Apple Announces Next-Generation iPad

At today’s media event, Apple announced the next generation of its popular iPad tablet device. Featuring a thinner design with a 1GHz dual-core processor, the new iPad will also have front and rear-facing cameras and will come in black and white versions. It will work on both GSM and CDMA networks and begin shipping on March 11 in the U.S.

At just 8.8 mm thick, the iPad 2 is thinner than the iPhone 4 which is 9.3 mm thick. It’s also lighter than the first generation iPad at 1.3 lbs, down from 1.5 lbs. Despite the decrease in size, the iPad will have the same 10-hour battery life and 30 days of stand-by time.

Pricing and capacities for the new iPad remains the same, starting at $499 for the Wi-Fi only 16GB model and moving to $599 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model and $699 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will cost $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.

New accessories will be available for the next generation iPad, including an HDMI-out cable priced at $39 and cases called Smart Covers that cover the device’s screen and are secured by magnets. Smart Covers will automatically wake the iPad 2 when opened and put it to sleep when closed. They will come in multiple colors in polyeurethane, priced at $39 each, and leather, priced at $69 each.

Steve Jobs made an unexpected appearance given the announcement of his most recent leave of absence in January to kick off the event and make the majority of the announcements himself.