bombshell at the launch event.

And it’s a biggy. Apart from it costing the same as the original iPad did at launch – $499 dollars – it will feature the same 10 hour battery life. That may sound a bit lame, but consider this:

The iPad 2 features a mighty dual core A5 processor that apparently is twice as fast. Makes sense when you have twice the processing potential. Not only that, it can cope with graphics nine times faster, which should ensure games will look even better.

A gyroscope and two cameras, for FaceTime use, also makes the feature list, as well as a ‘smart cover’ that wakes the iPad 2 up when opened, and puts it to sleep when closed. As technical as that sounds, it’s all to do with magnets.

A major plus is the HDMI cable support, which will cost $39.00 from Apple. Whether it will have a special Apple-specific connector or some clever tech to stop you using your own home cinema HDMI we aren’t yet sure. Hopefully not, but it wouldn’t surprise us, given Apple’s past anti mini-USB stance.

Software enhancements include Photobooth, a faster Safari experience, improved AirPlay functionality, FaceTime and iMovie, a precision multi-track audio editor that can upload video in HD straight to websites.

The device will launch in the US on March 11, 2011, the same day iOS 4.3 goes live. For the UK and 26 other countries, it will be March 25 before we get our hands on it.

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