The new iPad is here. Apple's new tablet computer has arrived and its ultra-sharp 2048 x 1536 pixel Retina display is enough to set it apart from anyone else. It's almost like looking at a glossy magazine page.

It also has much more powerful guts, with a much faster processor, graphics and more memory. And it's 4G ready.

 

Retina display

The Retina display looks gorgeous. The screen has a 264 pixels per inch density. That's a total 3.1 million pixels in a full colour IPS screen. The image colour seems a lot better too. They say it has 44 percent more saturation than the previous IPS technology they were using.

Apple claims that it is still a Retina display because, when you held it at a normal distance, you just can't see the pixels. That distance is 15 inches. For the iPhone, which has a smaller screen, it is 10 inches. I can't wait to test this thing with all my comics (I wonder if Marvel will have to upload them all again).

The demonstrated it running a new version of Autodesk Sketchbook Ink, a new painting app that is vector-based and resolution independent. It actually seems like you are painting on a real page.

New iPad HD: The Third Generation (Updating Live)

 

Processor and graphics power

The processor is an A5X, which includes a quad-core graphics module. It's going to need all that graphics muscle if it has to push 3.1 million pixels.

According to Apple, it's twice as fast as a Tegra 3 and has "four times" the graphics performance.

 

New camera

The new iPad has a new camera on the back. It has a 5-megapixel side-iluminated sensor, with 5-element lens and an infrared filter. It's basically the same configuration of the iPhone 4S.

New iPad HD: The Third Generation (Updating Live)

 

1080p video recording

The camera is also capable of capturing 1080p video, which obviously looks razor sharp on the iPad's display. The video, like the iPhone 4S, is also stabilised.

Apple says it has temporal noise reduction, which is a rather clever technique that greatly reduces the noise of video by comparing what pixels actually move and guessing what is noise and what is actual detail.

New iPad HD: The Third Generation (Updating Live)

 

Dictation

The new iPad's operating system offers a new microphone button, which will allow you to dictate emails, presumably using Siri technology. No mention of actual Siri assitant.

 

4G LTE connectivity

Apple says the new 4G LTE connectivity will give you 21Mbps on HSPA+ networks, 42Mbps on DC-HSDPA and 73Mbps on LTE. Of course, these speeds are theoretical and there's no word on which UK networks will support DC-HSDPA (apart from Three of course). According to Phil Schiller, the new model "has the most wireless bands that has ever shipped."

 

Memory and other guts

Apple is not mentioning actual specifications for the guts of the machine, but it's pretty clear that the memory — not the storage, but RAM used for running the OS and the applications — has increased too, if only to handle the new resolution.

Mike Capps, from Epic Games, says that it has more memory than an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3. Presumably, his comment refers to graphics memory. We will know soon how much exactly.

 

Physical specifications

Surprisingly, they have kept the package practically just the same as the previous version: only 0.03 inches thicker than the iPad 2 at 0.37 inches (9.4 millimeters). It weighs just 680g.

 

Launch date

You will be able to get it on March 16, but the preorder starts today. It will be available in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan on the same day.

The price is $499, $599 and $699 for 16, 32, and 64GB in the US, so we're probably looking at £399, £499 and £599. If you want 4G LTE, you will have to spend $629, $729, and $829 in the US, but as we don't have LTE here in Blighty, we'll have to wait for 3G/HSPA+ pricing.

 

One more thing

The name. Did you notice it? The name is not iPad HD. It just iPad. Which demonstrates two things.

First, that rumours are bullshit (but I always tell you that. All the rumours are when it comes to Apple. They just become true if you give them enough time).

Then, and most importantly, it shows that Apple has finally realised that this naming scheme was going nowhere. Does iPad 15 make any sense to you? No. Which is why they have just adopted the same strategy as they adopted with MacBooks and iMacs. Just call them by their name and attach a year number or some other descriptive string in your stock systems. It makes sense.

So much sense that I bet they will call the iPhone 5 just the iPhone. You heard that rumor here first, folks! BELIEVE IT!

Press release below:

Apple Launches New iPad

New iPad Features Retina Display, A5X Chip, 5 Megapixel iSight Camera & Ultrafast 4G LTE

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 £329 inc VAT.

“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 colour saturation the new iPad displays colours 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 stabilisation 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 stabilisation 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 £399 inc VAT (£332.50 ex VAT) for the 16GB model, £479 inc VAT (£399.17 ex VAT) for the 32GB model and £559 inc VAT (£465.83 ex VAT) for the 64GB model. iPad Wi-Fi + 4G will be available for a suggested retail price of £499 inc VAT (£415.83 ex VAT) for the 16GB model, £579 inc VAT (£482.50 ex VAT) for the 32GB model and £659 inc VAT (£549.17 ex VAT) for the 64GB model. iPad will be sold in the UK through the Apple Store (www.apple.com/uk), Apple’s retail stores, and select Apple Authorised Resellers. iPad will also be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland 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 £329 inc VAT (£274.17 ex VAT) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and just £429 inc VAT (£357.50 ex VAT) 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 £2.99 each from the App Store (www.itunes.com/appstore). Keynote 1.6, Pages 1.6 and Numbers 1.6 are available today for £6.99 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.