Steve Jobs unveils iPad 2 amid stronger competition

Apple CEO Steve Jobs flaunted the second generation iPad to an invite-only audience in San Francisco yesterday.

The iPad 2 features front and rear-facing cameras and a slimmer physique than the iPhone 4. It runs twice as fast as the original iPad, and up to nine times faster on graphics with its dual core processor.

The new tablet device will be available in Australia on March 25th, with the base model priced at $AU629. A free update of the new operating system – iOS 4.3 – will be available in Australia on March 11th. The new software is also compatible with third and fourth generation iPod touch devices and iPhones.

A number of new accessories will be available with the iPad 2. Due to a number of requests from teachers, an HDMI video out option will be available which allows users to present the iPad’s display simultaneously on other screens. Mac applications GarageBand and iMovie will also be available on the new tablet device.

The iPad 2, weighing a mere 590 grams (compared to the original iPad’s 680 grams), is 8.8mm thick, which is 33 percent thinner than its predecessor. The tablet will be available in black or white.

Last year Apple sold just under 15 million iPads, which resulted in a $US9.5 billion revenue for Apple in just nine months.

Many Apple fans prefer to wait till second generation versions of products are released to ensure major glitches are resolved. However, many forecasters predict strong competition from Motorola, Microsoft, Samsung as well as a number of smaller manufacturers creating iPad “copycat” devices which are sure to wear a cheaper price tag.

You can learn more about current 3G iPad plans here, or for recommended iPad WiFi plans click here.