This Is The New iPad: Our Complete Overview

Rumored for the past two years, the new iPad featuring a higher resolution Retina display is finally here, and it’s simply called “iPad “. Announced at Apple’s media event in San Francisco a few minutes ago (our liveblog and March 7 news hub), the new device features the same design of the iPad 2 (flat aluminum back with tapered edges), and it comes in two colors, black & white. Looking at the initial photos of the new iPad, a less tech-savvy eye wouldn’t notice any difference from the current-gen model. The new iPad, however, is packed with completely new hardware components inside, so let’s take a look.

Features

Retina display. The biggest new feature of the new iPad is its high-res Retina display. Carrying four times the pixels of the original iPad at 2048 x 1536, the Retina display will allow for incredibly crisp text displayed on screen, vibrant colors in photos and images, and apps sporting detail like never before. With “the most pixels ever seen in a mobile device”, the new iPad was demonstrated on stage showing the increased quality in reading text, browsing webpages, and viewing photos. With 264 pixels per inch, Apple’s Phil Schiller said “that is enough to call it a Retina Display” — that is because, whilst the iPhone is generally held at a distance of 10 inches, iPad is held at 15 inches, making noticing individual pixels almost impossible. The Retina Display will also allow for 44% greater color saturation.

In order to create a display with four times the pixels, we had to design it in a completely new way. You see, every pixel in a display has multiple signals telling it when to light up. But when you have a lot of pixels and a lot of signals on the same plane, signals get crossed and image quality suffers. To make sure everything on the new iPad looks crystal clear, Apple engineers elevated the pixels onto a different plane — separating them from the signals. It’s technology that’s breakthrough. Just like the new iPad itself.

A5X processor. The new iPad carries a new A5X processor with quad-core graphics. Apple says the previous A5 is twice as fast as a Tegra 3 chip, and the A5X will offer four times the performance.

The A5X chip with quad-core graphics drives four times the pixels of iPad 2 yet it delivers the same smoothness and fluidity iPad is known for. Even with all that extra oomph, the new iPad still gets an amazing 10 hours of battery life.

New Camera. The new iPad comes with a new 5-megapixel iSight camera with autofocus and white balance, advanced optics with IR filter, face detection, and 1080p video recording. The video recording app, in particular, was shown as having a new UI. 1080p recording will also feature noise reduction and stabilization.

Megapixels matter. But the quality of a photo is determined by other things, too — like the camera’s optics, image signal processor, and software. The iSight camera uses advanced optics to give you the best picture possible. With an ƒ/2.4 aperture and a five-element lens, it captures light efficiently to produce a sharper overall image. And the hybrid infrared filter — typically reserved for expensive SLR cameras — keeps out harmful IR light for more accurate, uniform colors.

Here are a series of photos taken with the new iPad. An example below.

Siri Dictation. The new iPad will feature voice dictation in 6 languages through the iOS keyboard.

LTE. The rumors were true — the new iPad will support LTE, as well as 3G. The new iPad has 21 Mbps HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA at 42 Mbps, whilst LTE will top at 73 Mbps. AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, Bell, and Telus will be initial LTE partners, and the device can also be turned into an LTE hotspot. The 3G functionality is worldwide, and Apple claimed the new iPad has “the most bands ever” while referring to its connectivity options. The device will feature the same 10 hours of battery life of the iPad 2, and 9 hours while on 4G LTE.

The new iPad supports fast cellular networks the world over — up to 4G LTE.2 So you can browse the web, stream content, or download a movie at blazing-fast speeds. It also works on GSM/UMTS worldwide network technologies including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA — the fastest 3G networks out there. You’ll see downlink speeds up to 42 Mbps with DC-HSDPA and up to 21.1 Mbps with HSPA+.

Bluetooth 4.0. As rumored, the new iPad features Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity as the iPhone 4S.

Price & Release Date

The new iPad will come with the same storage options and price points of the current generation: 16 GB ($499), 32 GB ($599), and 64 GB ($699) for the WiFi version. 4G versions will be $629, $729 and $829.

The new iPad will launch worldwide on March 16th in 10 countries. More will follow on March 23. Check out our tablet comparison here; some screenshots from Apple’s official page below.

