Apple Announces The new iPad

After many months of speculation, Apple has finally unveiled The new iPad. The device is now just called iPad rather than iPad 3, iPad HD or iPad 2S as some had speculated. The reason for this could be to fall in line with how people view the iPod nano, iPod touch, Apple TV etc… each has a generation, but essentially they are not referred to as the Apple TV 3 as an example. We suspect that the next generation iPhone will simply be called iPhone or The new iPhone as it will be listed on the Apple website later on this year.

Back to the new iPad. The key features of this model are the Retina display, 5 megapixel camera with new optics, A5X processor and 4G connectivity to name a few things.

Starting off with the Retina Display. The new iPad has a 2048 x 1536 pixel display that has around 3.1 million pixels crammed in there (3,145,728 to be precise). It has a PPI (pixels per inch) of 264 which allows it to fall in to the class of being a Retina. This is worked out by some calculation and the fact that the iPad gets held further away from the face when compared to an iPhone 4 or 4S. Basically, individual pixels cannot be seen when held about 15 inches away from your eyes. Apple had to change how the screen works a little by moving the pixels away from the circuit to cut down on interference which “might” be a reason why the iPad is marginally thicker than the previous generation iPad 2. The new model is 9.4mm thick compared to the 8.8mm of the iPad 2.

The next upgrade on the iPad is the camera. The new version has a 5 megapixel backlit illuminated sensor and uses the same 5 lens structure from the iPhone 4S. The camera is now called the iSight and can capture, balance and focus on up to 10 faces to make sure exposure is correct. It can capture video in full HD 1080p and comes with video stabilization which we assume works with a mixture of software and tracking movement from the gyroscope much like the iPhone 4S does. The lens has an f/2.4 aperture and has 5 elements within. It also has an IR filter within the camera to cut out problems that this sort of light can cause with exposure.

The A5X processor has quad-core graphics that allow the many pixels on the Retina display to be kept up to speed. The chip has been designed in a way to be friendly to the battery which means the iPad still retains the 10 hour battery life which has been seen on both previous generations of the iPad.

Overall, its an impressive package although not the quad-core A6 that some expected, we still see a boost in performance on graphics which was essential with a screen like this and an overall boost in performance.

4G connectivity has been added to the iPad. This is kind of a grey area as not everywhere has 4G yet and those that do generally don’t have the real 4G as it has been used as a marketing tactic extending what “3.75G” is. Either way, it allows connections of up to 80Meg or so in the “best” conditions with other connections dropping down to 40, 21, 14, 7Meg depending on what network is used. Due to the 4G connectivity, there are two models of the iPad in the US with one for Verizon and one for AT&T. However, each can be classed as a World iPad as the Verizon 4G model does have all the GSM needed to access networks around the globe.

Siri wasn’t added to the new iPad although dictation was. Apple has added a new button to the keyboard next to the spacebar that allows users to tap and dictate notes and messages to the device.

Overall, a regular update that can be expected. Some might say it is “modest”, but other than some fancy new technology such as wireless charging or dual/cameras and a 3D screen, it essentially just follows along with any other regular update.

As for pricing, Apple has kept the iPad pricing the same as what the iPad 2 pricing was at launch. The iPad 2 has now been dropped down to a more suitable price and Apple now only offer a 16GB model in WiFi or WiFi 3G.

WiFi iPad
16GB $499
32GB $599
64GB $699

WiFi+4G iPad
16GB $629
32GB $729
64GB $829

Pre-orders are open now on the Apple store and the device will be delivered on March 16 if you get in quick enough. Right now, the launch day pre-orders are still available but we expect them to run out in the next few hours.

Apple is also launching in a large group of countries which is a first for the iPad. Previous generations had seen a US launch first followed by several countries at a later date. This is not the case on the new generation model.

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