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Apple Unveils iPad 2 — Live Blog

Editor's Note: Apple CEO Steve Jobs took to the stage to announce the second-generation of the popular iPad, which will go on sale March 11 in the United States. Below is a live blog of how the events unfolded. You can read it in order starting from the bottom and reading up.

2:15 PM/ET: Ive: "the original iPad defined a category. And I think the iPad 2 will define that category for years to come."

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Jobs is back, talking about how Apple believes that technology alone is not enough; devices must be married with the humanities. Rivals, he says, are thinking about it wrong.

Jobs has all the Apple employees who worked on it stand for a round of applause. He also thanks their families.

"Thanks for coming this morning. We've got a great hands-on area and I really encourage you to get your hands on one of these things."

It's over.

2:08 PM/ET: Ive is talking about the design, summing up the manufacturing innovations that enabled it and the concept behind the smart case.

2:06 PM/ET: Jobs is back: "I cannot tell you how many hours teenagers are going to spend making music with this and learning about music with this."

It will cost $4.99.

Now, another video, this one featuring Jony Ive, and more Apple execs.

2:04 PM/ET: It so happens that I did the first review of GarageBand for the Mac when I wrote for a newspaper almost 10 years ago. This is the fulfillment of what that software was built to do, because it's so powerful and you don't have to connect external instruments to it.

2:01 PM/ET: There's also a virtual guitar that automatically shows complementary chords you can strum, pick or mute. You don't need to know how to actually play guitar.

You can lay down multiple tracks, and though he hasn't said so, I'm sure you can lay down vocals as well, using the mic. The iPad supports up to 8 tracks.

1:57 PM/ET: Now he's demonstrating a drum kit, which you play by touching an image of actual drums.

1:57 PM/ET: Now another exec is on stage to demonstrate it. There are many different types of pianos and keyboards you can select. The keyboard has dynamics, because the built-in accelerometer can tell how hard you're striking the screen.

(This shows the power of the A5 chip and Apple's tight integration; it takes a lot of smarts to instantly factor force into the audio feedback the iPad provides.)

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks during an Apple Special event to unveil the new iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 2, 2011 in San Francisco, California
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Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks during an Apple Special event to unveil the new iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 2, 2011 in San Francisco, California

Another note: Walt Mossberg, the very influential Wall Street Journal reviewer, is sitting right behind me. And from his comments, I can tell he's enjoying this demo quite a bit.

1:52 PM/ET: Steve Jobs is back.

Imovie will cost $4.99, available March 11.

Next: GarageBand, the music creation app. There are touch instruments, and you can move a project back and forth between a Mac and an iPad.

1:50 PM/ET: Another important thing to note: this A5 chip is certain to appear in the iPhone 5 and the next-generation iPod touch, likely to ship in July and September.

So this is a preview of the power those devices will have, and increased life for the size of the battery.

1:47 PM/ET: This is a bit of a gamechanger.

Apple is far ahead in the sophistication of software available for the iPad vs. other tablets.

The effect is that the iPad is more powerful than competing tablets for less money (and no wireless contract.)

1:45 PM/ET: You can tap and hold on the screen to select clips and edit, and add entry points and transitions.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks during an Apple Special event to unveil the new iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 2, 2011 in San Francisco, California
Getty Images
Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks during an Apple Special event to unveil the new iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 2, 2011 in San Francisco, California

1:44 PM/ET: Apple's chief video architect is out to demonstrate.

1:43 PM/ET: As I predicted, Apple is introducing more Mac-like software for the new iPad: iMovie is first. You can edit video and send it directly to Apple TV.

1:42 PM/ET: iOS 4.3 will be a free download on March 11th for iPhone 3Gs and up, and the most recent two iPod touches.

1:41 PM/ET: You can use either the front or back camera.

1:40 PM/ET: In FaceTime, now on the iPad, you can connect to every other Apple device that supports the software.

1:39 PM/ET: The A5 chip allows 9 live video streams at once, in a demo of PhotoBooth Scott is doing.

1:37 PM/ET: In iOS 4.3, with the iPhone 4, you'll be able to use it as a personal hotspot, a feature already available on the Verizon iPhone .

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1:36 PM/ET: Now in iOS 4.3, the photo transitions from Apple TV work on the device.

You can now use the iPad slider switch for either mute or rotation lock.

1:34 PM/ET: Scott Forstall takes the stage to walk through iOS 4.3, a new version. A new javascript engine runs the Safari browser twice as fast. iTunes home sharing allows you to stream from other devices to the iPad.

1:33 PM/ET: "One of my favorite little videos. It actually reminds me of a Pixar short," Job says. Five polyurethane covers, five leather. Polyurethane are $39, leather $69.

