Those freedom-hating maniacs at Apple have announced the next generation of the iPad earlier this morning. It's called.. wait for it.. iPad 2.

It's thinner, faster, and lighter than the first-generation iPad, has front- and rear-facing cameras, HDMI video out, some kind of weird magnetic cover accessory, and will sport the next version of iOS - 4.3 The new software features updates to their AirPlay system, which will now allow you to stream video to an AppleTV and more importantly will allow third-party apps to send their video as well. iOS 4.3 also adds "iTunes Home Sharing," which lets you stream media from iTunes on your computer to your iOS devices directly.

The new iPads will be the same price, from $499 to $829 depending on capacity and whether its WiFi only or 3G capable, and ship next Friday.

More detail from the press event here.

So that's the press release. My take is that this is a pretty strong move by Apple. There will be lots of tablets this year, but Apple has a huge head start and the new version catches up with the new tablets from Motorola and others in most areas. Of course, Apple is evil and mean and recently slapped your mother in the face... but they'll still sell a ton of these.