Apple unveils iPad 2

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Apple has unveiled the second version of its flagship tablet device, the iPad 2.

In a surprise move, Steve Jobs - the company's chief executive (CEO) that is currently on medical leave - took to the stage to announce the device.

"We've been working on this product for a while and I didn't want to miss this event," he said.

The iPad 2 will feature a dual core A5 processor and Jobs claimed the graphics would be nine times better than the first model.

It is 33 per cent thinner than the first iPad - even thinner than the iPhone 4 - and will actually weight 0.2 pounds lighter than its predecessor.

The iPad 2 features two cameras - one front and one rear - to allow for Apple's video calling application, FaceTime. It also has an HDMI output with 1080p capabilities.

Jobs claimed the tablet would still have a 10 hour battery life and remain at the same price in the US, starting at $499 (305) for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model.

As an addition, Apple unveiled "Smart Covers." The flexible products act as screen covers rather than full cases and use magnets to stay attached. They also make the tablet sleep or wake up depending whether the cover is closed or not.

The iPad 2 will be available in both black and white and has been given a UK launch date of 25 March. However, the US will get its hands on the device as early as 11 March.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.