From a better screen to a faster processor, The New iPad offers several improvements from its predecessors.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Ending weeks of speculation, Apple(:AAPL) has released the latest version of the iPad, named rather simply, "The New iPad."
Not the iPad Hd or iPad 3 that had been speculated, just "The New iPad."
Even still, there are several new features which are sure to get tech pundits and consumers excited about the new tablet, available now for pre-order. It will officially go on sale March 16.
From a faster processor, to Retina Display, to a better camera, to a quicker network connection, there are several new features in the works for the newest tablet from Apple. In addition, Apple refreshed its set-top box, Apple TV, which now supports 1080p video and supports iTunes Match.
Here is a list of the new iPad's five most important new features:
Long Term Evolution
Apple announced that the new iPad would run on Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks from Verizon(:VZ) and AT&T(:T). This will allow the iPad to watch high-quality video and run on the telecom's high-speed 4G networks. While we still have not seen the insides of The New iPad, Apple has a close relationship with 4G leader Qualcomm(:QCOM), so it's a good bet Qualcomm has some chips in the new tablet.
4G networks are ten times faster than 3G networks, and allow telecom companies to generate additional revenue from these networks, as more 4G users allows for less investment in older, more capital-intensive networks, such as 2G and 3G.
The ability to run on LTE networks plays into the company's decision to make the iPad with Retina display, packing in twice as many pixels on the screen, giving users a much clearer image when watching video.
LTE will not eat up the device's battery, as Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller said the iPad would still have 10 hours of battery life for most tasks, and 9 hours on LTE networks.
Along with LTE, the other major important new feature for the newest iPad will be its screen. Apple said "this is the most advanced display you have ever seen"
The 9.7-inch screen will have 3.1 million pixels, or 264 pixels per inch.
The 2048 x 1536 Retina Display will allow users to watch video in a much clearer fashion. Apple decided to increase the number of pixels on the screen by a factor of two. Previously, only the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S had Retina Display.
It allows for images, movies, and email to be much crisper when viewing them, and your eye is unable to distinguish each individual pixel. The screen will have 40% better color saturation.
Apple announced a new microprocessor for the new iPad, codenamed A5X.
It is a quad-core chip, which means four chips on a single processor. Apple said that the new chip can deliver four times the performance of Nvidia's(:NVDA) Tegra 3. It's unknown at this point whether the chip is a dual-core CPU and a quad-core CPU or quad-core all around.
Apple said the A5X is twice as fast as the processor for the iPad.
This will allow games and videos to be played longer, as the battery life will not suffer.
Apple upgraded the cameras in The New iPad, with a 5-megapixel iSight camera on the back of the iPad. It will also contain auto-focus and auto-exposure, use the same optics system found in the iPhone 4S, and be able to record 1080p video.
This will help with some of the new features that Apple announced today, most notably iPhoto for iPad.
Already available to other Apple users, iPhoto for iPad allows you to change how pictures look, you can browse your pictures, beam pictures to other devices, and create photo journals. Randy Ubillos, chief architect of photo and video apps at Apple, described it as a "reinvention" of iPhoto.
In addition, iPhoto for iPad will be able support photos up to 19-megapixels. The reinvention of iPhoto seems like it is taking direct shots at Instagram, the popular iOS app, as well as Facebook's Timeline. It is available immediately for $5, and if you already have it, the updated version of iPhoto is free.
Images can be shared with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, email and other applications.
While essentially the same form factor, Apple's new iPad is slightly heavier than the iPad 2 (an additional 0.67 pounds at 1.4 pounds) and is .37-inches thick, slightly thicker than the 0.34-inches the iPad 2 is.
It will be available in both black and white models, and the pricing strategy will be the same. It will cost $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model, and $699 for 64GB model. The 4G models will cost an additional $130, respectively.
Apple also cut the price of the iPad 2, lowering the 16 GB Wi-Fi model to $399, and the Wi-Fi + 3G model to $529.
The iPads are available for pre-order today and go on sale on March 16.
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--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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