Apple launched the second version of the iPad tablet on Wednesday at San Francisco, in a show held by CEO Steve Jobs.
Jobs has been on sick leave since the end of January, pushed up Apple shares, calming down investors and fans who feared that he was having health problems.
Full of energy, Jobs attacked rival companies and ridiculed competing tablets, in defiance of the information appeared in some tabloids that claimed he was seriously ill.
As usual, the Apple leader described the iPad 2 passionately, making a show typical of the U.S. company’s marketing machine.
At a reference price of $ 499 for its basic version, iPad 2 is thinner than an iPhone 4, two times more powerful than the first variant, and it has video cameras on both sides to facilitate videochat.
iPad 2 will enter the U.S. market on March 11 and will make its appearance in other countries on 25 and 26 March.
The tablet has a 1GHz Apple A5 dual core processor and the graphic performances are up to nine times better than the first version of the iPad, according to Engadget.
Scheme prices start at $ 499 for the basic version with 16 GB of storage and limited connectivity to WiFi, and reaches 829 dollars for the version with WiFi, 3G and 64 GB of space.
iPad 2 is able to play videos and movies at 1080p, but the adapter needed to connect to a display costs another $ 39.
iPad 2 has a higher rear mask for speakers and the display is a LCD IPS with a 1024×768 resolution, similar to the one on the first tablet.
Apple has sold nearly 15 million iPads after its launch in April 2010, three times more than some analysts estimated. The company might sell another 30 million this year, generating revenues of nearly 20 billion dollars, despite the emergence of numerous competitors such as Samsung, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Dell or Research In Motion.
As on the smartphone market, Apple’s main rival will likely be Google’s Android operating system, built by many gadgets manufacturers.
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