Apple’s next iPad will be available on March 16th for $499 and up. Pre-orders open today. So what’s new in the latest iPad? Apple has outfitted the tablet with a higher resolution display, more powerful graphics performance, and support for 4G LTE.
The biggest change is the move from a 9.7 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel display to a 9.7 inch, 2048 x 1536 screen. In other words, the new iPad has a higher resolution display than a 1080p HD TV.
While the new screen has 264 pixels per inch, compared with the 326 pixels per inch on the iPhone 4, Apple is still calling the new screen a retina display. That’s because you hold a tablet further from your face than a phone, and at about 15 inches from your eyes, you’d be hard-pressed to pick out any pixels on the new screen.
Apple says the new screen also offers 44 percent better color saturation.
Apple A5x processor
In order to crank out graphics to the high resolution display, Apple designed a new processor called the Apple A5x.
It’s still a dual-core CPU, but it features quad-core graphics and Apple says it offers twice the graphics performance of the A5 chip found in the iPad 2.
All of Apple’s core apps will be updated to support the new screen resolution and Apple is introducing new versions of iWorks, Garage Band, iMovie, and other apps.
Meanwhile, all apps designed for older iPads will work on the new iPad even if developers don’t upgrade the graphics. They just won’t look as good.
The new iPad will support 4G LTE mobile broadband with speeds up to 72Mbps. In the US there will be separate versions for AT&T and Verizon’s networks.
International carriers include Telus, Rogers, and Bell. The 4G models will also feature world-wide 3G capabilities.
Apple is building “personal hotspot” capabilities into the new tablet, allowing you to share your 3G or 4G connection with other mobile devices over WiFi, but it will be up to carriers to decide whether to allow that feature.
The new iPad also supports 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.
Apple is upgrading the rear camera on the iPad. The new model has a 5MP camera which can shoot 1080p HD video. It supports face recognition and has built-in image stabilization.
Basically Apple took the technology from the iPhone 4S camera and put it in the new iPad — although for some reason Apple went with a 5MP camera for the iPad instead of the 8MP camera used in the iPhone.
While Siri is still an iPhone exclusive, Apple is bringing voice dictation to the iPad. There’s a new microphone icon in the keyboard which you can tap to start speaking to enter text.
Voice dictation works in English, French, German, and Japanese.
The new iPad gets exactly the same battery life as the last model: up to 10 hours of use with WiFi, and 9 hours with 4G LTE.
In other words, even though 4G generally consumes more power than 3G, there’s no impact on battery life thanks to the new 42.5 WHr battery.
Airplay and video output
If you have a shiny new Apple TV 3rd generation device you can stream video from an iPad to a TV at 1080p resolution.
The tablet supports 720p AirPlay streaming for 2nd generation Apple TV devices.
You can also use an Apple Digital AV Adapter or VGA adapter to output video to an external display at resolutions up to 1080p.
The new iPad is a little thicker than the iPad 2… possibly due to that bigger battery.
The tablet is 9.5″ x 7.31″ x 0.37″ (9.4mm) and weighs 1.44 pounds. The iPad 2, on the other hand, is 0.35 inches thick (or about 8.8mm) and weighs 1.33 pounds.
As usual, Apple is introducing better hardware while keeping the price the same. The new iPad costs exactly as much as the iPad and iPad 2 did at launch:
- $499 – 16GB WiFi-only
- $599 – 32GB WiFi-only
- $699 – 64GB WiFi-only
- $629 – 16GB 4G LTE
- $729 – 32GB 4G LTE
- $829 – 64GB 4G LTE
Cheaper iPad 2
Apple will continue to offer the iPad 2, with a starting price of $399.
There’s a $100 price drop across the board, so an iPad 2 with 64GB and 3G, for instance, will run you $729.