The "New" iPad

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple announced the iPad 3, formally referred to as “The New iPad”, to the world. Most of the functionality had been rumored previously, which makes the update somehow boring and unimpressive to many technology pundits who have absolutely terrible track records predicting anything that Apple does. The new iPad is a fantastic device and here’s why:

  • It has a Retina display – text and graphics are crisp and clear, just like on the iPhone 4.  This is its single most differentiating feature. I haven’t seen it in person, but the general consensus is that it is absolutely gorgeous. Competitors can’t even come close. And it even has improved color saturation.
  • It has a 5 megapixel camera with a similar design to the one in the iPhone 4s (which has an 8 MP camera) complete with 1080p video recording, face detection, and image stabilization.
  • An A5X CPU with quad core graphics processor. It’s faster than the graphics hardware on competing tablets.
  • 4G LTE on both Verizon and AT&T.
  • It still costs $500, $600, and $700 for 16, 32, and 64 GB. Add an extra $130 if you want 4G. Both the AT&T and Verizon plans for 4G are month-to-month and cost the same as the 3G plans.
  • It still gets 10 hours on a charge.
It still looks the same, it still comes in black or white, it still attaches Smart Covers, and it still runs all of your apps. While the pundits might complain that there weren’t any “revolutionary” features such as haptic feedback or a new version of the iOS, there is nothing in the market that even comes close, especially at the exact same pricing as the iPad 2. The Retina display itself must cost a bundle. It’s new, it’s expensive, it’s difficult to manufacture. The fact that Apple is selling the new iPad for the same price is simply amazing. I was excited about the speed improvements and the camera in the iPad 2, but it wasn’t enough to justify replacing my original iPad. I knew a Retina display was on the horizon. Now that it’s here, I think I’m ready to upgrade. I currently own a top-end 64 GB model with 3G, but based on how I’ve used it over the past year and a half, I think I’d spring for a 16 GB WiFi model since I don’t take mine out of the house. Then again, I might throw in the extra $130 for 4G, y’know, just in case.
I’m sure there will be plenty of criticism that Apple didn’t do enough, but with the fantastic screen, improved camera, amazing price points, new applications, and future upgrade to iOS 6*, Apple will surely sell a ton of these things and remain the leader in the tablet market. The fact that the rumors were true doesn’t make it any less of a great product. Oh, and don’t forget – Apple is still selling the 16 GB iPad 2 for $400.

* If last year is any indication, iOS 6 will be previewed at the World Wide Developer Conference in June and released with the next iPhone (the “new” iPhone?) in October.

The following questions have yet to be answered or confirmed. They should be answered in the next few days.
  • Does it indeed have 1 GB RAM, twice that of the iPad 2 and 4s?
  • Were any changes made to the front facing VGA camera?
  • Does the screen use Gorilla Glass 2?
  • Is the A5X any faster than the A5 from a CPU perspective? It has more GPU cores, but does it have the same CPU cores as the A5?
  • Do the graphics improvements of the A5X simply allow it to power the Retina display at the same speed as the A5 powers the iPad 2, or does it still provide more performance than the A5 even though it has to churn 4x the pixels?
  • Apple claims 9 hours of battery life while 4G is enabled. Judging from the terrible battery life of current 4G phones, I’ll be interested to see if you can actually get 9 hours out of it.

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