The new iPad is official: Retina display and 4G are in

At its scheduled event in San Francisco today, Apple took the wraps off its new iPad—which is, apparently, called just that: "the new iPad." The device features a faster processor, a Retina display, 4G LTE wireless connectivity, and the same pricing as the iPad 2.

Apple has outfitted the device with an A5X dual-core processor (with "quad-core graphics") that's claimed to be four times quicker than Nvidia's Tegra 3. (We'll have to see about that.) The 10-inch display has a whopping 2048x1536 resolution, which works out to about 264 pixels per inch—less than the iPhone 4's 326 PPI, although the company pointed out that users hold tablets farther away than their phones. Existing apps will be scaled up to the higher resolution, just like on the iPhone, but fonts will be rendered at the native resolution. Oh, and Apple says the display has 44% higher color saturation than on the iPad 2.


Another key feature is 4G LTE wireless connectivity, which will be offered through AT&T and Verizon. It looks like there will be a different iPad 4G model for each. In Canada, Apple has partnered with Bell, Rogers, and Telus. Outside of North America, the new iPad will happily roam across 3G networks.

Other notable additions include Siri-like voice dictation functionality and a five-megapixel camera. The camera boasts 1080p video recording, video stabilization, and temporal noise reduction.

All of this state-of-the-art hardware has made the iPad a little fatter and heavier than its predecessor, but not by much. Apple quotes a 9.4 mm thickness and a weight of 1.4 lbs. For reference, the iPad 2 is 8.8 mm thick and tips the scales at 1.33 lbs. Battery life has stayed the same, though: 10 hours on Wi-Fi and 9 hours on wireless. Pricing hasn't changed, either. You can expect to pay $499, $599, and $699 for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB variants of the new iPad. 4G wireless will set you back an extra $130 on each model. Penny-pinchers will be happy to know that Apple plans to keep offering the iPad 2 at a lowered price: $399 for the 16GB, Wi-Fi model and $529 with 3G.

So, when can you get your hands on the new iPad? Apple should start taking pre-orders for the device today. However, availability is scheduled for March 16 in major North American, European, and Asian, and Australasian markets. Some countries will have to wait until March 23.

By the way, the new iPad wasn't all Apple talked about today. The company also showed a revised version of its Apple TV gadget, which now does 1080p video playback and features a revamped interface. It still costs $99. Last, but not least, Apple plans to roll out iOS 5.1 today with Japanese support for Siri.

For more coverage of today's event, be sure to check out the live blogs over at The Verge and Engadget.

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