Apple Lives Up To The Rumor Mill With 'New iPad'

The_New_IpadAll but the most outlandish rumors around an Apple product launch actually proved to be close to the truth today, as the company launched its next iteration of the phenomenally successful iPad. There were few surprises, but Apple clearly has raised the bar on the high end of the tablet market. The only rumor that did not prove to be on the money was the name: neither iPad 3 or iPad HD. Apple is simply calling this the new iPad.

The new iPad will have, as expected, a “retina display” that approaches the pixel density of the current iPhone 4. In this case the 2048 x 1556 resolution will render 264 pixels per inch, which Apple executives say will make it impossible for the normal retina to distinguish among pixels at normal use distances of about 15 inches. The new screen will also boast 44% greater color saturation. The new resolution will not require any rush to rewrite code, however. While optimizing for the new display will render the best results, Apple says existing iPad apps will scale to the new dimensions, and text will benefit from the sharper rendering. All of Apple’s native apps are being upgraded to optimize to the new pixel count.

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The display is complemented by a higher-resolution 5 megapixel backside camera that also has autofocusing, 1080p video recording and image stabilization. The still camera also incorporates facial recognition technology.

While some rumors suggested that the iPhone 4S' Siri voice control feature would find its way into the new iPad, Apple is making do by adding voice to text dictation to the keyboard.

Powering the new display and other features will be a quad-core version of the processor now driving the iPhone -- now called the A5X.

Also as expected, this new iPad will come with LTE broadband data support in separate models for both AT&T and Verizon, as well as other providers worldwide. Apple said that LTE can deliver over 70MBps of data. Backward compatibility with 3G networks will ensure worldwide coverage.

Even with the notoriously power-sucking LTE feature, iPad will maintain its high battery life -- 9 hours with LTE and 10 hours without, Apple claims.

The footprint of the iPad gets a tad thicker and heavier at 9.4mm thick (vs. 8.8mm for iPad 2) and 1.4 lbs. (vs. 1.33 to 1.35).

New apps for the iPad will include iMovie, iPhoto and Garage Band.

The new iPad is available for pre-order today and will be delivered to stores on March 16. Pricing remains at current levels at  the current memory sizes, starting at $499 for WiFi-only 16 GB models and topping off at $829 for a 64GB LTE model. The iPad 2 will remain in market at a reduced $399 for the 16GB version.  

Apple also stayed true to advance rumors by refreshing the Apple TV line with hardware that supports 1080p screens. A wholly new interface also taps into the cloud and allows users to access video they have acquired.

Apple also announced that iOS 5.1 would be available today. It adds Japanese support for Siri. 

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