March 7, 2012

Apple unveils new 4G iPad, keeps prices (VIDEO | 22 PICS)

SAN FRANCISCO – Apple Wednesday introduced a new iPad that, as expected, will have a sharper display, faster processor, voice dictation and the ability to tap into faster cellular networks.

The new iPad is "taken to a whole new level, and redefines the category Apple created with the original iPad," said Apple CEO Tim Cook at a press event here.

As with the previous iPad, the new iPad starts at $499 with 16 GB of storage for a Wi-Fi model, or $629 to get cellular Internet access. It will be available on March 16.

The iPad, first introduced in April 2010, is the most successful tech product of the last few years. It has sold over 55 million units to date, and analysts expect it to top 100 million by year's end.

Apple is keeping iPad 2 in the lineup, dropping the price to $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version.

Ahead of the launch, there was much speculation about whether Apple would call the device "iPad 3" or perhaps "iPad HD." Instead, company executives referred to it simply as the "new iPad."

The device's new, faster processor is "four times" faster than the previous iPad, which means that e-mails, videos, photos and other programs will open much faster.

There were expectations that Apple would add Siri, the digital personal assistant from the iPhone 4S to the new iPad, but it didn't. It did add voice dictation, however.

A new tab has been added to the keyboard. Press a button and users can dictate texts, e-mails and the like.
The improved camera first introduced on the iPhone 4S — which many consumers have turned to in place of their point and shoot camera, has been added to the iPad.

The 5-megapixel camera has built-in image stabilization, to help eliminate the shakes, and also offers the ability to shoot video in full 1080p HD resolution.

Previous iPads could access cellular 3G networks; the new one can get faster 4G, which is available from AT&T and Verizon, but not everywhere nationally. The 4G services are in more markets from Verizon.

One of the biggest selling points for the new iPad is the sharper "retina" display, which was first introduced on the iPhone 4 in 2010.

Apple Unveils New iPad

Most HD TVs are 1920x1080 resolution, but the sharper resolution of the iPad is 2048x1530, or "1 million more pixels than HDTV," said Apple senior vice-president Phil Schiller.

Apple also introduced new updates to the iMovie video-editing app and GarageBand for virtual music playing for the iPad.

For iMovie, you can create movie trailers, as you can on Mac computers. And with GarageBand, new virtual instruments have been added.

Additionally, iPhoto, the photo program on Mac computers, is now part of iPad. With iPhoto, as opposed to the camera roll photo app on previous iPads, you can both edit photos and access the same libraries ("our vacation," "baby born") created on computers.

Also Wednesday, Apple unveiled a new version of its Apple TV set-top box, which brings Internet movies and TV shows — and music from your computer — to the TV set.

The new box upgrades the high-definition from 720p to a sharper 1080p and sells for $99. The Apple TV box will also be available on March 16.

Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller talks about the display on the new iPad during an Apple product launch event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 7, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (AFP Photo)

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