Apple shares spiked in response to news that chief executive Steve Jobs was making a personal appearance to launch the faster, thinner, dual camera iPad2 in San Francisco.
"We think 2011 is clearly going to be the year of iPad2," said Jobs, making a surprise appearance that boosted the Apple share price by $3, according to US reports.
"We've been working on this product a while, and I didn't want to miss today," said Jobs, who has been on indefinite medical leave since January.
The iPad2, which will be available in white and black from 11 March, will come in Wi-Fi only and 3G versions, each available at either 16, 32 or 64Gbytes of storage.
The differences between the iPad and iPad2 are subtle but great, said Computer Weekly's Faisal Alani in a blog post.
Apple's introduction of the iPad in April 2010 sparked a slew of tablet computing devices from competitors, but analysts predict Apple will maintain its lead in the near future, with more than 65,000 applications available for the device.
According to Forrester Research, the iPad will make up 83% of the 24 million tablets forecast to be sold in 2011.
Nearly 60% of almost 1,200 online poll respondents from 63 countries, said they expect to buy an iPad2.
The percentage is even higher (62%) in the United States. More than 20% of respondents said they are going to buy one and that it would be their second iPad purchased.
- An A5 dual-core processor
- Better graphics performance
- Front and back-facing cameras
- 33% thinner than the iPad1
- 0.2lbs lighter than the iPad1
- "Smart covers" that attach using magnets and fold up to form a stand for typing and watching videos
- An HDMI connector to hook to a television or computer monitor
- Apps including FaceTime, Photo Booth, iMovie, and GarageBand