iPad 3: What’s New?

As expected, Apple announced the third-gen iPad last week.  Going by simply as “iPad,” the latest iteration of the blockbuster tablet skips any groundbreaking features, but shores up on enough to solidify its position as the top dog of the pack.

The first surprise, of course, is the name.  While we’ve heard monikers like iPad 4G, iPad 3 and iPad HD bandied around, Apple has chosen to go the simple route, returning to the original name with no added dressing.

So, what’s new with the third-gen iPad?

  • A High-Res Retina Display.  Apple calls the tablet’s 2,048 x 1,536 pixels the best resolution on any mobile device.  That’s four times the resolution of the screen on the iPad 2, allowing for full HD movie viewing.  Additionally, the display clocks a 44 percent increase in color saturation, leading to deeper, richer and more vivid visuals.
  • 4G LTE.  Available for both AT&T and Verizon networks, the new iPad will benefit from high-speed wireless connectivity — which, pretty much, guarantees the same for the next iPhone.
  • A5X chip.  While there are no exact details on the actual CPU, it utilizes a quad-core graphics unit, which should turn the iPad into a veritable showcase for gaming graphics.   Apple claims the chip is four times as fast as the Tegra 3, though we’ll probably need to see real numbers to believe that.
  • 5.0 Megapixel iSight camera.  One of the biggest complaints about the iPad 2 (poor camera) has also been addressed, with a new sensor that should be along the same quality as that on the iPhone 4.
  • Bigger battery module.  More power and better connectivity means a greater drain on your battery, so the new iPad gets a better battery as well.  Rated life remains the same 10 hours as the iPad 2, although it dips down to 9 with the 4G versions.

The new iPad, which will come in white and black, hit the stores on March 16.  Prices start at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version.