If you’ve been waiting to buy an iPad, Apple had some good news for you today: their new model – which now simply goes by the handle “new iPad” (think New Beetle) – packs a bunch of upgrades over the previous two models without any bump in price. Yes, it looks like the iPad’s reign as king of the tablets will continue for the foreseeable future, even if there is nothing bleeding edge on offer. It’s – wait for it – “resolutionary” according to the Apple.com website homepage.
Here’s what was announced:
iPad 3rd generation ($519/$619/$719 CAD for 16/32/64GB WiFi only – add $120 per model for 3G/4G) Available March 16
- Retina display
- A5X quad-core GPU
- iSight Camera in the Rear: 5MP, backside illuminated, 1080p video recording, Image stabilization
- Voice dictation, but no Siri
- 4G LTE, backward compatible with dual-band HSPA+
- Personal Hotspot feature added
- 10 hours of battery life, 9 if on a 4G LTE connection
- 9.4mm thin, weighing 1.4lbs
From an exterior point of view, the new iPad is nearly indistinguishable from the iPad 2.
The New iPad (yup, that’s the official name) will be supported by all three major carriers (Bell, TELUS, Rogers) for those who want to grab the 4G LTE version.
We’re a little surprised that Apple chose not to give the new iPad the same photo capabilities as the iPhone 4S, which has an 8MP rear camera, and that the front-facing FaceTime camera remains the same as the previous model instead of being upgraded to the FaceTime HD standard that adorns all new iMacs.
In case you’re wondering, yes you can now pick up older iPad 2’s for $100 less than they were selling for yesterday. Apple will continue to make these.
Apple also treated us to an unexpected surprise: A version of the company’s extremely popular photo software for the iMac, iPhoto – built for the iPad. It has a suite of touch-based editing tools but perhaps the coolest feature is the ability to ‘beam’ photos between devices – presumably between iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and iMacs. $4.99 is the price in the App store and you can download it today. GarageBand, iMovie and iWork apps have all been updated for the new iPad.
Also announced was an update to the Apple TV set-top box:
Apple TV (3rd Generation) $99 USD, $109 CAD, available March 16
- 1080p streaming
- new UI with cleaner look and feel
Finally, today marks the release iOS 5.1, which mostly sports some minor enhancements such as Siri support for Japanese consumers. Also, iTunes in the cloud now has movie support.
Details are thin, but AllThingsD writer John Paczkowski is reporting that next iPad will be unveiled next month at a special event in San Francisco and the betting is that the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will be the venue as it has been for previous Apple events.
The launch is expected for the first week of the month, and while no dates have been leaked for retail availability, based on Apple’s track record it’s conceivable that the first units will ship in early April.
In case you haven’t been following the non-stop trail of Apple rumours in recent weeks, check out Marc Saltzman’s post on the all of the features and specs the tech community expects to see in an iPad 3.
Will the next magical and revolutionary device from Cupertino be a must-have gadget? That will really depend on who you are.
As we’ve seen from the progression of Apple’s iPhone models, a certain leap-frog mentality accompanies each successive model. In other words, iPhone 4 owners for the most part didn’t see the iPhone 4S as necessary upgrade, but iPhone 3GS owners and those who had never bought an iPhone before were probably very enticed by the 4S’s features.
It’s very likely that Apple will continue this formula with the iPad 3 – it will have enough new features that an original iPad owner will feel the urge to trade up, but iPad 2 owners won’t feel that their tablet has just been rendered obsolete.
It’s a fine line, but one that Apple walks with unparalleled success.