Apple has launched the third version of its massively popular iPad tablet. It has a Retina display, a vastly improved camera, the new A5X processor, the high-speed mobile broadband technology LTE, and voice dictation support.
The company did not give the new tablet a name. A procedure it introduced when it launched iPad 2. It appears the official name is just iPad.
The new tablet displays images at a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, which is around 3.1 million pixels, and a million more than an HDTV, the company said at an event in San Francisco. That should enable the device to play sharper video.
The newest iPad doubles the pixel count available on iPad 2, which became available last year and came with a 9.7-inch screen and a dual-core processor. The iPad 2 screen displays images at a 1024 x 768 pixel resolution.
The next iPad also has software to make the device a personal hotspot. If a carrier supports it, the device can share a high-speed network with up to 5 devices.
The tablet will also have voice dictation technology. The company's most recent iPhone 4S smartphone also included natural dictation technology called Siri to make phone calls, get maps or organize meetings.
The third version of the tablet has a microphone button on the virtual keyboard, one that looks just like the corresponding icon on the iPhone 4S’s keyboard. You can use that microphone for dictation anywhere the keyboard appears.
So no full Siri integration.
It does have a 5-megapixel iSight camera with autofocus, tap to focus, face detection in still images, video recording, HD (1080p) up to 30 frames per second with audio, video stabilisation, a FaceTime camera with VGA-quality photos and video at up to 30 frames per second, and photo and video geotagging
The new tablet also has 4G LTE capabilities, which will enable faster data connectivity than the iPad 2.
IDG's tablet guru, Ross Catanzariti, notes that while the Apple new iPad is 4G, LTE capable in the US and Canada, with separate models for Verizon and AT&T, 4G connectivity isn't available for Australia. Wi-Fi + 4G models of the new iPad use the 700MHz and 2100MHz bands while Telstra, the only carrier in Australia to have a 4G network, uses the 1800MHz band which isn't supported. Aussies will benefit from dual-channel HSPA+ technology, however, which provides a theoretical maximum download speed of 42Mbps: faster than the iPad 2.
The iPad will provide 10 hours of battery life on active usage and nine hours on 4G usage. It will weigh 1.4 pounds (635 grams) and run on an A5X processor, which has a quad-core graphics cores, enabling high-resolution graphics. It has four times the graphics processing power of iPad 2.
The new iPad will be available March 16 in Australia, the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Hong Kong. It will be available in 25 more countries a week later.
It will be available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models in Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + 4G variants and will launch on Friday, March 16, in Australia.
- iPad 16GB; Wi-Fi $539
- iPad 32GB; Wi-Fi $649
- iPad 64GB; Wi-Fi $759
- iPad 16GB; Wi-Fi + 3G
- iPad 32GB; Wi-Fi + 3G
- iPad 64GB; Wi-Fi + 3G
The Apple Store Australia was listing the three new models with 4G, however, on its website. Oops, perhaps?
In the US it will be $US499 for the 16GB model and $US699 for 64GB. With 4G connectivity, the price will be $US629 for the 16GB model and $US829 for 64GB.
The price for the 16GB iPad 2 has been reduced to $429; an iPad 2 16GB with Wi-Fi and 3G will cost $569.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said Apple had once again redefined the category it created two years ago with the original iPad.
He said the device has become the "ultimate poster child" for the post-PC generation.
(Information from Macworld's live blog of the Apple event was used in this report and from IDG News Service.)