Eleventh hour rumours prophesied that today wouldn't mark the unveiling of the iPad 3, rather, they suggested Apple would be rolling out an incremental upgrade called the iPad HD. These rumours turned out to be half right, with Apple CEO Tim Cook revealing "the New iPad" during this evening's press conference. This powerful new device doesn't have a numerical suffix, but it does absolutely cane its predecessor in performance terms thanks to beefy dual core processor. What's more, Apple also brought a new Apple TV and iOS 5.1 along to the party - full details below.
First things first. The "New iPad" (for that is it's name) will pack an improved retina touchscreen measuring 2048 x 1536 and boasts a total of 3.1 million pixels - powered by an A5X processor with quad-core graphics. It's slightly heavier than the iPad 2, but maintains an overall thickness of 9.4mm. In performance terms, the New iPad is four times more powerful than competing Tegra 3-equipped tablets. It contains roughly the same camera and microphone setup as the iPhone 4S. Impressively, it will also support LTE wireless communications - 4G if you will - on top of regular 3G.
Engadget reports that this model doesn't have an SD card slot or any new ports compared to the iPad 2. No surprises there, but many will be disappointed.
The next-gen iPad will hit shelves on March 16th - with pricing as follows. The 16GB Wi-Fi model is $499, the 32GB is $599 and the 64GB is $699. 4G will set you back $629, $729 and $829. Pre-orders are now available... or consider buying an iPad 2 thanks to an official $99 discount off RRP.
Apple weren't done with the reveals, though. The new Apple TV acts as a tiny set top box that outputs at 1080p, can be controlled via an iOS-style interface and allows you to back up movies to the cloud. It has a $99 price tag, which is impressively affordable.
In other news, iOS 5.1 will go live today. This new operating system adds Japanese support for Siri as well as other housekeeping upgrades.