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Live Blogging The iPad 2 Announcement

Plenty of tech pundits are calling 2011 the year of the tablet. Apple is hoping to make it the year of the iPad. The company has summoned reporters to an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, where it is widely expected to unveil a new version of its popular tablet computer.

While the iPad had the tablet market largely to itself last year, Apple will face increasing competition this year from Dell, Research in Motion, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung and others. Apple is hoping to remain on top with a new version of the iPad that is said to be thinner, faster and lighter than its predecessor. But what other features might it have? Follow the live blog here.

This part of an Apple presentation is kind of like the technical awards at the Academy Awards. Mr. Ubillos is doing a fine job demonstrating iMovie, but the air has left the room.

Meanwhile, the competitive tone here today seems noteworthy. Part of being in a post-PC era, as Mr. Jobs is calling it, is that Apple’s competitors have multiplied, which may account for the aggressiveness. It used to be Apple vs. Microsoft. Then it was Apple vs. Google. Now it’s Apple vs. Everyone, since devices and services could come from anywhere.

Mr. Jobs is back and is recapping iMovie features. It will cost $4.99, available March 11.

Now Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS software, is now on stage. He’s talking about the new operating system, iOS 4.3. He says this will make Safari run faster.

He also says iTunes home sharing will let your iOS device stream iTunes content right to your device..

Now he’s talking about AirPlay, which lets you stream, say, video from your iPad to your TV via Apple TV. There are some minor tweaks to AirPlay. Video from apps or Web sites can be streamed to a TV via Apple TV.

He’s also announcing some other tweaks to the iPad itself. The physical switch on the side of the tablet can now be assigned either to mute or rotation-lock functions. And to accompany the new cameras on the iPad, Apple’s PhotoBooth software is now included.

FaceTime will also be included, naturally.

Source: NYTimes