As expected, Apple announced the iPad 2 Wednesday afternoon. Over the next few days we’re going to compare the newest tablet on the block to some of the other key players in the tablet market and see how it holds up. The first battle is one the iPad 2 is sure to win: a fight against its predecessor, the original iPad.

The Improvements
The iPad 2 is both thinner and lighter than the original, weighing in at just 1.3 pounds and measuring .34” thick. The device now sports dual-core processors, a 2X faster CPU, and 9X faster graphics. The tablet also has App mirroring (so you can play Plants vs. Zombies on the big screen), and also adds both front- and rear-facing cameras, and applications such as iMovie and PhotoBooth that take advantage of them. The iPad 2 will also ship with iOS 4.3 which offers improved support for AirPlay, iTunes home sharing, and the ability to customize how the lock switch works on the side of the device.

A new native Garage Band application is also an outstanding addition to the iPad 2 from a musician’s standpoint. Instruments can be plugged into the side of the tablet, allowing musicians to record and mix up to 8 tracks of audio on their iPad.

The fact that Apple will be selling the new iPad for the same price as the original makes the iPad 2 a clear winner.

How the Battle Plays Out Want to see how the battle between the two tablets looks spec by spec? We’ve created this awesome chart to let you see how the iPad 2 looks next to its older brother.

iPad vs iPad 2 Comparison Chart

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What do you think about the iPad 2 improvements? Are the improvements enough for you to want an iPad 2, or would you be comfortable purchasing a now-discounted original iPad?