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The second-ever Apple tablet computer will be officially unveiled next month, as the California-based company looks to head off renewed challenges from a slew of Android powered slates.

Speculation that the so-called iPad 2 will drop imminently is rife after Apple announced a press call at San Fran’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater Centre for March 2nd. The venue has played host to countless product launches for the company in recent years.

ipad 2 invite

The invite doesn’t mention the iPad 2 by name and features only a cryptic caption stating: “Come see what 2011 will be the year of." However, the fact that the last iPad was launched in March 2010, coupled with Apple’s habit of refreshing its products annually, has left Cupertino watchers in little doubt that we’re going to get our first-ever glimpse of the second generation tablet.

Specifications for the device are a closely guarded secret, but as ever that’s done little to stem rumour-mongering in the tech press.

Among the functions deemed most likely to make an appearance are dual cameras for video calling, support for Near Field Communications tech to enable users to make contactless payments for low-ticket items and expandable memory.

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