Huge changes come to iPad 2, from $499, March 11

Steve Jobs, who was greeted with a standing ovation at today’s event, has just revealed the iPad 2. It has so many new bells and whistles it almost makes the original iPad look like an artifact.

Here’s a basic rundown of all the new features added to the new version of Apple’s successful tablet franchise:

– runs on A5 chip

– New design

– CPU 2x faster

– Graphics 9x faster

– Rear and front cams

– Gyroscope

– 8.8 mm, slimmer than iPhone 4 9.3mm, 33% thinner than iPad

The iPad 2 will also support high-def video output via HDMI, but unfortunately it isn’t a standard HDMI port. Apple has engineered a special, proprietary cable that has HDMI on one end to the TV, but a specific Apple connection to the iPad 2. That means you’ll have to buy Apple’s specific HDMI cable to send out HD video. It will retail for $39.

Perhaps the best news is that the pricing is just like what it was for the original iPad.

Wi-Fi versions:

16GB – $499

32GB – $599

64GB – $699

3G versions:

16GB – $629

32GB – $729

64GB – $829

This will no doubt lead to deep discounts on current generation iPads. And it’ll happen soon, too, because the iPad 2 is coming out next week – March 11 – in the US.