Apple unveils iPad 2 – lighter, thinner, faster, cameras & more

Following months of speculation, wish lists and rumors, Apple officially announced the next iPad model today. iPad 2 features a host of improvements over its predecessor – some obvious, some less so.

Instead of simply regurgitating everything Steve Jobs said on stage, we’re just going to provide the goods: what the new iPad offers, when it arrives (hint: very soon) and how much it will cost. The answer to all three might surprise you.

Apple unveils iPad 2 - lighter, thinner, faster, cameras & more

iPad 2 will be available on March 11th reports, well, everyone. That gives you just over a week to scrape together the cash and plan your excuse for a sick day. If the original iPad launch is any indication, expect to wait on long lines with fellow early adopters.

Apple’s new tablet will come in six flavors, the cheapest model costing $499 and is limited to Wi-Fi. The priciest version comes in at $829 and provides a whopping 64GBs of storage space. Some new versions of iPad2 will also boast 3G capabilities, along with support for AT&T and Verizon.

Rumors about a visual redesign turned out true. The iPad 2 is lighter and thinner. Sadly, the screen resolution remains identical to its forebear. A new dual-core processor, the A5, means the tablet will boast improved processing speeds and increased graphical prowess (up to 9x faster) – something that may bode well for Apple’s push into competing with both portable gaming handhelds and competing tablets.

Front and back-facing cameras – a much anticipated inclusion – means users are able to chat via video calls with others using Facetime or other apps.

If you want complete iPad 2 specs, Apple’s official site has you covered. Let us know if you’ll be picking up an iPad 2 next week. And be sure to compare all the new additions to the iPad 2 wish list we published last year. How many did we get right?