iPad 2: The view from Brooklyn

March 2, 2011, 6:01 PM UTC

We watched the Apple event from the comfort of our cozy armchair

Photo: Engadget

Steve Jobs is on the stage and getting a standing ovation. Our colleague Mason Cohn reports that Jobs appears to have good energy and stamina and his usual vigor, although he’s painfully thin and now wears a belt to hold up his jeans.

Jobs rattles off the nice round numbers he loves to share at these events:

  • 100 million iBooks downloaded
  • 2,500 publishers on iBookstore
  • 17,000 books being added by Random House
  • 200 million iTunes accounts on file, with credit card numbers
  • $2 billion in profits to App Store developers
  • Recently shipped the 100 millionth iPhone
  • Sold nearly 15 million iPads in 2010, generating $9.5 billion in revenue
  • More than 350,000 apps in Apple’s App Store, 65,000 take advantage of iPad
  • Contrasts that with 100 for Google’s (GOOG) Honeycomb

After a promotional video, Jobs returns to the stage to announce what everybody is here for: the iPad 2. (The press release is here. Apple has posted photos, videos and tech specs here.)

The details:

    Photo: Apple Inc.
  • Apple proprietary A5 chip — dual-core, but same power consumption as the A4 in the original iPad
  • Up to two times faster processing speed
  • Up to nine times faster graphics
  • Front and rear-facing cameras
  • Built-in gyroscope
  • 1/3 thinner: 8.8 mm thin vs. 13.4 mm (thinner than an iPhone 4 at 9.3 mm)
  • 1.3 lbs, down from 1.5 lbs.
  • Two models, one for AT&T (T), one for Verizon (VZ)
  • Two colors: black and white
  • Same 10 hour battery life, 30 day standby
  • Same prices and configurations, starting at 16GB Wi-Fi only for $499
  • Shipping March 11 in U.S., March 25 to 26 more countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.K.

No word about the iPad 2’s build-in RAM, and it’s not in the specs, but the Boy Genius tweets that he’s 90% sure it’s 512MB, double the first-generation iPad’s.

Source: CNNMoney

We’ve reached the accessory phase of the program. A weird magnetic Smart Cover that cleans the screen, turns on the iPad and folds into stand. A $39 HDMI video connector that teachers will love. (But no Thunderbolt dock.)

Scott Forestall takes the stage to talk about iOS 4.3, which will be available March 11 as a free download (but not for the Verizon iPhone). Included: Improved Safari performance. Better iTunes sharing. Improved AirPlay (eager to see if it lets me play my iPad music through my Mac mini’s speakers). Personal hotspot (only for iPhone 4). PhotoBooth for the iPad. FaceTime.

Jobs returns to the stage to talk about two new pieces of software:

  • iMovie for the iPad, which Randy Ubillos, chief architect for video, demos. Note to my CNN colleagues: it includes a button to share directly with CNN iReport.
  • Garage Band for iPad. $5. Xander Soren, director of music marketing, demos.

Jobs is back to do the recap. Declares 2011 “The year of the iPad 2.” Plays the video with the usual Jonathan Ive narration. Love the way he pronounces aluminum. You can watch it here.

Photo: Macworld

Jobs ends the event with a knock at Apple’s spec-obsessed competitors and his set speech about technology and the arts. “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. That it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that makes our hearts sing.”

He asks the folks who worked on the iPad 2 to stand and be acknowledged, and then he thanks their families.

That’s a wrap.

Our colleague Michael Copeland is in the auditorium for Apple’s (AAPL) March 2 event. You can read his liveblog here.

I’m also getting feeds from Macworld and Engadget. If you know of any others, add them in the comment stream. I see from Macword’s photos that Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer, is in the house.

Also on Fortune.com:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]