Apple has unveiled its third-generation iPad, simply called the "new iPad". The new iPad looks identical to the iPad 2, but boasts a high resolution "retina" display, has an upgraded 5-megapixel camera, is powered by a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core GPU, but Aussies miss out on 4G connectivity.
Presented by Apple's CEO Tim Cook, the new iPad boasts a number of new features. The new retina display is the clearly the key aspect of the device. It now has a resolution of 2048x1536, double to that of the original iPad. This gives it a pixel per inch (ppi) of 263, a significant increase over the 132ppi of the iPad 2. Apple says the retina display resolution is higher than most high-definition televisions.
The new iPad has a significantly upgraded camera. It features some of the same technology used in the iPhone 4S, but in a 5-megapixel lens with backside-illuminated sensor. Up from the paltry 0.7-megapixel camera on the iPad 2, the new iPad's camera now doubles as a full HD 1080p video recorder, though the front-facing camera disappointingly remains VGA.
The new iPad is powered by Apple's new A5X dual-core processor, which claims improved graphics performance thanks to a quad-core GPU. Apple says it offers twice the performance of NVIDIA's Tegra 3 processor, which is used in some new Android tablets including the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, and up to four times the performance of Apple's previous A5 processor which was used in the iPad 2.
Two new software features of the new iPad demoed by Apple at the launch event are voice dictation and the ability to act as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot. Voice dictation isn't the fully featured Siri as most predictions expected: it's simply a text-to-speech option that will dictate your voice. It's activated by pressing a microphone button on the new iPad's touch screen keyboard. Also part of iOS 5.1 is the ability to share the new iPad's Internet connection with other devices in the form of a personal Wi-Fi hotspot. The new iPad will also be compatible with iPhoto, a new app specifically designed for the iPad. It allows users to browse, edit and add effects to photos.
The Apple new iPad is 4G, LTE capable in the US, with separate models for Verizon and AT&T, but Australian's aren't so lucky. LTE models of the new iPad use the 700MHz and 2100MHz bands while Telstra, the only carrier in Australia to have a 4G network, uses the 1800MHz band, which isn't supported. Aussies will benefit from dual-channel HSPA+ technology, however, which provides a theoretical maximum download speed of 42Mbps: faster than the iPad 2.
The iPad features a new identical design to the iPad 2, though it is slightly thicker at 9.4mm compared to the the 8.8 thickness of its predecessor. Apple says the battery life remains unchanged at up to 10 hours.
The Apple new iPad will once again be available in 16, 32 and 64GB models in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 3G variants and will launch on Friday 16 March in Australia. Pricing is slightly cheaper than the iPad 2, as follows:
iPad 16GB — Wi-Fi $539.00
iPad 32GB — Wi-Fi $649.00
iPad 64GB — Wi-Fi $759.00
iPad 16GB — Wi-Fi + 4G $679.00
iPad 32GB — Wi-Fi + 4G $789.00
iPad 64GB — Wi-Fi + 4G $899.00