Tablet update announced by Jobs at San Francisco event

Apple today launched the successor to the iPad – iPad 2

Apple’s iPad 2 will boast both front and rear facing cameras, as well as a newly-developed A5 chip and dual-core processors, delivering up to twice as fast CPU performance and up to nine times faster graphics than the previous iPad.

Although recently announcing
a leave of absence from the company due to ill health, Apple CEO Steve Jobs
took to the stage to announce the tablet, commenting that ‘we’ve been working
on this product for a while, and I didn’t want to miss it’.

Undoubtedly one of the most
important features on the iPad 2 for photographers is the on-board imaging
iPad 2 features two on-board cameras, as well as new ‘Photo Booth’
software for quick editing of images captured. Although no exact specification are available for the on-board cameras, Apple note that the rear camera will record HD video at 720p resolution, while the front camera will capture VGA stills. iPad 2 also now allows for FaceTime,
the video conferencing software so popular with Mac and iPhone users alike.

One rumoured addition which would had appealed to photographers, but that didn’t make the final cut, was the addition of an on-board SD card slot, but for now photographers will have to make do with the camera expansion pack.

An updated version of iMovie
for iPad 2 was also debuted at the event, showcasing both the extra power of
the iPad 2 and the new features designed to utilise it, including the ability
to share videos in HD, as well as a host of social network sharing options.

iPad 2 also offers HDMI out functionality, outputing at full 1080p and facilitating display of apps at this resolution.

Also announced was a range of
colourful ‘Smart Covers’ – these attach to iPad 2 through magnets and both
serve as a cover for iPad 2 when not in use, and also fold back to form a
triangular stand that supports the weight of the device when freestanding.

iPad 2, which measures in thinner than the iPhone 4, will offer the same battery life as the iPad. The good news is that UK customers won’t have to wait an age to get their hands on one, as iPad 2 is due to ship 25th March, and will be available in both black and white at launch in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variations.

There’s no news on a UK price as yet, but US pricing starts at $499 for the 16GB with just Wi-Fi connectivity, ranging to $849 for the 64GB version with both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.