Tim Cook took the stage with an on-time start and launched into a keynote that began by talking about the brave new world Apple is helping to shape in which “the PC is no longer at the center of your digital world, but rather just a device. We’re talking about a new world where the devices you use the most need to be more portable… and dramatically more easy to use than ever before.”
Cook described the iPad as “the poster child” of the post-PC world, and that couldn’t be more true with the next generation of the device.
The unit itself does not look entirely unlike the existing iPad 2 and unlike some rumors to the contrary, the physical home button was retained.
Get ready to drool, with a feature list that includes:
- Retina Display – Phil Schiller described the new high-resolution display by saying that, “until you see it you can’t understand how amazing it is.” The new display has more than a million additional pixels over the iPad 2 and displays a resolution of 2048×1536.
- A5X Quad-Core Processor – Offering 4x the performance of the Tegra 3!
- iSight Camera – Offering the same set-up as the iPhone 4S, with a 5-megapixel backside illuminated sensor, 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Auto-exposure and auto-focus have also been implemented along with 1080p video recording that features software stabilization.
- Voice Dictation – With a new microphone button featured on the bottom of the on-screen keyboard and dictation capabilities in US English, British, Australian, French, German and Japanese.
- 4G LTE – The next generation of wireless is available on the new iPad giving you 21Mbps HSPA+, 42Mbps DC-HSDPA and 73Mbps LTE. Unfortunately, because LTE has multiple bands, different devices will be needed for AT&T and Verizon. If the carrier supports it, your iPad can be a personal hotspot as well!
- Battery Life – The iPad 2 claimed 10 hours of battery life (9 on 3G), the new iPad can also boast these numbers (even with the increased speed and better display). Weighing in at 1.4lbs and 9.4mm thin, the new device is slightly heavier than the existing iPad.
- iOS 5.1 – The first major update to the iOS 5 operating system is available on the new device and for all others beginning today.
The cost for the new iPad remains the same: 16GB for USD $499, 32GB for USD $599 and 64GB for USD $699. No larger storage options have been released. If you want 4G, you can expect to pay a little more: 16GB for USD $629, 32GB for USD $729 and 64GB for USD $829.
The new iPad can be pre-ordered starting today with delivery on March 16th for the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. For those in countries beyond that list you can expect availability beginning on March 23rd.
[Photos via Engadget]