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iPad 2: How does the new Apple iPad compare to the original?

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(Read caption) iPad 2 – the long-awaited follow-up to the original Apple iPad – has arrived. Here, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the iPad 2 at an event in San Francisco.

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Oh, hey, look at that. After months of prognostications and rumor-mongering – some of it conducted right here on the Horizons blog – Apple has trotted out a shiny new tablet computer called the iPad 2. (Personally, we were hoping for something a little more exciting than "iPad 2," but we are more than willing to admit that branding is not our strong suit – and besides, "iPad 2" works just fine. It's utilitarian!)

So what does the iPad 2 have that the original iPad did not? Well, for one, it's smaller: 33 percent thinner than its predecessor and just a smidge lighter. (The iPad 2 weighs 1.3 pounds and the first iPad weighed a-not-exactly-chunky 1.5 pounds.) Meanwhile, the iPad 2 gets a pair of cameras – one rear-facing and one front-facing for FaceTime chat – and a gyroscope, just like the iPhone 4, which should improve gaming capability.

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Operating speed is up, too, thanks to a Dual-core 1GHz A5 processor, Gizmodo reports. Thankfully, price points will remain the same across the board. A Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 will set you back $499, while 3G models start at $629. To recap: The iPad 2 is faster, lighter, skinnier, and exactly the same price as the iPad 1. (We're assuming we'll see some sort of price drop on remaining iPad units, but no word on that yet.)

Recommended:Enter the iPad 2 era: Is this a gadget, a computer, or a TV? Yes.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who took a medical leave of absence earlier this year, was on hand today to unveil the iPad 2. "We've been working on this product for awhile and I didn't want to miss today," Jobs said, according to PC Magazine. Jobs said the iPad 2 would begin shipping in the US on March 11 and in other parts of the world on March 25; stateside, 3G service will be available through Verizon and AT&T.

And hey! We almost forgot. Unlike the Apple iPhone 4, the iPad 2 will ship in white or black versions – right out of the gate.

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