The Apple iPad Conference in San Francisco was warming up as Tim Cook told of how Apple sold more iPads in Q4 2011 ‘than any PC manufacturer sold PCs.’ Apple managed to shift 15.4 million premium slates in Q4, while HP could only offload 15.1 million PCs in the same period. Cook, Apple’s CEO since the sad demise of Steve Jobs late last year, then went on to showcase the 20,000 ‘gorgeous’ and ‘ground-breaking’ iPad apps available in the Apple App Store.
Cook then went on to mock the Samsung Galaxy Tab. ‘It kind of looks like a blown-up smartphone app running on a tablet – and that’s exactly what it is!’ No punches pulled there then.
Then the Retina Display of the new iPad was confirmed – all credit to ars technica, bang on with the 2048 x 1536 resolution – 3.1 million pixels on a mobile device, another world first for Apple. Tim Cook joked, ‘This presents a problem for us in presenting it to you. For the first time an iPad has a higher resolution than this entire display behind you… That’s a fun challenge.’
That pixel count comes out at 264ppi, which trails the iPhone 4S’s 326ppi, but still qualifies the new iPad’s display as a Retina Display since user are expected to use the device at a distance of 12-15 inches, rather than the hunched 10-inch usage pattern of an iPhone.
Cook boasted of 44% better color saturation than on the last-gen iPad 2.
The new iPad will feature Apple’s A5X CPU, dualcore but with four graphics cores, which Apple claims offers four times the performance of an NVidia Tegra 3 quadcore chip. We’ll believe that when we see it.
Camera-wise, the new iPad features a 5MP rear-mounted illuminated sensor, with a five element lens and IR filter. Auto-focusing, auto-exposure. And 1080p video recording to boot.
Siri makes the leap – the new iPad features voice dictation, with US English, British, German, French and Japanese supported at launch.
4G LTE functionality in iPad 3 is included. Where the current-gen iPad 2 offers 3.1MB/s on EV-DO, or 7.2 MB/s via HSPA, the next-generation iPad 3 will deliver 21MB/s via HSPA+ with DC-HSDPA weighing in at 42MB/s, and LTE blowing away the competition on 73MB of glorious technicolor ultra-rich voice-commanded content downloaded to your shiny new iPad.
LTE partners will be Verizon, AT&T, Rogers, Bell, and Telus. Alas, separate devices for AT & T and Verizon. But at least they’ll all be 3G-enabled, wherever you are in the world.
And all that extra connectivity power won’t come at the expense of battery life – Apple promises battery juice will still give 10 hours of battery life, or 9 hours on 4G. That’s a remearkable feat. Something had to give of course, and thanks to that bigger battery the new iPad 3 is slightly thicker than its 8.8mm forebear at 9.8mm and weighs slightly more than the iPad 2 at 634 grams.
Gaming demos showed Sky Gamblers and Infinity Blade, and it looks like console quality gaming is part of the package. Tim Cook beamed, ‘more memory and screen resolution than either the Xbox 360 or the PS3.’
A few choice apps have been updated for the third-gen iPad 3, such as iPhoto, making use of ‘new gestures, new effects, multi-touch editing.’ iPhoto supports up to 19MP snaps. All that extra processing power means functionality is improved – double-tapping an individual photo now calls up a gallery of all similar-looking snaps. Whoah! Features are getting to Adobe standard too – Sharpen, Soften, Darken, Repair. Cook did promise that iPad apps were set for a quantum leap with the new iPad.
And so to price. The current pricing model for the iPad 2 has been kept to – the 16GB third-gen iPad can be gotten for $499. Great call. In black or white. 32GB, $599. 64GB, $699. For 4G it’s $629, $729 and $829, respectively.
44% more vibrant Retina Display, 1080p video capture, console-quality gaming, voice control, ten hours battery life. All for the price of the last-generation model. We suspect iPad 3 will sell quite well. News of iPad 2 firesales will follow.
In the meantime, check out new iPad 3 in picture. It’s a Beauty!
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