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Apple has unveiled “The new iPad” at a media event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The highly anticipated third generation slate is packed with a wealth of new features while retaining the same pricing as the iPad 2.
It seems that many of the rumored features leading up to the event were indeed accurate. The new iPad includes a Retina Display operating at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 with 3.1 million pixels; that’s over 1 million more than the iPad 2. This equates to 264 pixels per inch and, according to Apple, still qualifies as a Retina Display when held 15-inches from the face. Additionally the new panel’s color saturation has improved by 44 percent.
Powering The new iPad is a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphics that Cupertino claims offers four times the performance of Nvidia’s Tegra 3. Clock speeds of the CPU and GPU remain a mystery at this time, nor do we know how much RAM Apple’s latest iPad is packing.
The new iPad also gets upgraded optics in the form of a 5MP backside illuminated sensor that features a 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Auto-exposure, auto-focus and face detection are all standard and the unit is capable of 1080p video recording with software stabilization that produced “clear improvement” according to media at the event. Apple is calling this an iSight camera.
New cellular models pack 4G LTE radios rated at up to 73Mbps on AT&T and Verizon Wireless in the US. Bell, Rogers and Telus will be carrying speedy models internationally as well. Unfortunately the cellular technology requires separate devices for each network, meaning there isn't a universal iPad that will work on both networks.
Apple claims The new iPad is good for 10 hours of battery life and nine hours when using 4G LTE. As one might expect, all of these additional features come at a physical cost. The new iPad is 9.4mm thick and weighs 1.4 pounds – increases in both categories over the iPad 2.
Pricing for The new iPad remains the same as when the iPad 2 launched. Expect to pay $499, $599 and $699 for a 16GB, 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi only model, respectively. Wi-Fi + 4G variants will set you back $629, $729 and $829 for the same capacities. Pre-orders are being accepted now with availability starting March 16.
Apple also said it will continue to sell the iPad 2 in a 16GB Wi-Fi-only model for $100 less, at $399, while the 3G version is now $529. There are no longer any 32GB or 64GB versions of the iPad 2 available via Apple.
The iPad 2 improves on the original in many ways, including a significantly faster dual-core CPU, improved graphics and a thinner footprint. The iPad 2 also manages to shave off 0.2 pounds for a total weight of 1.33 pounds on the Wi-Fi only model. Apple has included two cameras on the iPad 2 – a VGA-quality front facing lens for FaceTime and a rear-facing camera capable of recording 720p video.
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