After months of speculation and rumors both false and true, Apple today revealed its iPad 2.

Speaking at a media event in San Francisco, Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs unveiled the device, which both continues and alters the formula of its predecessor. With an A5 chip, significantly improved graphics and performance capabilities, the upgrade is nine times faster than the original iPad.

At 8.8 mm, the iPad 2 is not only thinner than its predecessor, but more svelte than the iPhone 4 as well. Apple also made the device lighter, cutting its weight to 1.3 pounds from 1.5.

No improvements were made in the iPad 2's battery capacity, which still hovers at around ten hours.

A white iPad joins the original black model, a move likely to draw the ire of consumers awaiting a white verision of Apple's iPhone.

Apple isn't changing the iPad 2's price. The 16GB WiFi model will run for $499. A 3G-equipped version will be available for $629. Jobs said the iPad 2 would be available on March 11.

Two cameras join the iPad upgrade. Taking advantage of  the new camera functionality, the iPad 2 comes equipped with Photo Booth and FaceTime, Apple's video chat service. FaceTime allows  iPad 2,  3rd and 4th generations of the iPod Touch, and Mac computers to communicate.

But the iPad 2 is not without its omissions. Apple stripped the iPad of its internal HDMI port, offering an adapter for $39.

Alongside the iPad 2 will be a special multi-purpose Smart Cover. Equipped with magnets, the
Smart Cover signals to the iPad when to sleep, and, when removed, when to wake. It also acts as a dock, folding on itself to allow the iPad lean against it.

Apple also announced the release of iOS 4.3, an upgrade to the iPad's operating system, which Jobs said features an improved version of its Safari web browser.

Apple also announced an iPad version of iMovie, its video editing software. Available at the iPad's launch the software will cost $4.99 upon its release.

Also making its iPad debut, Garageband, the music creation software previously available on Apple computers. Like iMovie, the software will also be available on March 11 for $4.99.

Jobs emphasized the key role of applications like Garageband and iMovie. The hardware and software need to intertwine more than they do on a PC. We think we're on the right path with this.

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