Somewhere, infamous iPad enthusiast Phil Dunphy is smiling. On March 2, Apple CEO Steve Jobs staged a (semi)surprise return from sick leave — clearly indicating just how important his cult of personality still is to the tech firm — to introduce an upgraded version of the groundbreaking tablet. The iPad 2 adds an HD video camera and promises to be twice as fast as its predecessor, thanks to a dual-core A5 processor. (It’s also about a third slimmer than an iPhone 4 — and will ship in both black and white.) More intriguingly, the iPad 2 will be able to better utilize apps like GarageBand and iMovie, making it capable of content management, not just consumption. Best of all, it’ll cost the same as the original iPad — from $499 for the basic Wi-Fi-only version to $829 for the souped-up 64-gigabyte 3G device. (The new iPad will also work on both AT&T and Verizon.) The tablet market is getting crowded, with recent Android-powered arrivals like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom, but with 15 million iPads sold in 2010, Apple still dominates the field with an 80 percent-plus market share, according to a study by Strategy Analytics. In other words, when the iPad 2 ships this weekend, expect to see big lines at your local Apple Store.
Posted March 11 2011 — 12:00 AM EST
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