Apple took the tech-world spotlight Wednesday to announce the latest version of its popular iPad tablet computer. Apple also introduced an updated Apple TV set-top box that streams video at 1080p, and iOS 5.1, which is available Wednesday.
Here are the highlights of the San Francisco Apple product event.
The "new iPad"
Apple hasn't called it the iPad 3--yet. It's simply calling it "the new iPad", and whether that name will stick isn't clear. The new device is roughly the same size as the previous model but is equipped with a few new features. The tablet will be available March 16, with pre-ordering starting Wednesday. Pricing remains the same across the board for all models, with the Wi-Fi-only 16GB model starting at $499, and the 4G LTE models starting at $629. The iPad 2 will get a price drop of $100, and be available only with 16GB on both Wi-Fi and 3G models.
The rumors were spot-on here. The iPad has a 2048-pixel-by-1536-pixel so-called Retina display at 264ppi, for a total of 3.1 million pixels. At this resolution, with users holding the tablet about 15 inches from their face, Apple says individual pixels are invisible to the human eye. It is claiming 40% better color saturation as well.
5MP camera sensor
The iPad's new 5MP camera has roughly the same components as those in the iPhone 4S, minus its 8MP sensor. It will feature backside illumination, a 5-element lens, hybrid IR filter, and an Apple-designed ISP. It will also have auto-exposure and auto-focus.
1080p video recording
The new tablet adds 1080p video recording—again, not unexpected, but definitely welcome. Apple has integrated video stabilization into the software as well as temporal noise reduction. This will go nicely with its iMovie for iOS update, which is available Wednesday.