The iPad 2 went on sale today at Apple.com and will go on sale in stores in a little more than an hour, and analysts are already expecting it to be a big deal.

Ars Technica reports: “Apple’s iPad 2 officially launched today, and analysts are already predicting Apple could more than double the number of iPads it shipped last year. About 20 percent of iPad 2 purchases are expected to come from original iPad owners, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky… Abramsky is expecting about one-fifth of current iPad owners to upgrade to an iPad 2 within the next 12 months…”

The new iPad will also help sell first generation iPads, as the old version is now on sale for $399 and up, down from its original $499 price tag. With retail distribution in place at AT&T, Verizon, Target, Walmart and the Apple store, the new tablet is very accessible from launch.