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Network World - If the launch of Apple's iPad 2 tablet computer was expected today, the appearance onstage of ailing CEO Steve Jobs was not. And it set the tone for the entire event: he was welcomed by a standing ovation.
As many predicted, the new iPad is thinner and lighter than the original, packs a powerful dual-core processor and will, Jobs promised, ship in black and white on Day One. Prices, expected by some to drop, are staying unchanged. The new hardware comes with a new version of the iOS operating system, dubbed iOS 4.3.
Early reports that the iPad 2 might be delayed proved false: the new tablet ships March 11 in the U.S., and March 25 in many other countries. (Speculation swirled earlier in the day that the RIM PlayBook might play an iPad 2 spoiler, but rumor is the enterprise-focused tablet won't ship until April 10.)
Jobs, who is on medical leave though was seen last month at a tech executive dinner with President Barack Obama, seemed thinner than usual, in his customary faded jeans and black turtleneck. But that was the only sign of his unidentified affliction: he had numbers readily to hand, and made his points quietly and authoritatively. The numbers show Apple's remarkable emergence as a leader, possibly the defining company, in what Jobs called a "post-PC" world.
Apple has just paid out over $2 billion to iOS developers, and recently shipped the 100 millionth iPhone (and iPhone 5 fever is already rolling) . The majority of Apple's revenues now come from post-PC products: iPhone, iPod touch, iPod, and iPad.
As expected, iPad 2 sports a dual-core processor, Apple's custom-designed A5 chip. It delivers up to twice the performance of the A5, and is nine times faster in graphics performance. Jobs predicted it will be "the first dual core tablet to ship in volume."
Apple's CPU strategy for iPad and iPhone derives from its relentless focus on the end user. HIS iSuppli reports that in 2010, Apple shipped almost four times as many products based on its first custom chip, the single-core A4, as it did of its X86-based computers. “The low-cost, highly-integrated A4 and A5 designs represent an important element in Apple’s philosophy of offering products that are focused on delivering a compelling user interface (UI) and a highly optimized computing platform for Apple’s iOS operating system,” writes Wayne Lam, senior analyst, competitive analysis, at IHS.