As was hotly anticipated, Apple unveiled the latest version of the iPad today, the company's first major product announcement since the death of co-founder Steve Jobs last year.
The new iPad will retail for $499 for the 16GB version, the same as the iPad2 currently on the shelves, and $699 for the $64GB model. The product is available for pre-order today and is slated to ship on March 16, according to Apple.
As expected, the new iPad is evolutionary vs. revolutionary, raising the question for consumers: Is this new version good enough to warrant an upgrade?
"We are redefining the category that Apple created," declared Apple CEO Tim Cook, who highlighted the following features at the company's event today:
- A better screen, featuring a high-resolution retina display, similar to what's on the iPhone4 and iPhone 4S.
- A new Apple 5x processing chip, featuring quad core graphics.
- An improved five megapixel camera, similar to what's found in the iPhone 4S, which can also shoot video in 1080p high definition.
- iPhoto for the iPad.
- Voice dictation.
- Even with all the new bells and whistles, the new iPad will have 10 hours of battery life, same for the iPad2, and 9 hours when being used on AT&T's or Verizon's 4G LTE networks.
In the accompanying video, I discuss the new iPad with two tech gurus: John Biggs, gadget editor at Tech Crunch, and Mark Gurman, senior editor at 9to5Mac.
Biggs and Gurman agree the new high-resolution screen is the new iPad's most impressive feature. Citing Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller's presentation, Gurman notes the new iPad screen will have more pixels than a 50 inch HD TV.
"It's really an incredible feat of engineering," Gurman says. "Apps are going to pop, photos are going to pop and videos are going to look great. People are going to love it."
As to the 'should I upgrade?' question, Gurman says "anyone who wants to have a look at the future of display tech should take a look at this new iPad."
While somewhat less effusive with his praise, Biggs agreed.
The new iPad "looks the same as the old one [but] you're getting a considerably improved screen, improved camera and processor," he says. "I don't think they passed the 'wow' factor but I don't think they have to. They improved the iPad considerably over what it used to be and I think that's your 'wow' factor. If you're not happy with that, you might be a little jaded."