Jobs Introduces The $499 iPad 2

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San Francisco - Apple's Steve Jobs today personally took the wraps off its second-generation iPad.

A noticeably thin Jobs, who is on a leave of absence from Apple due to health issues, took the stage at the Yerba Buena Theater, here, to bring out the new iPad to the cheers of the crowd.

The 9.7-inch iPad 2 will come in six versions, with a starting price of $499, and it will ship on March 11. The 16GB Wi-Fi is $499; 32GB Wi-Fi, $599; and 64GB Wi-Fi, $699. Adding 3G to each SKU brings the respective prices up to $629, $729 and $829.

International shipping will begin on March 26.

The iPad 2 has an all new design and is powered by a A5 new dual-core processor, which is twice as fast as the one on the current iPad, and new faster graphics processor. The iPad 2 will run on iOS 4.3 and act as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot for users with an iPhone 4.

The iPad 2 is 8.8mm thick, down 33 percent from the original's 13.4mm, and its weight drops to 1.3 pounds from 1.5 pounds.

Other features include front- and rear-facing cameras and built-in gyroscope. It will come in two colors: black and white. It has an HDMI-out port

The iPad 2 will work on the AT&T and Verizon 3G networks from the start.

Apple said it will have 10 hours of battery life and a month of standby power.

The first accessory shown was the Smart Cover, $39. It protects the glass, and, when opened, wakes up the device. It can also folds up to act as a keyboard stand.


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