Recap at 2:57: Apple CEO Steve Jobs emerged from medical leave to introduce the new iPad 2. This post was updated as details came out at the event unveiling the new tablet.
Updated at 2:50: The Apple Store is back online, featuring the new lineup of iPads. In addition to the new tablets, Apple also introduce "Smart Covers" for the device, which are thin covers that use magnets to align themselves on the iPad. Pulling back a sheet of fabric or leather wakes the iPad up; closing the sheet puts it to sleep.
Covers for the first-generation iPad have not been awesome; the new models are not compatible with the older iPad.
Updated at 2:01: Jobs shows how iPads now work with Apple's iMovie, Garage Band programs — "it's awesome" he says, according to Laura Sydell. She says Garage Band supports 8-track mixing.
Updated at 1:51: New iPads go on sale in the U.S. on March 11 for the same price as current models — $499 to $829. Owners can also buy a $39 cable to hook up their tablet to HD TV sets, allowing them to watch video up to 1080p.
Updated at 1:43: The new iPad 2 uses front and rear cameras — "FaceTime video phone looking really good on iPad 2. Can use it between all Apple devices," Sydell says.
Updated at 1:41: With iOS 4.3, it will now be possible to get shows and movies off iTunes wirelessly, Sydell says.
Updated at 1:35: iPad 2 Specs
According to Laura Sydell: the new iPad 2 is one-third thinner than the older model. It renders graphics nine times as fast.
And, she says, Jobs "is gloating that Apple has left every other company in the dust when it comes to slate computer sales."
Updated at 1:30: Apple Announces Sales Numbers
According to TechCrunch's MG Siegler, Jobs began Wednesday's event by announcing that Apple's iTunes media store has more than 200 million registered users, complete with credit-card info. According to the CEO, "it's very likely that this is the most accounts with cards anywhere on the Internet."
Our Original Post:
Apple CEO Steve Jobs appeared at the tech company's iPad event Wednesday in San Francisco, sending fans into a tizzy. Speculation over whether the tech innovator would be on the stage had nearly overtaken the rumor-mills about what the company would actually announce.
The emergence of Jobs provoked a standing ovation. Jobs has been on indefinite medical leave since January. In recent years, he has fought pancreatic cancer and received a liver transplant.
"He seems energetic," said NPR's Laura Sydell, who's attending the event.
The new iPad is expected to include a camera and other updates. In anticipation of the new device's release, the Apple Store site was taken down Wednesday morning and replaced with a note that the staff was "busy updating the store and will be back shortly."
Dressed in his usual Apple Event uniform of a black turtleneck and jeans, Jobs told the crowd, "We've been working on this product for a while and I just didn't want to miss today," according to the AP.