As expected, Apple announced a new iPad this morning, featuring many of the technologies and specifications that were widely rumored in the past few months, including a new high-resolution display and 4G LTE support. The big surprise? It's not called the iPad 3 or iPad HD; Apple is referring to the tablet as "The New iPad." Let's run down the announced features and point out any interesting omissions and lingering questions.
The New iPad looks just like the iPad 2, but is actually .76mm thicker and weighs 60grams (.13 pounds) more than its predecessor at 9.4mm and 1.4 pounds. The home button remains.
The new 9.7" LED-backlit IPS LCD screen has a resolution of 2048x1536, effectively "pixel doubling" the resolution of the iPad 2 (4x the actual number of pixels). No word on who is making this panel (though we're betting against Sharp). The pixel density is 264 ppi.
Apple updated the A5 to the A5X, which is still an ARM Cortex-A9 SoC with a dual-core CPU. The GPU is now quad-core to support the new screen and improved gaming graphics. We expect that the chip will run at 1GHz, like the A5 on the iPad 2.
The amount of memory has been increased, but Apple has not specified by how much. The iPad 2 has 512MB of RAM.
4G LTE from both AT&T and Verizon is a major new feature, though the cellular-enabled New iPad also includes 3G radios for international travel (with micro SIM slot). Hotspot support is included. 4G LTE maxes out at 3 times the bandwidth of HSPA+. No GPS on the Wi-Fi model.
The rear camera now employs a 5MP backlit sensor with a 5-element lens. The New iPad can record video at 1080p with stabilization and autofocus at 30fps. Apple is calling the rear camera iSight, while the front-facing VGA camera is called FaceTime.
Siri did not make it into The New iPad, but voice dictation is available via the virtual keyboard.
The New iPad has a 42.5 watt hour battery. The iPad 2 had a 25 watt hour battery, according to iFixit's teardown, while the first iPad had a 24.5 watt hour battery. The Motorola Xoom had a 24.5 watt hour battery, and the 11" MacBook Air has a 35 watt hour battery. Apple claims 10 hours of Wi-Fi battery life, and 9 hours of 4G battery life.
Pricing remains the same, with The New iPad starting at $499, all the way to $829 for the 64GB model with 4G. There will not be an option to buy a 3G model without 4G LTE. It will be sold in both Black and White. You can use existing Smart Covers with The New iPad.
Apple will continue selling the iPad 2 at a reduced price of $399 (16GB Wi-Fi) or $529 (16GB Wi-Fi + 3G)
You can pre-order The New iPad online today, and Apple will begin selling it on March 16th, only nine days after today's announcement. Previously, FCC approval took 12 days before sales could commence.
You can watch the announcement in its entirety now on Apple's events page.