The wraps come off iPad 2

  • Front and rear-facing cameras
  • Twice as fast
  • Thinner than the iPhone 4
  • Available in Australia on March 25

Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs has taken the stage to unveil the iPad 2, the upgraded version of its market-leading tablet computer.

His appearance is a surprise given he announced he was taking medical leave in January as a result of pancratic cancer and a liver transplant.

Jobs said the new iPad – which goes on sale in the US on March 11 and in Australia on March 25 – was an “all new design” with a new processor that would make the device twice as fast.

A new version of the Apple mobile operating system – iOS 4.3 – will also come out as a free update on March 11.

“The first thing is it’s dramatically faster,” he said, talking about the new dual core A5 processor. “It’s up to nine times faster on the graphics.”

As expected, the iPad 2 comes with front and rear-facing cameras and a built-in gyro for advanced gaming.

The Apple CEO said the new iPad would be 33 per cent thinner – from 13.4mm to 8.8mm thick. He said that would make it thinner than the iPhone 4. The iPad 2 will also be lighter: 590 grams versus 680 grams.

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