1:31 PM/ET: The microfiber lining in the cover cleans the screen when you move it. Jobs is showing a video about the cover.

(It makes a cool clicking sound when it attaches.)

1:30 PM/ET: That HDMI cable is $39.

"More popular," Jobs says "will be smart covers."

This will be better than the old cases. It covers the glass, and bends to create a stand. It doesn't cover the back. It automatically wakes the iPad and puts it back to sleep when opened and closed. It uses magnets to attach.

1:27 PM/ET: Two accessories: HDMI video out, a feature schools have requested. Up to 1080p. Works with all apps. You can charge the iPad while you use it .

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1:27 PM/ET: It will ship on March 11 in the US, other high-volume countries on March 25.

1:26 PM/ET: iPad 2 also has a month of standby time. "We've also preserved the price."

"We only have one model that's more expensive than $799," he says, a shot at Motorola .

1:25 PM/ET: It has the same 10-hr battery life

1:24 PM/ET: It comes in black and white. "We're going to be shipping white from day one." It will work with AT&T and Verizon.

1:22 PM/ET: It is 1.3 pounds, down from 1.5

1:22 PM/ET: It has gone from 13.4 mm to 8.8 mm. The iPad 2 is thinner than the iPhone 4.

1:21 PM/ET: There is also a gyroscope.

It is dramatically thinner. A third thinner.

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1:20 PM/ET: Completely new design. The A5 chip is dual core, up to 2 times faster CPU, 9 times faster graphics, same low power as A4, first dual-core tablet to ship in volume, he believes.

There are two cameras.

1:19 PM/ET: "We've gotten off to an exceptional start," Jobs says. "We haven't been resting on our laurels .... We're going to introduce today iPad 2."

1:17 PM/ET: A doctor who treats autism is talking about how it helps people with autism communicate. A mother of an autistic child says the iPad makes him happy and independent. "This is something that my son can do. He doesn't need me. I don't want him to have to need me all the time."

1:16 PM/ET: The video shows people using it around the world; in homes, shops, schools. For example, kids in a Chicago school using iPads have shown gains in reading and math, anecdotally. A doctor is talking about how the iPad helps doctors share information with patients. Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com says it's the future of how the enterprise will run.

Doctors using the iPad
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Doctors using the iPad

1:14 PM/ET: Jobs is showing a video about the iPad. His deputies are featured. Phil Schiller starts, and retail chief Ron Johnson says he's never seen an in-store experience like it.

1:12 PM/ET: A note: I recall when Jobs first came back from surgery. His voice and physical presence were considerably weaker than this. Whatever his current medical issues, they don't seem to have affected his stamina in the same way this time around.

1:11 PM/ET: Jobs puts up Samsung's quote about how they loaded the channel with Galaxy Tabs, showing that rivals on Android have not yet been able to compete.

1:09 PM/ET: It generated 9.5 billion in revenue is 2010, has more than 90 percent market share

Steve Jobs at iPad 2 launch
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Steve Jobs at iPad 2 launch

1:08 PM/ET: Jobs is talking about the iPad as its third post-PC blockbuster product. He says 2010 was the year of the iPad. Apple sold 15 million in 9 months of 2010, April through December.

1:07 PM/ET: Apple has paid out $2 billion to developers, and recently shipped its 100 millionth iPhone

1:06 PM/ET: Apple recently passed 200 million accounts in iTunes, credit cards and 1-click purchasing.

1:05 PM/ET: Steve's voice sounds strong. Over 100 million iBooks downloaded, and Random House is bringing its catalog to iBooks.

1:04 PM/ET: He looks about how he did last time. "We've been working on this product for a while, and I just didn't want to miss today."

1:03 PM/ET: The lights have dimmed. Steve Jobs walks out, briskly.

1:00 PM/ET: They've asked us to switch electronic devices to silent. We're about to begin.

Workers apply the Apple logo the outside of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts .
Getty Images
Workers apply the Apple logo the outside of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts .

Apple is expected to unveil the next-generation iPad in San Francisco today – a thinner, lighter device with cameras for videoconferencing and possibly a faster Apple-designed A5 chip.

The press has been ushered into the auditorium where the event is scheduled to begin.

Among the VIPs in attendance: Pixar's John Lassetter, and venture capitalist John Doerr.

There have been rumors that Apple CEO Steve Jobs might make an appearance; so far there is no sign that he is here.

We will be live blogging throughout the event, so check back here for updated details - and to find out if Steve Jobs makes an appearance.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.comAnd you can follow Jon Fortt on Twitter @jonfortt

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