Apple iPad 2 Specs and Shipping Date

iPad 2 was unveiled at a special Applepress event by CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday. Jobs’ appearance was a surprise for those in attendance as he has been away from the company on a self-imposed medical hiatus as of late.

The most notable upgrades in the next generation tablet computer include a new A5 chip, faster CPU, two cameras on the unit (front and rear cameras, which will allow users to activate “FaceTime). The new iPad 2 will also come in either white or black designs, features a gyroscope in it’s latest design (which is 33% thinner than the previous iteration at 8.8 mm), and will feature support for both CDMA and GSM cellular networks (AT&T and Verizon).

Apple also debuted support for two new accessories; an HDMI Mirrored Video Output via dock cable, offering up to 1080p to computer monitors and HD televisions, as well as a new “smart cover” that acts as a protective screen/microfiber cleaner when on the iPad and props up the device when taken off.

Two things that didn’t change: the iPad 2′s battery life remains at 10 hours and the price point begins at $499 for wi-fi only.

The iPad 2 will be available March 11, 2011 with the latest release of the iOS 4.3 software update for other devices. Check out the Apple website for a video preview of all the new features and accessories of the iPad 2.