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Photos: Apple iPad 2 UK launch in pictures

Hands-on with the iPad 2 at Apple's UK launch event...
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By Natasha Lomas on
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1 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Hands-on with the iPad 2 at Apple's UK launch event...

Apple finally took the wraps off the iPad 2 yesterday at an event in San Francisco, bringing to a close months of speculation about what the next generation of the tablet would bring.

In London, the UK tech press watched the Apple event via video link before being ushered into an adjoining room to get hands-on with the iPad 2.

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2 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

The iPad 2 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, has a faster processor, a gyroscope, and front and rear cameras for video-calling. The battery life and price tag stay the same as the iPad. The device will land in the UK on 25 March.

The tablet comes in either black or white. The white iPad 2, pictured above, was in evidence in the demo room. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said both black and white iPad 2s would ship "from day one" - unlike the white iPhone 4, which still hasn't surfaced more than six months after the original launch.

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3 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Steve Jobs' appearance on stage to unveil the iPad 2 was a surprise, because he was meant to be taking medical leave of absence from the day-to-day running of Apple.

"We've been working on this product for a while and I just didn't want to miss today," he said.

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Here's a close-up of the white iPad 2.

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5 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

And here's the black iPad 2 being demoed by Apple staff.

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6 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

The iPad 2 is a third thinner than the original iPad - just 8.8mm versus the iPad's 12.7mm.

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7 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Here's a close-up of the iPad 2's new, bigger speaker.

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8 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

And here's a view of the back of the iPad 2.

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9 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Here the iPad 2, top right, is pictured next to the first-generation iPad, bottom left, for size comparison.

The iPad 2's dimensions are 185.7mm x 241.2mm x 8.8mm, versus the original iPad's dimensions of 189.7 mm x 242.8mm x 12.7mm.

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10 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

The most obvious difference in form factor between the first- and second-generation iPad is thickness. The iPad 2 - shown here on the left next to the original iPad - feels much thinner than its predecessor. "It almost floats," said Jobs.

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11 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Jobs dedicated a lot of time at the iPad 2 launch to a new screen cover Apple has designed, which is called a smart case. The dedicated screen cover attaches to the iPad 2 via magnets built into the tablet. The covers are designed to fold into different configurations to prop up the device. Here, the case is used to make typing on the iPad 2 easier.

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12 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Here, the smart case is folded to facilitate video-viewing.

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13 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

When the case is folded over the screen, the iPad 2 automatically goes to sleep, waking when the cover is opened. The smart cases also have a microfibre lining to help combat the scourge of touchscreens everywhere: fingerprint smudges.

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14 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

The case can also be folded behind the iPad to make it easier to hold, as shown above.

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15 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

There are 10 colours of smart case - five made of polyurethane, such as the red case pictured above, and five leather covers. The polyurethane smart cases cost $39, while the leather ones will be $69.

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16 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Apple also demoed FaceTime video-calling on the iPad 2, calling some very tolerant US colleagues and demonstrating how the view can be flipped to the rear camera to show the iPad 2 user's surroundings.

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17 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

The iPad 2's cameras are also used in Apple's Photo Booth software, which applies various visual effects to self-portraits.

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18 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

Apple also announced two iPad apps coming on 11 March. The first is GarageBand for iPad, which offers touch instruments, such as the guitar pictured above, and eight-track audio recording.

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19 of 19 Natasha Lomas/silicon.com

The second of the two iPad apps coming on 11 March is iMovie for iPad, which lets tablet owners record and edit films directly on the slate.

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