Apple iPad 2 launch live blog

At 6pm UK time today Apple will unveil the iPad 2 and we'll be here giving you a live, blow-by-blow account of the goings on.

Check back later this evening for the revelations of the Second Coming, but in the meantime you can run through our predictions of what the next generation of tablet computers will be all about once everyone else has copied the pioneer once again.

We'll see you then.

17:40
20 minutes to go and the place is filling up. Very few empty seats.

17:41
All of the buzz at the moment is whether Steve Jobs will actually turn up. Our money is on Tim 'Captain' Cook with Phil 'appropriately-named' Schiller filling in the boring/exciting bits.

17:45
Still no indication of a live video feed on the Apple site, although the store has been down for the last couple of hours.

17:49
Beatles playing on the PA. No surprise there.

17:53
Tim and Phil have been spotted. No sign of Steve as yet.

17:59
Oddly, Tim Cook is standing at the front of the stage in the auditorium. No big entrance for him then. Maybe Jobso is lurking back-stage?

18:00
And we're off. Telling everyone to turn of their phones.

18:03
Steve Jobs is on stage. Blimey. Gets standing ovation. Says: "We've been working on this product for a while and I didn't want to miss today"

Taliking about iBooks. Random house bringing 17,000 titles to iBooks.

200 million iTunes accounts and $2 billion paid to developers.

100 million iPhones shipped.

Talking about Apple's third post-PC blockbuster product after the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

15 million iPads sold generating $9.5 billion, more than 90 per cent market share and competition 'flummoxed'.

Giving the competition a kicking, including the Galaxy tab

18:11
Showing film about how 2010 was the year of the iPad

Lots of Apple talking heads bigging up the iPad

'Post-PC device' seems to be the catch-phrase of the day

Talking about how iPad in education has seen great results with 50 or 60 per cent improvements in maths and science.

Steve says most of the wannabes haven't even caught up with the original iPad yet.

Aha.. some meat at last.

New faster chip, the A5, twice as fast, dual core.

Nine times faster graphics same low power.

Built-in Gyroscope.

And it's much thinner... 33 per cent thinner in fact. Just 8.8mm at fattest point. And lighter, down from 1.5 pounds to 1.3.

And it's gonna be available in black or white from day one!

No sign of the slimmer bezel but has much-predicted flat back. Looks like the love child of an iPad and a MacBook Air. Very sexy.

And the same price as the original iPad. Starting at $499. Same ten hour battery life despite all the new gubbins.

Shipping on March 11th, a week on Friday. Better get in the queue.

Talking accessories now... HDMI video out. About time! Cable delivers HDMI mirrored output and works with ALL apps! So that's games too folks. $40 for the cable/dongle.

Cases? Yawn. Steve is excited though.

It's not a case it's a cover and it uses magnets, and has a microfibre lining which cleans the screen.

Looks like there's no iOS5 but 4.3 has had a major lick of paint.

Arrgh my mouse has broken. Damn you Apple!!!

iPhone 4 gets 'Personal Hotspot' and there are lots of new streaming functions between iDevices.

And Photo Booth also gets an outing on camera-equipped Apple gadgets, which is pretty much all of them now.

Lots of new FaceTime stuff including nine live video streams which is rather cool.

Randy Ubillos is up talking about an iMovie update, live shooting and editing on the iPad has arrived. Ability to record voiceovers built in. Titles and face recognition overlays.

Steve is back with lots of 'awesomes'.

iMovie app is $5 which is pretty, um, awesome.

Garageband for iPad is up next with touch instruments, eight-track recording, guitar and amp effects. Compatible with grown-up Mac version!

Instruments are touch sensitive with accelerometer measuring how hard you hit the display. Don't lend yer iPad to Little Richard!

Drum function has multi samples, tapping different spots on the cymbals gives different timbre.

And a strummable guitar! Want one now!

The Beatles recorded on a tape machine the size of a drum machine and you can do all of that on an iPad now. Might need a little bit of talent mind.

GarageBand is also five bucks.

New site iPad site is live. and you can watch some of the presentation videos there.

Reckons that's it for the revelations folks. Johny Ive is being all coy as usual, barking about how amazingly mind-blowing his design is. "Rigid, sturdy and even more precise"

Are we going to get a "one more thing"?

Nope. That's your lot.

Thanks for joining us... hope you enjoyed it.