Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs interrupted his medical leave for a surprise appearance during the company’s high-stakes unveiling of the iPad 2, which arrives just in time to stifle Apple’s increasingly competitive rivals in the tablet space, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Said Jobs: "We’ve been working on this product for a while and I just didn’t want to miss the day."
The new device is lighter and thinner than the original iPad, coming in a choice of black or white. It goes on sale March 11 and will be priced at the same level as the previous version, starting at $499, the story says.
Apple shares surged after the unveiling, the story reports, rising 4% in midday trading. Jobs said Apple has generated $9.5 billion from iPad sales, with 15 million units sold. The forecast is for the company to sell more than 35 million of the devices this year. Apple has enjoyed a position as the industry leader in the tablet market, far outpacing its competition up to this point.
The new version boasts a new processor that will reportedly enable it to run faster and will give it smoother video performance than its predecessor.