Apple announced the iPad 2 yesterday — the successor to the innovative tablet computer launched one year ago. The new model more evolutionary than revolutionary, but while some of the much-rumoured new features didn’t materialise (a dramatically higher resolution screen being the most notable), many aspects of the specification are greatly improved.

The iPad 2 has a broadly similar design to the iPad, but is both thinner and lighter (8.8mm and 601g for the base model). It’s available in two colours, too — black and white. The touch-sensitive screen is the same 9.7” size as before, as is the 1024 x 768 resolution, but there are now cameras on the font and back for use with the same FaceTime video chat application that first appeared on the iPhone 4.

The big new iPad 2 features are on the inside, where there’s a faster dual-core processor (two chips in one, in other words) and significantly faster graphics — something that should help further cement the device’s position as a gaming gadget. Despite this extra performance though, battery life remains unchanged at around 10 hours for watching video or web browsing via Wi-Fi.

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As with the old model, the iPad 2 will be available in both Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi+3G variants, in the same 16GB, 32GB and 64Gb capacities. There’s no news yet on UK pricing, though — models aren’t on sale over here until March 25. The expectation is, however, that prices will be the same as the old iPad, since that’s the case for the March 11 launch date in the US.

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If the iPad 2’s new features still aren’t enough to tempt you in to paying (an estimated) £429 for the entry-level Wi-Fi only 16GB model, Apple’s price-cut on outgoing iPad models just might. In order to clear out old stock in readiness for the iPad 2 on-sale date, the current iPad has had £100 lopped off its price across the board, which makes the Wi-Fi only 16GB model just £329.

As you might already be aware, the iPad 2 isn’t the only new tablet computer that will be available this year and similar models from Motorola, HP and BlackBerry will be on sale soon. How much competition these other models will be for the iPad 2, however, is still unknown — they’re not for sale just yet and no one has carried out any in-depth testing.

The OS X Daily web site has put together a handy comparison chart for anyone who wants a tablet computer, but still can’t decide which is best, though.

[Apple iPad 2]