Apple's new iPad includes a high-resolution Retina Display, a new A5X processor with quad-core graphics and a 5-megapixel rear camera capable of shooting 1080p video. In an interesting twist, company executives didn't affix an official name to the tablet during its March 7 unveiling, instead referring to it only as the "new iPad."
Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center at 10 a.m. PST to introduce the device. "We have our feet firmly planted in the post-PC future," he said, according to a live transcript published by The Verge. The iPad plays a key role in that, having sold 15.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Apple's App Store now offers around 200,000 apps custom-built for the iPad's larger screen. Cook took a swipe at Apple's competitors as lacking design sense, particularly when it comes to rendering apps on a tablet's larger screen. "It kind of looks like a blown-up smartphone app," he told the audience, referring to Twitter for Android.
The new iPad is clearly designed to present apps in the best possible light, so to speak, with the screen's 2,048-by-1,536 resolution. It weighs slightly more than the iPad 2, at 1.4 pounds, and offers comparable battery life. Those in the United States will have the option of purchasing the new iPad with 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity on either Verizon or AT&T.
The new iPad will keep the same prices as the previous model, starting at $499 for WiFi-only versions and $629 for those with 4G capability. Prices top out at $699 for the WiFi-only, 64GB model and $829 for the 64GB model with WiFi and 4G.
Apple also dropped the price of the iPad 2, with the 16GB, WiFi-only version starting at $399. In doing so, it replicates the strategy it started with the iPhone, where the prices of the previous version fall with the introduction of a new unit.
Apple executives spent much of the presentation detailing revamped versions of iWork, iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand, all of which take advantage of the iPad's graphical power.
The next iPad wasn't Apple's only upcoming product on display. The newly unveiled Apple TV will stream video at 1080p, with an interface that clearly draws its design cues from iOS. The device will retail for $99, and also go on sale March 16.
It remains to be seen whether, as that date approaches, Apple gives "the new iPad" a more official-sounding name.