March 16th Launch Countries

  • US
  • Canada
  • UK
  • France
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Australia

March 23rd Launch Countries

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Macau
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

Following a series of hardware-related announcements, Tim Cook took the stage again to introduce a few demoes of apps that have been updated for the new iPad. Focusing on picture quality of the Retina display and the amazing color reproduction of elements on screen, Apple first confirmed all native apps have been optimized for the new iPad, then let third-party developers showcase their most recent entries in the iPad lineup. Namco demoed a game, deeming it “console quality” for the advanced graphics. Autodesk showed a new app with resolution independence for super-detailed drawing. Epic Games demoed a new version of Infinity Blade called “Dungeons”, available soon, featuring impressive 3D graphics for the Retina display.

A trailer below, courtesy of TouchArcade.

Apple announced updates for its apps as well. iWork will receive an update today featuring Retina graphics. GarageBand and iMovie will be updated as well — both will feature new graphics for the iPad, and GarageBand will also feature iCloud integration, Smart Strings, Note Editor, and Sharing. GarageBand will also come with a new “Jam Session” option to let 4 iPads play together over local WiFi or Bluetooth. iMovie for iPad gains the possibility of creating movie trailers, just like the Mac version, advanced planning and new editing tools.

Apple then announced a new version of iPhoto for iOS: our details here.

Furthermore, the iPad 2 will stick around this time, at a lower price of $399 for the 16 GB model. The 3G version will be kept as well, at $529. On stage, Apple’s Schiller mentioned education was a big reason behing the decision to keep the iPad 2 alive this year.

First Impressions & Photos

A number of blogs have already posted photos, videos, and first impressions of the device.

The Verge

We’ve just had our first in-person experience with Apple’s latest and greatest slate… and it feels good. It goes without saying that the screen on the device is absolutely stunning — while we haven’t had a chance to look through every possible app on the new iPad, the retooled stock applications and icons really do pop on the Retina Display. Just as when we first saw the iPhone 4 display, the New iPad’s 2048 x 1536 screen is stunning to behold. Simply put, there’s no other product like it on the market.

A photo of the device’s screen by MG Siegler.

Slashgear

Performance from the A5X dual-core processor – with its quadcore GPU – is swift, with apps loading and multitasking flipping through with zero lag. That’s pretty much what we’re used to from the A5, admittedly; we’ll have to wait and see how the heavy-duty games hold up, though, when more developers begin to test the limits of the iPad’s abilities. From what we’ve seen of iPhoto and iMove, though, multimedia editing is potentially faster on the new iPad than on a regular desktop machine.

Engadget

We just circled back with Apple and learned a few more nuggets. The new iPad is ever-so-slightly thicker than the iPad 2, but we’re told that “most accessories” (including the Smart Cover) should work just fine. Moreover, the Voice Dictation feature here requires a web connection, which leaves us even more baffled at the omission of Siri. With Airplane mode toggled on, the microphone button on the keyboard simply vanishes. In practice, Dictation picked up our phrases perfectly, even in a crowded room that was simply buzzing from random chatter.

The Loop

It’s impossible to put into words just how good the Retina display is on the iPad. It’s not just images that look sharper, it’s text too. Reading a Web site or an iBook on the iPad’s display is incredible. Even the home screen on the iPad is crisper and sharper than I expected.

The iPad seemed quite a bit faster in doing tasks too. For example, looking at photos and scrolling showed no lag at all.

Below, first hands-on videos of the device.


Apple has started uploading its new iPad videos to YouTube.

Links

Apple’s Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO―March 7, 2012―Apple® today introduced the new iPad®, the third generation of its category defining mobile device, featuring a stunning new Retina™ display, Apple’s new A5X chip with quad-core graphics and a 5 megapixel iSight® camera with advanced optics for capturing amazing photos and 1080p HD video. iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G connects to fast networks worldwide, including AT&T’s and Verizon’s 4G LTE networks, and still delivers the same all-day 10 hour battery life* while remaining amazingly thin and light. Beginning today, iPad 2 will be offered at an even more affordable price starting at just $399.

“The new iPad redefines the category Apple created less than two years ago, delivering the most amazing experience people have ever had with technology,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The new iPad now has the highest resolution display ever seen on a mobile device with 3.1 million pixels, delivering razor sharp text and unbelievable detail in photos and videos.

The new iPad’s Retina display delivers four times the number of pixels of iPad 2, so dense that the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels when held at a normal distance, making web pages, text, images and video look incredibly sharp and realistic. The 3.1 million pixels in the Retina display are more than one million more pixels than an HD TV, and with 44 percent increased color saturation the new iPad displays colors that are unbelievably richer, deeper and more vivid. Movies are now capable of playing at full 1080p HD-resolution, delivering an incomparable viewing experience on a mobile device.

