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Apple unveils iPad 2, gains Random House titles

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Apple is full of surprises today. Most noticeably, CEO Steve Jobs, who has taken a medical leave of absence from the company, personally unveiled the iPad 2 in San Francisco.

The device is reportedly faster than its predecessor. Graphics will load about nine times more quickly than on the original version of the iPad. The device, which will ship March 11, will also be thinner and work on the 3G networks of both AT&T and Verizon.

Apple is also facing more intense competition in the tablet space than when it first unveiled the iPad last April. Motorola just released the Xoom, which like Samsung's Galaxy Tab, runs on the Android OS. Hewlett Packard also introduced its TouchPad this summer.

Apple also reportedly agreed to terms today with holdout Random House to carry titles from the publisher. Random House was the last of the “big six” publishers to adopt the agency model that will allow it to sell books through Apple's iBookstore.

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