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Who knew that Apple was launching a new gadget today? Well, it happened, along with a new OS update, some clever covers and other tricks unveiled by Steve Jobs himself.

Not long ago, Steve Jobs took center stage in San Francisco, to a rapturous reception and unveiled Apple's second iPad to the world. Among the preamble information was the news that over 65,000 apps are available for the iPad and as we've already seen with Egnyte, much effort is being made to make it an enterprise-class device.

But, the main event was the unveiling of the new machine and it packs some impressive specs. It is around a third thinner than the original iPad and slightly lighter.

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iPad, now available in white
 

Breaking the Opposition

For a start, iPad 2 is available in black or white versions, offering the color coordinated among you a choice. It packs a dual-core processors, moving up to the A5 CPU with the same power usage and offering double the processing speed and, it is claimed, almost ten times the graphics power, likely to make it a gaming monster.

As expected, there are front and rear cameras and a gyroscope, plus HDMI-out to throw your content onto large screens, with mirror video so you can work on the iPad. All that power comes at the same price as existing models, from US$ 499 and they will start shipping on March 11 (March 25 in Europe. The 3G models will work on AT&T and Verizon.

There is a new magnetic cover system to help protect the device which also acts as a folding stand, very smart! These covers, available in plastic or leather, will help give it a further range of color differentiation as they wrap around.

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Keeping it covered and looking bright
 

Also on Show, iOS 4.3 and New Apps

As expected, the next version of the iOS operating system was also unveiled with performance in browsing and iTunes Home Sharing, allowing you to throw content around to other devices in the home. The cameras are used to good effect in the new Photo Booth software,offering a range of fun effects and FaceTime allowing conferencing across all iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Other apps include iMove for iPad, offering precision editing, audio recording and HD video sharing or posting to social sites. GarageBand for iPad brings the cool music app to the tablet with more new features including touch instruments.

So, Apple has added pretty much all the asked-for features, and caught up and overtaken  those Android and other tablets - most of which still aren't available - that were hoping to make a mark in the market, they are already starting to look underspecified.

It's really a choice of do you like Apple and its locked-in stores, or a little more freedom offered by some of the opposition? Of course, you could just hang on and wait for the iPad 3 which is supposed to feature even better technology and an uprated screen.

Whatever your position, Apple is ticking all the right boxes for many and will probably hope to beat the original iPad's sales. The Apple iPad site updated during the event and has some neat pictures of the device.