Apple CEO Steve Jobs unexpectedly returned from medical leave to present the iPhone-maker’s second generation iPad, the iPad 2.
Thinner, lighter and faster but without any particularly surprising new features, the iPad 2 as expected adds two cameras and the 1GHz dual-core A5 processor running at 1GHz.
The new device also ships with iOS 4.3 and includes an a gyroscope and compass. The screen size and resolution remains unchanged at 9.7-inches with 1024 x 768 pixels.
Apple also unveiled a Digital AV adaptor priced at $39 which provides a HDMI output for the iPad 2. The device is surprisingly also compatible with the first generation iPad, iPhone 4 and 4th generation iPods. The adaptor provides a 720p image to HDMI capable displays.
With the launch of the iPad 2, Apple is dropping the price on the previous generation to $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad while the new model occupies the old price points as the earlier model.
In typically combative style, the thin-looking but otherwise energetic Steve Jobs took some swipes at the competition, claiming that Android tablets had yet to catch up with the first generation iPad.
Jobs also pointed out that the top end 64GB 3G-equipped iPad 2 would cost more than the Android Honeycomb champion, the $799 Motorola Xoom. The equivalent 32GB iPad 2 costs $729.
The iPad 2 goes on sale in the US on the 11th of March and in 26 other countries including Western Europe, on the 25th.