It's been a year in the making and Wednesday morning, Apple announced the new iPad and the new Apple TV.
Many were on the edge of their chairs to see just how different the new iPad would be. Would it be an iPad 3, and iPad HD, a smaller iPad? And finally we saw that the NEW iPad.
It looks just like the iPad 2 -- its the specs that have changed.
Excited Apple fans listened as the company CEO Tim Cook explained all the new gadgets and features that was fodder for speculation over the last few weeks -- and really over the last year.
(Pictured above: Marketing Chief Phil Schiller, who did most of the talking about the new iPad)
The new iPad has, as expected, a retina display for more clear viewing, zooming and detail, as well as 2048x1536 resolution -- also a feature that many were anticipating. For those of you out there that don't know what those numbers mean -- essentially this makes the viewing quality twice as sharp as the iPad 2. The new 9.7-inch iOS tablet keeps the same 9.7-inch screen size but results in a crystal-clear 264ppi pixel density.
Schiller informed the crowd that the resolution on the new iPad was "1 million more pixels than an HD TV."
The audience half-expected the opening credits of 2001 a Space Odyssey to play in the background.
The new iPad will start, just like the iPad 2 did at $499 for 16GB, with $100 more for 32GB and $200 more for 64 GB. 4G wireless models cost an extra $130. And then new iPad will be available March 16th, with pre-orders starting immediately.
It is still not currently clear what the various data plan pricing is for this new iPad but it is clear that Apple doesn't want to label this product the iPad 3. Everyone is referring to it, simply, as the new iPad. Odd, but we can go with it for now.
The new iPad has a 5-megapixel camera with technology from the iPhone 4s and has 1080p video recording.
And for all of you that hate note-taking, the iPad also has voice dictation, thanks to a microphone button on the iPad’s virtual keyboard.
The new iPad will also support next-generation 4G LTE networks. If you have seen the commercials, and the SNL skit, you know that this is a popular new must-have in tech (basically its better and faster). In the U.S. there will be two versions of iPad with LTE — one for AT&T’s LTE network and the other for Verizon’s LTE network. Thankfully, the iPad can also now work as a hotspot when you are in need of faster service for you laptop or smartphone.
While all these updates sound like they would be a battery killer, Apple claims that this new iPad has the same 9 - 10 hours (10 hours for regular use or 9 hours for 3G data use) that the iPad 2 claimed.
Apple sold 15.4 million iPads in the last quarter alone (and more than 200,000 apps have been specially designed for the screen-size that iPads offer) and now they are going to see what the new version can do for the tech behemoth.
Cook told the event goers that the company sold 62 million iOS devices in Q4, which is part of the more than 315 million iOS devices in circulation.
Apple is still keeping the iPad 2 in the line-up, but now it is starting at $399 for 16GB model -- a $100 price reduction from the price yesterday.
Cook added that the people at Apple "believe the iPad has enormous potential and is the poster child of the post PC world" and now that the older versions are price-reduced, it is more attainable for people and children in school that wish to use them as learning tools.
Other updates and gadgets announced
Apple also announced that Siri is launching in Japanese, Wednesday, as part of the iOS 5.1 roll-out -- adding to the already accessible versions of English, French and German.
Many expected that this announcement would include some update or new model of the Apple TV, which many reported were completely out of stock all across the Apple Stores, with no estimated time for dispersal.
The Apple TV, in 1080p, has an interface that looks more like most of the other iOS products with a easily to navigate cloud. So for those that liked the Apple TV but wanted more picture quality and access to the iCloud -- here you have it. The price tag: still an attainable $99. It will be available March 16 and people can start ordering immediately.
This means that iTunes in the cloud will now support the movies that have been purchased on any device -- which has many of us saying, "Finally!" I know that I would get frustrated when I downloaded a movie on one device and couldn't access it on another -- especially when trapped on a plane for a few more hours than expected.
Also, Apple’s productivity software, iWork, is being updated for the new iPad -- as well as iLife. IWork apps will also be available immediately in the app store for $9.99 apiece for new buyers, while GarageBand remains $4.99 for new buyers and both are free updates for those that have already bought them.
The popular movie editing tool, iMovie for iPad, is also getting an update, including functions to create movie trailers and teasers.
And iPhotos is also beefing up its capabilities with some new tools including multi-touch editing, professional quality effects, brushes, and a way to share photo journals in the cloud. The iPhoto updates also have a catalog of filters and effects -- for those that want that Instagram feel without sharing on the photo site.
The new iPhoto will work on the iPhone and iPad and can create these photo journals that feel like a better interpretation of the scrapbook essence that Facebook's Timeline was going for. The app for either device is $4.99. I will be downloading this new app to take care of all those vacation pictures I have crowding my photo folders. I might even call this the best-looking alternative to scrapbooking I've ever seen.
At the Apple event, Tim Cook also gave out some numbers on the company's growing strength in the innovation marketplace. Stating that the company's three post PC products: the iPod, iPhone and iPad make up 76% of the company revenues and that they have their "feet firmly planted in the PC future."
Earlier this week Apple celebrated the 25 billionth app that was downloaded from its App Store and now they have a whole lot more to celebrate with all the buzz from this latest announcement.
Cook also teased the listeners by adding at the very end by saying that “across the year, you are going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation; We are just getting started."