No surprise, Apple announced the new iPad at a special even in San Francisco today, and it will be available on March 16. You can pre-order today and pricing is the same as the iPad 2 a launch. That means $499 for the 16 gig WiFi model and $629 for the 3G/4G LTE model available on your choice of ATT and Verizon in the US. The iPad 3 is available in 16, 32 and 64 gig capacities, with each storage jump adding $100 to the price.
The new iPad has a very high resolution Retina Display running at a mind-boggling 2048 x 1536 resolution with 44% more color saturation according to Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. That's 264ppi.
It runs on an A5x CPU, which is a dual core CPU with quad core graphics (much like the PS Vita). It will run iOS 5.1 with features including voice dictation and 1080p video recording thanks to the 5MP iSight camera that's basically the same as the iPhone 4s camera.
The latest iPad has LTE 4G as well as 21Mbps HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA 42Mbps, so don't feel too bad if you're a GSM customer who's not in an LTE coverage area. The tablet is a tiny bit heavier and thicker than the iPad 2, weighing in at 1.4lbs. and is 9.4mm (0.37 inches) thick.
Apple has apparently gone with the name "new iPad" rather than iPad 3, for better or worse. They will continue to sell the iPad 2 as a more affordable option, and the 16 gig WiFi iPad 2 gets a $100 price drop to $399.
The new iPad uses the usual 30 pin dock connector and Apple claims 10 hours of battery life for the WiFi model and 9 hours for 4G.
Apple also announced an updated Apple TV with improved UI and 1080p playback capabilities. Happily, iCloud will now sync movies purchased from iTunes too.
"Wow" part 1: The event featured a segment about how great Siri is, but the new iPad doesn't have Siri? (although it does have voice dictation)
"Wow" part 2: Installing iOS 5.1 "magically" upgraded my iPhone 4S from a 3G phone to a 4G phone.
So does this mean my throttling threshold moves from three gigs to five, or is AT&T just trying to see how many different types of false advertising they can get away with at once?
"Wow" part 3: The OTA limit has been bumped again. It started at 10 MB. Then it was 20. Now it is 50:
"Wow" part 4: As of this writing, Amazon STILL doesn't have a pre-order page for the iPad 3 (or whatever it's called). No, Amazon, I do not want a Kindle Fire, thankyaverymuch. I know I can pre-order from Apple, but I have my reasons (a gift certificate) for wanting to order from Amazon.
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No IPad Mini though. I was looking forward to that. Apparently I'll have to wait until fall. I think I'll be getting the Google Nexus Tablet this summer (if the rumors are true). Or an Asus Memo(If the rumors aren't true). Or maybe a Toshiba T270(If those rumors are true). Or maybe a ZTE T98 (No rumor here, they officially announced it).
What do you have to say about Apple claiming there new processor is 2X fast as Tegra 3?
I like your decision tree for buying a 7" tablet That claim was likely pure marketing bluff from Apple about the A5x vs. Tegra 3. The Apple CPU is still the same dual core, but with a quad core rather than dual core GPU in place. It's not CPU architecture change like going from A9 to A15 in the ARM world, and the Tegra 3 has a quad core GPU too. That's not to say that Apple's mobile chips aren't fast and they do benchmark very well, but I think it's unlikely that the A5x could be 2x or 4x faster than the Tegra 3!
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview