First up, a tip of the hat goes to Engadget for hosting the live blog of the Apple event. Apple sometimes hosts live video of announcements, but as of late, has been more 'private.' At any rate, the new iPad is just that -- the "new iPad." There was no reference to iPad 3 or iPad HD or any other crazy moniker. This time, Apple is playing it straight.
For channel partners, by the way, I recommend checking out Jessica Davis's iPad perspectives on MSPmentor.
So what's inside the new iPad? The most obvious is the new retina display. Apple has it rated at 264 pixels per inch, which makes pixels indistinguishable at a normal usage distance of 15-inches. Running that massive 2048x1536 resolution display is the brand new quad-core A5X CPU (which allegedly beats out Nvidia's Tegra 3), complete with a new graphics engine, eloquently showcased by new "console quality" game demos and iTunes HD content.
The new iPad comes outfitted with a 5 megapixel rear camera, but features all the fancy multi-layer optics of the iPhone 4S, for full HD video recording and high quality photos. There's also built-in automatic video stabilization while recording. Same 10-hour battery life, but brand new 4G LTE internal radios. Yes, it's slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, but only by .6 mm and .07 lbs. That's essentially nothing. As an extra goodie, Apple has thrown in voice dictation, similar to what Siri provides, but of course, there is no Siri on the new iPad. Next time you pull up the keyboard, just tap the microphone button and try it.
Apple revamped all their apps, including iWork, iMovie, Garage Band and the stock applications for an enhanced experience that suits the retina display. But the jewel of the app-related announcements was the newest member, iPhoto for iPad, which fits right at home with the retina display. The app includes an impressive list of real-time filters and brushes, advanced photo management capabilities and intuitive multi-touch gestures.
With iPhoto on the iPad, Apple has now ported the entire iLife suite over to the iPad, and it's obvious Apple has a clear direction for what the iPad should be doing in the post-PC era -- as much as possible, if not everything. I think this mentality will keep Apple's ahead of the game.
While other manufactures see tablets as extensions of people's lives, Apple will actively build the iPad to be the center of people's lives. When you change the paradigm about what tablets are supposed to do, you can continue to deliver new innovations every time.
So what of the iPad 2? Apple has also lowered the barrier to entry for the iOS world and will continue to provide the 16GB iPad 2, both with WiFi and 3G, at $399 and $529 respectively. For the new iPad, the price tags are structured the same, just like the internal storage space -- $499-699 with 16-64GB, tack on the traditional $129 if you want the 4G version, AT&T or Verizon. Pre-order now, or wait until March 16 2012 and get one in-store.
Overall, like the iPhone 4S release, the new iPad announcement was relatively low key, and I think I know why. Apple is holding out on all the good stuff for the new iPhone release. Why? Because the last slide CEO Tim Cook put up on the screen was of a crescent blue horizon of Earth at dawn, with the title: "2012: There's a lot to look forward to," with Cook appending "We're just getting started."