Apple formally announced its next-generation iPad in a San Francisco event March 2, ending months of speculation over how the company would advance its popular tablet. Officially dubbed the iPad 2, the newest device includes hardware upgrades that bring it level with the newest high-end competitors, most notably the Motorola Xoom.
In a twist that surprised many audience members, in light of his recently-announced leave of absence for undisclosed medical reasons, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to unveil this latest offering. "I didn't want to miss it," he said, as media furiously live-blogged his comments. CNN also provided a slightly-delayed live stream.
Jobs then painted a quick picture of Apple's inroads into the mobile scene: 100 million iPhones shipped, $2 billion to developers in app sales, 200 million accounts for the company's three online storefronts (iTunes, App Store, iBooks), and 15 million iPads sold.
"Is 2011 going to be the year of the copycats? I think if we did nothing, maybe a little bit," he said. "But we haven't been resting on our laurels."
That was the cue for the iPad 2 to appear on the giant screen behind him. "What have we learned? What can we improve?" Of the tablet, he said: "It's a complete new design. First thing is: it's dramatically faster. We have a new chip we call A5."