After months of frenzied rumoring and often errant speculation, the new iPad has finally arrived. Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the new device in San Francisco on Wednesday, declaring that "Apple is at the forefront of this revolution. Apple has its feet fully planted in the post-PC future." The new iPad is available for pre-sale starting today, and comes packed with a raft of impressive upgrades. Here, seven things you should know:
1. Don't call it the "iPad 3"
The new tablet is just called "the iPad," says Nathan Olivarez-Giles at the Los Angeles Times. "Not the iPad 3 and not the iPad HD, contrary to rampant speculation around both monikers." Cook didn't offer any explanation for the number-less name, but really, what's in a name? says Terrence O'Brien at Engadget. "All that matters is that it's here."
2. The screen is better than your TV
The new iPad boasts a long-awaited retina display — the tablet's "best new feature," according to Sam Biddle at Gizmodo — with double the resolution of the iPad 2. With 264 pixels jammed into a square inch, the display still isn't quite as sharp as an iPhone 4S, "but it's still a million more pixels than an HDTV." That means graphics will shine through with "more detail and clarity," says Olivarez-Giles. The iTunes store, for instance, will be able to stream high-definition 1080p videos (up from 720p on the iPad 2). That's a huge leap.
3. The new iPad has a suped-up processor
"Whoa," says Adrian Covert at Gizmodo. The new iPad is powered by a new quad-core graphics processor, which means games and videos should run ultra-smooth. Yes, the "gaming goodness" that Apple showed the San Francisco audience was impressive, says Joey Davidson at TechnoBuffalo. We're talking "console-quality" graphics. "Now it's up to the developers and publishers to create titles that actually make use of the tech...."
4. It's blazingly fast
The new iPad boasts a 4G connection for both Verizon and AT&T, which means you'll be able to download big files extremely quickly, even without a Wi-Fi connection, says Nilay Patel at The Verge. 4G is about 10 times faster than the relatively sluggish 3G. Even better, you'll still get nine hours of battery life while using 4G, says Chris Burns at SlashGear. Remember: 4G is normally a huge battery-suck. What Apple managed to do here is "pretty impressive stuff."
5. The camera is much better
The iPad 2's camera was derided by a chorus of critics. The new iPad comes with an iSight camera, just like the iPhone 4S's, says Patel. That means auto-exposure, auto-focus, a 5-megapixel sensor, and the ability to record high-definition 1080p stabilized video. "That's a huge upgrade from the iPad 2, and a massive jump over competitive tablets, which all have terrible cameras."
6. Siri is nowhere to be found
"The iPad isn't getting Siri yet, unfortunately," says Casey Johnston at Ars Technica, "though Apple has added a microphone key to the keyboard that allows users to dictate text to the tablet." Siri's absence is the biggest disappointment by far, says Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet. The omission is "strange and somewhat surprising. I wonder if this is because Siri is still in beta?"
7. You can get one in less than a week
Prices are $499 for a Wi-Fi-only 16 GB model, $599 for 32 GB, and $699 for 64 GB. "All 4G models will cost $130 extra," says Jared Newman at TIME. The new iPad will launch on March 16, and is already available for pre-sale.