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Standing Ovation as Steve Jobs Unveils 'Dramatically Thinner' iPad 2

Company launches second-generation tablet in San Francisco

Apple chief Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2 on Wednesday, little more than a year after announcing its wildly popular tablet.

The company announced the second generation iPad at a press event at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts -- the same place it unveiled the first.

Jobs, who is curently on medical leave from Apple, appeared on stage and received a standing ovation.

“We’ve been working on this product for a while and I just didn’t want to miss today,” Jobs said.

First, Jobs announced that Random House will add 17,000 books to the iBookstore. With Random House on board, Apple finally has the six major book publishers among the 2,500 on its roster.

"But we're here to talk about the iPad," Jobs said. "People weren't sure the iPad price was magical ... well, ask our competitors."

Apple has sold more than 15 million iPads in its first nine months, generating over $9.5 billion in revenue. "The modern Tablet PC is the iPad," Jobs said. “2010 turned out to be the year of the iPad.”

Jobs then unveiled the iPad 2.

The design he said, is "all new" -- not a tweak to the first-gen iPad.

It's faster, with an A5 dual core processor, and significantly thinner. "One of the most startling things is it's dramatically thinner," Jobs said. "Not a little bit thinner -- 33 percent thinner." At 8.8mm thick, Jobs noted, the iPad 2 is actually thinner than iPhone 4. The tablet is also lighter, down from 1.5 pounds to 1.3. It will have two cameras, including a front-facing one.

Like the iPod, the iPad 2 will come in two colors -- white and black.

The prices remain the same as they did for the iPad 1 -- starting at $499 for the basic wi-fi version, up to $829 for the 3G, 64GB one -- and have the same 10-hour battery life.

Apple unveiled several new apps for the iPad 2, including FaceTime videoconferencing and iMovie.

The device will begin shipping March 11 in the U.S. and March 25 worldwide, Jobs said.

More to come. Refresh this page for updates.

[Images via CNET and Wired]