Sports Illustrated has revealed that Kate Upton is the cover model for the Swimsuit 2012 Issue!

17 SI Swimsuit Models Traveled to Australia, Zambia, Seychelles and Panama, with a special shoot in Apalachicola, Florida, but the coveted cover belongs to Kate Upton.

Upton, in her second Swimsuit appearance, is joined by 2009 cover model Bar Refaeli – photographed with Rafael Nadal, Chris Paul and Michael Phelps – and 2011 cover model Irina Shayk making her sixth appearance in Swimsuit. Also returning to Swimsuit are Cintia Dicker, Jessica Gomes, Izabel Goulart, Julie Henderson, Ariel Meredith, Alyssa Miller, Genevieve Morton, Chrissy Teigen and Anne V.

The six 2012 Rookies are Adaora, Nina Agdal, Kirby Griffin, Crystal Renn, Michelle Vawer and Jessica Perez, winner of the 2011 Rookie Model Search. The issue also features a first-ever pairing of two SI Swimsuit traditions – bodypainted athletes. U.S. Soccer star Alex Morgan, the LPGA’s Natalie Gulbis and U.S. swimmer and 11-time US Olympic medal winner Natalie Coughlin’s bodies were the canvases for athletically inspired suits.

Kate Upton Bikini Sports Illustrated

I remember, and it wasn’t so long ago, that it was all about the magazine, but now it’s all about the digital experience that has been added thanks to the proliferation of technology gadgets in our daily lives. Smartphones and tablets have now broadened the Swimsuit Edition experience. For instance, there are more than 150 photos and 2 hours of video, available for iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Barnes & Noble Nook Color, Amazon Kindle Fire, Motorola Xoom and Android smartphones. There is also an iPhone app that gives users a 360 degree view of bodypainted athletes and SI.com/Swimsuit with an interactive music section and first-ever Swimsuit style guide.

“You will see innovation on every Swimsuit platform this year,” said Terry McDonell, Editor Time Inc. Sports Group. “The magazine tablet app showcases the highest levels of photography through scrolling-panoramic sequences, we created a new music section on SI.com, and on your iPad and iPhone the 360 degreeviews of bodypaint will offer an entirely new perspective on Swimsuit.”

Go get your copy at the newstand, check it out online, or better yet – download the app.