Steve Jobs announces Apple iPad 2 and declares 2011 Year of the iPad 2

Apple’s Steve Jobs emerged from his medical leave this morning and walked on stage to standing ovation to unveil the second-generation of the popular iPad.

According to Jobs, the iPad 2 is a “dramatically faster” dual core processor device that is 33 per cent thinner than the original. Some of the new features include cameras that can be used with the iPad 2’s video-conferencing software, FaceTime.

The iPad 2 is shipping March 11th in the US and March 25th in Canada. It will range in price from $499 US for the WiFi 16 GB version to $829 for the 64 GB version that supports both WiFi and 3G.

Apple also announced a new operating system, iOS 4.3, and new accessories for the iPad, including a magnetic cover that automatically puts the device into sleep mode and an HD video output cable that can be used while the device is charging.

During this morning’s event Apple also announced that the iPad has sold roughly 15 million units since it first hit stores in April 2010 and the 100 million iPhones have been sold since their launch.

According to MobileBeat, the BlackBerry PlayBook will hit shelves on April 10th. Ouch.

Photo: Engadget