Apple Unveils “New iPad” – Sports Retina Display, A5X CPU

Posted by at 1:37 pm on March 7, 2012

Apple today announced the third-generation iPad at an event in San Francisco. The device’s main feature is a 2048×1536 Retina Display, twice the resolution of the iPad 2, rated at 264 pixels per inch; existing apps will be upscaled automatically. Color saturation is said to be 44 percent higher. The tablet also makes the switch to a new dual-core but quad graphics processor, the A5X, which Apple says is built with the Retina Display in mind. Interface-wise the tablet has been improved with features like voice dictation.

On the rear is a 5 megapixel camera with an illuminated sensor, a five-element lens, and an IR filter; an image processor is built into the A5X. Camera functions support autofocus and auto-exposure, as well as 1080p video recording. Video also benefits from software stabilization.

Cellular-equipped models now support LTE 4G, offering peak downloads up to 73Mbps. On 3G users should still be able to get up to 21Mbps on HSPA+ or 42Mbps on DC-HSDPA. The device will in fact be “world-ready” on 3G, supporting both HSPA and EVDO networks. Verizon, Rogers, Bell, Telus, and AT&T have been announced as initial North American LTE partners. Apple is promising 10 hours of battery life in regular use, and 9 hours on 4G; where supported, the  new iPad will able to operate as a personal hotspot.

The tablet is 9.4mm thick, and slightly heavier than the iPad 2 at 1.4 pounds. Prices are unchanged, ranging from $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi tablet to $829 for a 64GB 4G model. Launch regions will include the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. Pre-orders start today, with a ship date of March 16th.

AppleCare+ Comes to iPad

Apple has also brought its AppleCare+ warranty option to the tablet. By default an iPad is only given a limited one-year warranty, with 90 days of free support. Paying $99 extends coverage up to two years, and allows for two incidents of accidental damage, although in each instance a $49 service fee still applies.

The plan covers not just an iPad but its battery, power adapter, and USB cable, as well as any AirPort or Time Capsule device bought during coverage or two years before. AppleCare+ must, however, be applied no later than 30 days after buying an iPad. The warranty package was initially offered only to iPhone 4S buyers.

iPad Still Kicking

Apple is now also keeping a previous-generation iPad in production for the first time. The iPad 2 has been discounted by $100, making a 16GB Wi-Fi model just $399. In the past people wanting older, cheaper hardware had to wait for refurbished models to become available. Another unusual change is that the top-end hardware is simply being called “the new iPad.

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