Apple Blazes Into the Future With New iPad
Apple today announced a new iPad finally putting an end to the chorus of iPad 3 rumours that have been circulating for many months. The new iPad, which is simply named iPad, is very much in line with the rumours. Also announced today, in line with expectation, was a new Apple TV.
Apple’s new Apple TV offers 1080p output and a new user interface which very much looks like Apple is positioning the device for more apps in the near future. Apple TV users can choose from over 15,000 movies and over 90,000 TV episodes on the iTunes Store, now available in 1080p. Apple TV also continues to offer content from Netflix’s streaming catalogue, live sports from MLB, NBA and NHL as well as Internet content from Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr.
Alongside the Apple TV announcement Apple discussed iCloud which now incorporates movies as well as music and TV shows so movies that have been purchased in the past from the iTunes Store can be streamed to iOS devices and the Apple TV from iCloud.
The Apple TV remains priced $99 (£99) and will be available in stores on March 16.
The new iPad
The big news today was the new iPad, featuring an amazing retina display with over 3.1 million pixels at a resolution of 2048 x 1536. The display is also brighter and has a considerably larger colour gamut giving it even more punch than before. Apple has also beefed up the innards with a new A5X dual-core CPU and a quad-core graphics processor, the rear camera on the iPad also got an upgrade weighing in as a 5 megapixel “iSight” camera mirroring the features of the iPhone 4S and being able to record 1080p video. The front FaceTime camera remains at just VGA resolution.
Whilst many expected Siri to appear on the iPad Apple has opted to leave out the virtual assistant and instead use the technology to assist with text dictation which is available via a microphone icon on the keyboard.
The biggest feature up for debate ahead of today’s keynote was whether the new iPad would include LTE connectivity or just stick with 3G for another year. Apple came out and surprised most by announcing that the new iPad will include LTE technology, which it called 4G. Those who argued that including LTE would affect battery life have also been proven wrong as Apple continues to tout 10 hours of battery life on WiFi and 9 hours on 4G. According to Apple’s specs the company has included a whopping 42.5 watt battery to achieve this, up from the 25 watt in the iPad 2.
The iPad continues to be priced starting at $499 (£399) for the Wi-Fi only model with capacities remaining at 16, 32 and 64GB. The Wi-Fi + 4G model still starts at $629 (£499).
The new iPad will be available on March 16 in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, UK and the US Virgin Islands. Pre-orders open today.
Apple is keeping the iPad 2 around at a cheaper price offering a 16GB Wi-Fi model for $399 (£329) and a 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model for $529 (£429).
The focus today was very much on software, Apple CEO Tim Cook came out straight away to announce the availability of iOS 5.1 today for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The lead features for iOS 5.1 include Siri support in Japan and iCloud support for movies.
Of course with the new Retina Display it is necessary for all apps to be updated to include higher resolution graphics. All of the stock apps have been prepared for the Retina Display and Apple has also updated the iWork suite, iMovie, and gave a brief demo of the new Garageband.
Leading the pack from Apple was the all new iPhoto for iPad app which is available today priced at $4.99 (£2.99). Making use of multi-touch gestures iPhoto can be used to select and compare photos side by side and flag your best shots. iPhoto also offers full control over colour, exposure and contrast, and you simply touch the parts of the image you want to change. Photos can be posted to Facebook, Flickr and Twitter and beamed between your iPhone and iPad or to the Apple TV via AirPlay.
A number of app developers also took to the stage to demo a number of apps that have already been prepared for the new Retina display and powerful graphics.