The powerful new A5X chip with quad-core graphics was specifically designed by Apple to deliver a fast, responsive user experience while supporting the incredible Retina display. With double the graphics performance of the A5 chip, the A5X provides a superb balance between performance and power efficiency so users can enjoy all the benefits of the stunning new display while experiencing a smooth Multi-Touch™ interface, immersive gameplay, incredible visual depth and all-day battery life that iPad is known for delivering.

The 5 megapixel iSight camera features advanced optics for taking stunning pictures and recording full HD video. Backside illumination allows you to take great photos in low-light conditions and a new video image stabilization feature removes the bumps and shakes typically seen when filming with a hand-held device. Images can be enjoyed on the large Retina display, then edited, enhanced and easily shared with friends and family using the built-in Photos app on iPad.

iPad Wi-Fi + 4G with built-in next generation 4G LTE has the most comprehensive support for fast networks worldwide including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, and now both CDMA and GSM iPad users have the ability to easily roam internationally. The world-ready iPad delivers blazing download and upload speeds so web pages load incredibly quickly and email with large attachments can be sent and received easily. Personal Hotspot can be used to share the fast network connection on your iPad with up to 5 other devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB**.

With iOS 5.1, the latest update to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, the new iPad has a number of new features and enhancements including: a redesigned Camera app with video stabilization technology; the ability to delete photos from Photo Stream; support for dictation in English, French, German and Japanese; and Personal Hotspot. iOS 5.1 also works seamlessly with iCloud®, a breakthrough set of free cloud services including iTunes® in the Cloud, Photo Stream and Documents in the Cloud, that works seamlessly with your iPhone®, iPad, iPod touch®, Mac® or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content and push it to your devices. When content changes on one of your devices, your other devices are updated automatically.

The new iPad also supports dictation, another amazing way to get things done just using your voice. Instead of typing, tap the microphone icon on the keyboard, then say what you want to say and the new iPad listens. Tap done, and iPad converts your words into text. You can use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web and more. Dictation also works with third-party apps, so you can update your Facebook status, tweet, or write Instagram captions.

Apple also introduced the iPhoto® app, along with major updates to iMovie® and GarageBand®, completing its suite of iLife® apps for iOS. iLife and the iWork® apps, Pages®, Keynote® and Numbers®, have all been updated to take advantage of the new iPad Retina display. iPhoto includes breakthrough Multi-Touch features so you can use simple gestures to sort through hundreds of photos and find your best shots, enhance and retouch your images using fingertip brushes and share stunning photo journals with iCloud. iMovie now gives you the ability to create amazing Hollywood-style trailers as you record HD video, and GarageBand introduces Jam Session, an innovative and fun new feature that allows a group of friends to wirelessly connect to play instruments and record music together live on their iOS devices

iPad runs almost all of the over 585,000 apps available on the App Store™, including more than 200,000 native iPad apps, from a wide range of categories, including books, games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel. The iTunes Store® puts the world’s most popular online music, TV and movie store at your fingertips with a catalog of over 20 million songs, over 90,000 TV episodes and over 15,000 movies. The new iBooks® 2 app for iPad lets users experience an entirely new kind of ebook that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive. iBooks created with Apple’s new iBooks Author offer gorgeous, fullscreen ebooks with interactive animations, diagrams, photos, videos, unrivaled navigation and much more.

Pricing & Availability

The new iPad Wi-Fi models will be available in black or white on Friday, March 16 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model and $699 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad Wi-Fi + 4G for either AT&T or Verizon will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad will be sold in the US through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers. iPad will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the US Virgin Islands on Friday, March 16. Customers can begin pre-ordering their new iPad today, and the incredible iPad 2 is now offered at a more affordable price of $399 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and just $529 (US) for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model.

iOS 5.1 and iTunes 10.6 are available today as free software updates. iPhoto, iMovie 1.3 and GarageBand 1.2 are available today for $4.99 (US) each from the App Store (www.itunes.com/appstore). Keynote 1.6, Pages 1.6 and Numbers 1.6 are available today for $9.99 (US) each from the App Store. Updates are available for free to existing customers. By the end of March iPad will be available in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Storify Collection

We have collected the best tweets about today’s announcements in one handy Storify collection. Direct link here.