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Today, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the second-generation iPad. The iPad 2 isn't a huge departure from the original—both have a 9.7 inch screen, for instance, and 10 hours of battery life—but there are a few cool new features.

Perhaps the most notable upgrade is the addition of front and rear cameras for FaceTime video chats. Unlike many new Android tablets, the original iPad did not have a camera, which was a big drawback for some users. The tablet runs on a faster 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 processor.  And it's a a couple of ounces lighter than the first iPad, starting at 1.3 pounds for the Wi-Fi only model. The new tablet is slimmer as well, at a depth of .34 inches. Unlike the original, it comes in both white and black.

Apple also announced some nifty new accessories. The iPad Smart Cover ($39 to $69) aligns magnetically to the iPad, automatically wakes and sleeps the tablet, and serves as a stand. The cover comes in either polyurethane or leather in a variety of colors. You can also purchase an optional adapter ($39) that lets you mirror your iPad display on an HDTV, allowing you to view apps, web pages, presentations, videos, movies, and photos on a big screen.

The iPad 2 and accessories are slated to begin shipping on March 11 in the U.S. The tablet starts at just $499 for a 16 GB model, the same entry price as its predecessor.

Last updated: Mar 2, 2011




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