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, following the release of pictures showing him leaving a cancer centre in California, that Apple's CEO had only weeks to live.
But the founder of the world's largest technology never seemed to tire during the 70 minutes live presentation, although he still looked gaunt.
Jobs said little about himself. Referring to the launch of the iPad 2, he said "This is something we have been working on for a long time, and I wanted to be here for it."
Jobs' illness seems to have 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 until December, Apple has sold over 15 million iPads, resulting in revenue to the company of over $9.5 billion (Dh34.89 billion).
Apple also announced that it has paid over $2 billion to apps developers, the community of programers 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 has sold over 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 graphic processing.
The device also has two cameras, located on the 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 ten battery life and will be available in two colours, black and 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.
The price of the iPad has not changed. Apple will continue toversions ranging from $499 to $829.