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Christmas Gift Guide

Meet the iPad 2

Dorsal side

Rear-facing camera

Front-facing camera

Thinner than iPhone 4

Smart Cover

Perks aplenty

Magnetic attraction

iOS 4.3

Multitouch

White!

Two cameras

Backlit LED display

Smart Cover

Also a stand

Hinges

Taste the rainbow

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.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
The front-facing camera handles VGA quality and is video-chat-ready. Hello, FaceTime!
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

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).

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
A magnetic attachment keeps the Smart Cover rooted in place.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET
Multitouch support makes finger gestures more powerful, thanks to the new iOS 4.3.

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.

Caption by / Photo by Apple
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.
Caption by / Photo by Apple
The 9.7-inch backlit LED display continues the iPad's multimedia prowess.
Caption by / Photo by Apple
The magnetic iPad Smart Cover snaps over and under the iPad to cushion and to protect the screen.
Caption by / Photo by Apple
Here's how Smart Covers also serve as a viewing stand.
Caption by / Photo by Apple
The micro-fiber material can conveniently help clean the screen, at least in theory (polyurethane version).
Caption by / Photo by Apple
The 10 colors of Smart Covers, five each for the polyurethane case ($39) and five for the leather ($69).
Caption by / Photo by Apple
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