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.