This morning, Apple finally put us out of our misery and unveiled the latest iteration of its iPad tablet. Contrary to recent reports, this iPad isn't iPad HD, iPad 3, or even iPad 2S. Apple is simply referring to it as 'the new iPad.' So, what does this new iPad have that the old one doesn't?
For starters, there's that much talked about retina display. The display is 2048x1536, which translates to 3.1 million pixels or 264ppi. Though this isn't quite at the same level as the iPhone 4's 960x640 326ppi but Apple's Phil Schiller said today in San Francisco that 264ppi "is enough to call it a retina display." This new, improved display also packs 44 percent better color saturation.
Another rumor that has proved true is the one that stated Apple would be putting a new Apple A5X chip at the heart of this device. An upgraded version of the iPad 2's A5 chip, the A5X features quad-core graphics, which Apple says is four times more powerful than Nvidia's Tegra 3 chip. There's also an improved camera. Apple is calling it an iSight camera and details provided at today's press conference point to a 5-megapixel version of the iPhone 4S camera with the 5-element lens. There's also 1080p video recording for those that like to record video with their near-10-inch tablet.
Lastly, the newest iPad is also a 4G device. It will work on both AT&T and Verizon and will hit Rogers, Telus and Bell in Canada. When outside of LTE bands, the iPad will roam on 3G bands. It will also now be a personal hotspot if your carrier enables it.
It's a little bit heavier than the iPad 2, weighing in at 1.4lbs, but you'll be pleased to know that the improved graphics and LTE haven't meant a trade-off in terms of battery. Apple is still claiming 10 hours of battery, or nine on LTE. We're eager to try that out for ourselves.
"The new iPad redefines the category Apple created less than two years ago, delivering the most amazing experience people have ever had with technology," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "The new iPad now has the highest resolution display ever seen on a mobile device with 3.1 million pixels, delivering razor sharp text and unbelievable detail in photos and videos."
On the software side of things, the iPad now supports diction. The keyboard now includes a little microphone button. You simply tap the key, speak, and then click done. The iPad will then translate your words into text. Apple is also introducing the iPhone app along with major updates to iMovie and GarageBand, completing its suite of iLife apps for iOS.
Pricing is the same as iPad 2 and starts at $499 for the 16GB model. The 32GB is $599, while the 64GB version will sell for $699. As far as the 4G-equipped models are concerned, you're looking at $629, $729, and $829 for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, respectively. Preorders start now with a March 16 launch planned for the U.S., Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan. This represents Apple's biggest ever launch.
Rumors of a smaller, 7- or 8-inch iPad did not come to fruition. Neither did talk of a competitively-priced 8GB iPad 2. There's always next year.