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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple Inc. is expected to unveil the second generation of its wildly successful iPad Wednesday at a media event in San Francisco.

Apple sold more than 15 million of the original touch-screen tablet computers in the first nine months on the market. An updated device will help the company widen its head start against competitors, most of whom are just beginning to sell their first tablets.

The iPad runs the same basic software as Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. It has a screen that measures 9.7 inches diagonally and it runs for about 10 hours unplugged. The first-generation models start at $499.

Apple is highly secretive about upcoming products, but bloggers have speculated that the next-generation iPad will be thinner and lighter; come with two cameras, one on the front for video chatting; and have a more powerful built-in speaker.

The company also has not said whether CEO Steve Jobs, who is on an indefinite medical leave of absence, will make an appearance at the event.

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