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The new iPad 2 will hit UK stores on March 25th - two weeks after its official US launch.

Apple announced the staggered launch dates at the unveiling of the next generation tablet in San Francisco.

According to Apple, the new device is thinner, lighter and faster than its predecessor and broadband deals shoppers will be happy to hear that the new tablet won't cost anymore that the manufacturers inaugural iPad.

Aesthetically, the iPad 2 is a little more sleek than its predecessor, but the major changes to the groundbreaking device are hidden inside the diminutive box.

Powered by Apple's new A5 dual-core processor, the new iPad offers improved performance and better graphics capabilities.

Apple has also added dual cameras - front and back. The rear camera is capable of recording high-definition video, while the front-facing VGA camera is designed for use as a web cam.

Steve Jobs, Apple's Chief Executive Officer, made a surprise appearance at the unveiling.

He said: "With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices.

"While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we're launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition.  

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