By Darren Franich
March 02, 2011 at 08:06 PM EST

Image Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP Images

Steve Jobs made a semi-surprise appearance at today’s semi-mysterious Apple presentation to introduce iPad 2, a new version of the company’s tablet device, according to the L.A. Times. “It’s a completely new design. And it’s dramatically faster,” said Jobs, who claimed that iPad 2 features is the first dual core tablet to ship in volume (meaning it has a CPU that’s twice as fast as iPad 1). The new iPad will also have rear and front-facing cameras that can record video. Incredibly, iPad 2 is about 1/3 thinner than the original model — Jobs noted that it will be “thinner than your iPhone 4” — but will have the same 10-hour battery life. And they’ve also added a new color option: chic utopian white.

The new iPad will ship next Friday, March 11, at the same costs as the original iPad: from $499 for the most basic WiFi-only version to $829 for the souped-up 64-gig 3G. (The device will work with both AT&T and Verizon.) After extended presentations on some of the particulars of iPad 2 (including the addition of iMovie and Garage Band to the app store), Jobs wrapped up the presentation with some deep-thought remarks. “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology is not enough,” he noted.

It’s tech married with the liberal arts and the humanities. Nowhere is that more true than in the post-PC products. Our competitors are looking at this like it’s the next PC market. That is not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive. and the software, hardware, and applications need to intertwine in an even more seamless way than on a PC. We think we’re on track with this.

PopWatchers, are you excited about iPad 2? In sequel terms, will this be Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan (better, sleaker, cooler), Iron Man 2 (pretty much the same as the first one, not that there’s anything wrong with that), or Fantastic Four 2 (awful, but so shiny)?