Today at 1pm EST, Apple is holding an event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, where they are expected to reveal the details behind the much anticipated iPad 2.

In typical Apple fashion, nothing has been confirmed ahead of schedule but there are some likely updates to the device. The iPad 2 is likely to be thinner and lighter, have a front-facing camera, better speaker and a faster processer as most generation successors do. There may also be a Verizon 3G option, or at least a dual-mode chip that supports both AT&T and Verizon. Since it’s expected to release sometime in the near future, there could also be more details of iOS 4.3.

A couple of the last minute rumors that may be a stretch are a white iPad option and Thunderbolt support.

Being that GDC 2011 is currently going on at the Moscone Center, right across the street from the iPad 2 event, we could anticipate some form of gaming presence or announcement at the event as well. Apple has featured titles for their devices in the past and it would be all too convenient with GDC happening a few steps away.

As for the official details, stay posted below. Keep in mind, you’ll have to manually refresh to stay up to date!

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Introduction

  • Steve is on stage! “We’ve been working on this product for awhile, and I didn’t want to miss it.”
  • iBooks: Over 100 million books downloaded to date, Random House bringing 17k books to the store.
  • Over 200 million accounts across their iTunes, iBooks and App stores.
  • Just shipped 100 millionth iPhone.
  • 15 million iPads sold in 2010, more than every tablet PC ever sold.
  • 65,000 apps specifically for the iPad

Apple iPad 2 Announcement

iPad 2

  • All new design
  • “Dramatically faster” with new Apple A5 processor
  • Dual core processors, 2X faster CPU, 9X faster graphics
  • Front and rear facing cameras (no flash)
  • Gyroscope like the iPhone and iPod Touch
  • 33% thinner, 8.8mm versus 13.4 – thinner than the iPhone 4
  • Lighter at 1.3 pounds versus 1.5
  • Comes in black and white – white available on day 1
  • AT&T and Verizon support
  • Same 10 hour battery life
  • Same storage capacity options and same price bracket as the original, starting at $499
  • Ships March 11th!
  • 1080p  HDMI output with additional $39 cable
  • Magnetic cover with built-in microfiber. Poly cases $39, leather $69 with 5 colors each. Also folds and acts as a stand for the iPad.

iPad 2 white and black

iOS 4.3

  • JavaScript performance improvement in Safari
  • Air Play and iTunes home sharing enhancements, enabling the viewing of media from your computer to iOS device over WiFi
  • Preference for side switch to be assigned to mute or rotation lock
  • Photo Booth for front-facing camera
  • FaceTime to work across all iOS devices – iPad to iPhone to iPod Touch
  • Personal hotspot feature to be included in 4.3 for iPad and AT&T’s iPhone 4 (already in Verizon’s)
  • iOS 4.3 update to release on GSM only, meaning AT&T and not Verizon, and co-releasing on March 11th with the iPad 2.

Apps

  • iMovie update taking advantage of the upgraded power in the iPad, Air Play support and export options to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc. $4.99.
  • Garage Band for iPad; touch instruments, eight track recording/mixing, 250+ loops, compatible with Mac version. Out March 11th for $4.99.

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That wraps it up! No “one more thing”, but the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3 will come with a good amount of new features.

There wasn’t anything gaming specific, but with the addition of the gyroscope and the big increase in the speed of the processor and graphics display, the iPad 2 has become a much stronger platform for mobile gaming than its predecessor.

Here’s the official iPad 2 commercial:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_I9OEV6_Ak

What is your favorite addition to the iPad 2 and iOS 4.3? Will you wait in line on March 11th, or will you pass on the next generation of Apple’s tablet?

Photo credit: Engadget

tags: Apple, iOS, iPad

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