Following months of speculations and countless rumours, the new iPad has finally arrived. In an unveiling typical of Apple, CEO Tim Cook addressed a packed auditorium at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in California. Included in the launch was the arrival of iOS 5.1, Apple TV and 1080p movie support within iCloud. The key attraction though, was the iPad and we followed the action to bring a preview of the landmark tablet and outline the key specifications.
- Retina display
- A5X processor with quad-core GPU
- 5 megapixel camera
- 1080p video recording
- 4G LTE capabilities
As expected, the major shout on the new iPad is a 9.7-inch Retina display, which features graphics at a frankly astounding 2048 x 1536 resolution – or 3.1 million pixels. Boasting 264ppi and colour saturation 40% better than that of its predecessor, the tablet offers visual capabilities unheard of in personal computing or indeed consumer electronics as a whole.
Despite widespread rumours that the latest Apple tablet would feature the quad-core A6 processor, it is in fact powered by the dual-core A5X unit. Although this will come as a disappointment to some, Apple have stated that the new CPU is twice as fast as the NVIDIA Tegra 3 with four times the performance. Importantly, the device does feature a quad-core GPU in order to capitalise on the retina displays abilities.
The onboard camera for the new iPad is a 5 megapixel unit that features a 5-element lens plus auto face-detection, auto focus lock and auto exposure. Also included in the camera is the ability to shoot 1080p video with image stabilisation.
Crucially for the US market, 4G LTE capability is built in across several major carriers including AT&T and Verizon. As the UK 4G infrastructure is still at conception stage, this is not as important for us Brits.
Battery life remains the same as the iPad 2 at 10 hours, an impressive feat taking into account the increased power drain of the display and processor/GPU. With a thickness of 9.4mm and weighing in at 652g, the new iPad is slightly thicker and heavier than its older sibling, presumably due to the Retina display and increased battery performance. MicroSD and Thunderbolt connectivity were notable in their absence, only the usual 30 pin dock connector is in place.
With regard to software, the new iPad will feature the newly-unveiled iOS 5.1 and will be complemented by a range of specially developed apps including a new version of iPhoto and games such as Infinity Blade Dungeons and Sky Gamblers Air Supremacy available at launch.
Unsurprisingly, the tablet will be available in both black and white upon its worldwide release date, which is set to be 16 March. Pre-order is already in place and prices start at $499 for the WiFi-only 16GB version.