Apple iPad 2 and Smart Cover (photos)

Apple's next-generation iPad, the iPad 2, is slimmer, more colorful, and tricked-out with a boatload of new features.

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Meet the iPad 2

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco to unveil the highly anticipated iPad 2. This next-generation Apple tablet is 33 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the previous model, but has the same price tag and is packed with new features.

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Dorsal side

The polished back cover conceals internal tech specs, like a dual-core A5 processor that Apple claims will make the iPad 2 up to twice as fast for CPU functions and nine times faster than its predecessor when it comes to mobile gaming.
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Rear-facing camera

Instead of the absence of cameras we got with the original iPad, the iPad 2 has two of them. The rear-facing camera, pictured here, supports 720p video capture.
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Front-facing camera

The front-facing camera handles VGA quality and is video-chat-ready. Hello, FaceTime!
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Thinner than iPhone 4

The height and width may look similar, but in terms of thickness, the iPad has done some dieting. It shrank from 13.4mm thick on the original model to 8.8mm thick for the iPad 2. It's thinner, even, than the iPhone 4.
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Smart Cover

We largely knew what to expect going into the iPad 2 announcement, but Apple's clever Smart Covers were a genuine surprise. Composed of panels, they snap to the iPad quickly, easily, and accurately.

"You can add it in a second. You can remove it in a second," Jobs said. The new case comes in five colors for the polyurethane version ($39), and five as well for the leather ($69).

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Perks aplenty

As even better perks, the Smart Cover automatically puts the tablet to sleep when you snap it on and wakes it up when you take it off. The paneled covers are foldable, too, to serve as a stand in landscape and portrait modes.
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Magnetic attraction

A magnetic attachment keeps the Smart Cover rooted in place.
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iOS 4.3

The iPad 2 gets a software upgrade as well. iOS 4.3 will introduce new apps like GarageBand, Photo Booth, and iMovie for iPad. It will also get support for AirPlay and AirPrint in addition to four-finger multitouch.
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Multitouch support makes finger gestures more powerful, thanks to the new iOS 4.3.
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Apple has historically had trouble giving users the promised white models of its iOS devices, but CEO Jobs promised that the iPad 2 will come in white at launch, in addition to the signature black color. March 11 is the magic day here in the U.S. It will arrive in stores in 26 other countries on the 25th.

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Two cameras

A major complaint with the first iPad was its lack of cameras. As we mentioned, Apple's second stab has two: a front-facing VGA resolution camera, and rear-facing shooter offering 720p video recording.
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Backlit LED display

The 9.7-inch backlit LED display continues the iPad's multimedia prowess.
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Smart Cover

The magnetic iPad Smart Cover snaps over and under the iPad to cushion and to protect the screen.
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Also a stand

Here's how Smart Covers also serve as a viewing stand.
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The micro-fiber material can conveniently help clean the screen, at least in theory (polyurethane version).
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Taste the rainbow

The 10 colors of Smart Covers, five each for the polyurethane case ($39) and five for the leather ($69).

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