London: Steve Jobs surprised many on Wednesday night when he took the stage in San Francisco to launch the second generation of the iPad.
Rumours had flourished recently that Apple’s CEO had only weeks to live, following the release of pictures showing him leaving a cancer treatment centre in California.
But the founder of the world’s largest technology corporation never seemed to tire during the 70 minute live presentation, although he looked gaunt.
Jobs said little about himself. Referring to the launch of the iPad2, he said: “This is something we have been working on for a long time, and I wanted to be here for it”.
Jobs’ illness seemingly has had little effect on his sense of competitiveness, as he started off the presentation by discussing Apple’s recent successes as well as his competitor’s inability to produce an affordable alternative to the iPad.
He said that since its initial launch last April, to December, Apple had sold more than 15 million iPads, bringing in $9.5 billion (Dh34.88 billion) in revenue.
The company also announced that it had paid more than $2 billion to applications developers, the community of programmers who supply the apps that run on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.
Developers receive a portion of the sales of their apps.
Jobs also announced that Apple’s iBook store had sold more than 100 million "books" in less than one year. The company also claims to have shipped 100 million iPhones.
The main news of the night was the new iPad, simply called the iPad 2, which is a significant upgrade over its predecessor.
Apple’s latest chip, called the A5, gives the device twice the processing power and an almost 900 per cent increase in graphics processing capacity.
The device also has to two cameras, front and back, for picture taking and video conferencing.
Apple has also reduced the thickness of the device by 33 per cent, making it even thinner than the iPhone.
The device will still have a 10-battery life and will be available in two colours - black or white.
When the iPad 2 will officially arrive in the UAE is not known.
The iPad will launch in the US on March 11 and two weeks later in 26 other countries in Asia and Europe. No Middle East countries have release dates.
The price of the iPad has not changed. Apple will continue to offer six versions, ranging from $499 to $829.