At a private press event held today in sunny California Apple revealed the next iPad, effectively bringing an end to what has amounted to months of media speculation about the third generation iPad. During their announcement Apple’s top chiefs corroborated many of the rumor reports that news sites have ran in recent months while still offering up a few surprise features.
The launch event for the third iPad was started off by Apple’s new CEO Tim Cook, who is leading only his second Apple keynote since Steve Jobs passing in 2011. In his keynote speech before revealing the new iPad Cook really brought the point home that iPads, iPhones and iPods are Apple’s main cash-cows and their also the three premier Post-PC product lines on the market. Like Jobs Tim Cook feels the iPad is a product that’s in a category of its own that is well apart from the PC (short for personal computer).
The third iPad, the “new iPad”
During the keynote neither Tim Cook or the host of other Apple execs. that were brought onto the stage called the new iPad the iPad 3. Even when you go onto Apple’s website the name iPad 3 is never mentioned. Apple is simply calling their newest iPad the new iPad. –It remains to be seen just how much confusion Apple will create with this naming strategy.
So, what does the new iPad bring to the table? A total re-design? No. Apple has decided to only upgrade components with the new iPad. Which means the new iPad looks a lot like the last iPad, the iPad 2.
Multiple new features
Once you start using the new iPad you should quickly realize it’s not an iPad 2 that your holding. Apple confirmed the new iPad is a tad bit heavier and thicker than the now old iPad 2.
However, among other new features, this new iPad tablet packs a new 9.7-inch 2048×1536 resolution capacitive touchscreen IPS LCD with fingerprint protection (oleophobic coating). The new IPS display offers double the resolution the two previous generation iPad tablets which shipped with 9.7-inch 1024×768 IPS LCD displays. With the extra resolution Apple is now marketing the display on the iPad as being a Retina display, just like they market their iPhone 4 and 4S phones which have high-resolution 3.5-inch screens. With a Retina display you’re getting a much sharper picture due to more pixels being available on the screen (the new iPad has 1.3 million pixels).
With the new iPad you’re getting a faster Apple branded ARM processor. The new Apple A5X is what powers the new iPad and it offers a dual-core CPU (ARM Cortex A9) and a quad-core GPU (PowerVR SGX543MP4). The A5X’s quad-core GPU is what really puts the performance of the new iPad well beyond the iPad 2 and even Tegra 3 tablets for performance, according to Apple.
Mobile iPad users can have 4G iPads now. Apple has added the option for 4G HSPA+, DC-HSDPA and LTE equipped iPads. However with each mobile broadband equipped new iPad Apple is also bundling world ready 3G, so even if you can’t get 4G service you will get 3G which is available in almost every country around the world. Lastly on the mobile internet front Apple has finally added roaming support for all of their mobile broadband equipped tablets with the new iPad (both CDMA and GSM). –For those wondering battery life is estimated at 9 hours max when browsing on a 4G connection and the max is still 10 hours for Wi-Fi browsing, according to Apple.
The rear camera on the new iPad is another area that Apple has improved upon from the iPad 2. You get a 5-megapixel iSight camera on the back of the new iPad, which is a big change from the 1.3-megapixel camera the iPad 2 has on it’s back. With the new camera Apple has also upgraded the general optics setup for the new iPad. You now have Autofocus (and tap to focus) and face detection integrated into the iPad. Also you can record 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second using the rear camera on the iPad now, previously you were limited to 720p HD on the iPad 2 (which wasn’t too great because of the quality of the rear camera).
A Siri-type function has also been included with the new iPad. You can give your tablet verbal dictations in pre-installed Apple applications and third-party apps like Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve never gotten used to typing on the iPads capacitive touchscreen dictations will be a good way to avoid having physical typing in most scenarios.
Price and launch info
Apple has kept the same pricing for the new iPad even though they’ve added so many new features over the older iPad tablets. That means if you want the new iPad the base price is $499 for the Wi-Fi only model and if you want the Wi-Fi+4G model you’ll need to pay at least $629. Like all the other iPads the new iPad will be sold in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants.
You can place pre-orders for the new iPad in whichever configuration you want now on Apple’s online store (U.S. link), but be ready to have your tablet ship on either March 16th or March 23rd.
If you live in the following 12 countries the new iPad is being launched for you on March 16th, 2012:
- Hong Kong
- Puerto Rico
- US Virgin Islands
And if you live in these last group of 25 countries the new iPad will be available for immediate purchase on March 23rd, 2012:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
- New Zealand