APPLE has launched a 4G-capable iPad and a new Apple TV capable of playing high definition content.
Apple this morning announced its third generation iPad at an event in San Francisco.
The new iPad features much improved screen quality in what Apple terms a retina display, in which users would not be able to differentiate individual pixels at a certain distance from the eye.
The new resolution is 2048 x 1536 at 264 pixels per inch. This is less than the iPhone 4S, due to the much larger screen.
Apple said it had already upgraded its stock apps to make use of the much finer display.
“For the first time an iPad has a higher resolution than this entire display (behind me) … That’s a fun challenge,” Mr Cook said.
As predicted, Apple has chosen to upgrade the A5 processor in the iPad 2 to a faster A5X processor which it said made the new iPad four times faster, but in doing so chose against rolling out the faster A6 processor expected to be rolled out with the iPhone 5.
The new iPad is slightly heavier than its predecessor, weighing 635 grams, and slightly thicker.
The disappointing 0.92 megapixel back facing camera on the iPad 2 has been replaced by a much more respectable 5 megapixel camera — it brings the new iPad’s camera in line with cameras rolled out on competing Android tablet devices. The new camera will be capable of recording full 1080p high definition video.
Apple also has included faster 4G LTE connectivity to mobile networks with its new iPad, but it seems this will be available only to US customers on selected networks such as Verizon and AT&T. The technical specs for the new iPad show 4G LTE available for 700 and 2100 MHz frequencies, and not the 1800 MHz frequency used on the Telstra 4G network.
However the new iPads would be capable of connecting to 3G and HSPA networks.
Despite the higher screen resolution, Apple is promising 10 hours of battery life, and even nine hours of battery using 4G.
Apple confirmed a dictation assistant would be on the new iPad rather than Siri, the heavily promoted personal assistant on the iPhone 4S. A new microphone key had been added to the device’s soft keyboard to help with audio dictation functions.
Apple said the new iPad would be the same price as the existing iPad with pre-orders from today with the launch on March 16 in the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. A week later, it will go on sale in 25 more countries.
An Apple Australia spokeswoman this morning said the new iPad would be available in Australia from March 16.
The new iPads will be priced from $539 to $759 in the Australian Apple store which this morning began taking pre-orders. Cellular network capable ones would cost from $679 to $899. The price of entry-level iPad 2’s had been dropped to $429.
Stock apps already had been optimised to make use of the higher screen resolution while existing apps would be scaled up.
Apple also announced a new version of its Apple TV set top box which would be capable of playing HD video. The new Apple TV will cost $109 here and will be available in Australia also on March 16. Rumours that it would launch a full TV set did not eventuate.
Apple also this morning rolled out statistics that underlined its dominance of the consumer tech space.
The company had sold 172 million of what Mr Cook called devices of the “post-PC era” last year. This was 76 per cent of Apple’s revenue. It hosted 110 million visitors in its 362 retail stores world wide in Q4 last year.
The iTunes app store now hosted 585,000 apps and 25 billion downloads of apps had taken place with the 25th billionth downloaded in China. There were 100 million iCloud users.