The moment all Apple fans have been waiting for is here – Tim Cook announced the next generation iPad in front of a cheering crowd in San Francisco. The first surprise came right at the start of the event: the new device isn’t called the iPad 3, as many were expecting; nor the iPad HD, which also was a popular prediction. The new tablet is simply named “the iPad”. Apple CEO Tim Cook shared a bit of the strategy behind: “We are redefining the category that Apple created with the original iPad.”
The new iPad is very similar to the Apple iPad 2, however, it comes with new hardware, software and augmented user experience. The whopping 2048x1536 pixel Retina Display with 264 ppi is almost twice as sharp as the predecessor. The all new A5X CPU comes with quad-core graphics, and the company representatives were quick to claim that it’s “four times as fast” as the Tegra 3.
The iPad’s primary function was never taking pictures, but Apple decided to up the camera specs as well. The new iPad comes with a 5MP snapper featuring 1080p video capabilities. The f/2.4 aperture is definitely an improvement and the whole photo department comes with the same camera app found in iPhone 4S, namely swipe to preview, facial recognition and photo editing.
In terms of software the latest Cupertino creation delivers major upgrades of the popular apps and an array of the all new killer applications. Most trusted software developers received access to the new iPad specs beforehand, so they could come up with upgrades of their apps, which would utilize the new device to the fullest.
These mostly cover art and gaming applications, however iMovie also received a major shake up including storyboards and various new editing tools. The brand new app is iPhoto, offering multi-touch editing, effects, gestures and naturally the iCloud syncing. Pictures can now rest on a desktop, but are still open to editing on the tablet.
Connectivity of the new iPad has also been moved on a whole different level: the 4G LTE support allows speeds of up to 73Mbps, but the tablet still supports 21 Mbps HSPA+ and 42Mbps DC=HSDPA. The new model is slightly heavier than the predecessor, but that is explained by a larger battery to provide the same renowned 10 hour life span despite better screen and LTE radio.
The size of the new device is almost identical to the iPad 2: the new model is 0.37 inch thick compared to 0.34 inches of the iPad 2. This is good news to everyone: the same tablet case sizes will apply to the new device, and there’s no need to throw away you Apple iPad 2 cases, once you decide to switch to a newer model.
Pricing policy is very similar to the iPad 2 from a year ago. The 16GB version will sell for $499, 32GB - $599 and 64GB - $699. The top-notch LTE enabled models will go for $629, $729 and $829 depending on the internal memory. Preorders for the new iPad are already available with the first shipments scheduled for March 16.