So, what’d you have in the office pool? iPad 3, iPad 2S, iPad HD? Doesn’t matter, really. All that matters is that it’s here! This is the next generation of Apple’s iOS slate and, as usual, she’s a beaut — and yes, she’s still rockin’ a physical button. As was rumored this thing is packing a Retina display, potentially making this the most pixel-packed slate on the market. The 9.7-inch screen plays host to 3.1 million pixels in a 2048 x 1536 arrangement — that’s 264ppi. It’s not just a higher resolution though, the screen also boasts improved color saturation. Of course, what would a new iPad be without some updated guts. The new model has an A5X processor and quad-core graphics chip. Apple even claims its newest sliver of silicon can deliver four times the performance of a Tegra 3 — we’d say dems fightin’ words.
There’s also a new iSight camera on board that’s quite similar to the version inside the iPhone 4S. It’s only five-megapixels, but it does have a backside illuminated sensor with a five element lens. It’s also capable of capturing 1080p video, which should come as no surprise. We’re also excited to see the keyboard sporting a brand new dictation key that lets you speak instead of type — yes, just like on Android. The new software inside will also let you use the slate as a portable WiFi hotspot… so long as the carriers are game. It even has the ability to recognize at least some bezel gestures, as revealed during its iPhoto demo.
Perhaps most exciting though, is the new connectivity options — you guessed, LTE! The new iPad is sporting 21Mbps HSPA+, but it’s also rocking an LTE radio capable of pulling down 73Mbps on both Verizon and AT&T here in the US. Outside of the states Rogers, Bell and Telus will also be scoring 4G flavors of the iOS tablet. Amazingly enough, even with an LTE antenna on board, Apple is still claiming to get 10 hours of battery life. That’s probably partially do to the slightly increased weight of 1.4lbs, though the 9.4mm thickness is nothing to sniff at.
The new iPad will be available March 16th, starting at $499 for the 16GB WiFi model and scaling up to $829 for the 64GB version with 4G. So, on the price front, nothing has changed. Pre-orders start today in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, with much of the rest of the globe to follow on March 23rd.