Apple unveils new iPad with upgrades
When it goes on sale next week in the U.S. (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and several other countries, it will be “the iPad” or perhaps “the new iPad” — not “iPad 3” or “iPad HD,” as some had speculated.
The lack of a new name could cause confusion for buyers, particularly since the older model, the “iPad 2,” will still be sold. But the naming practice is consistent with Apple’s practices for the iPod. New models were simply called “iPod,” and consumers were left to figure out which generation of the product they were looking for.
The new iPad revealed Wednesday has, as expected, a sharper screen, driven by a faster processor. What was more surprising was that the new features mean the tablet computer will be slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, because it needs a larger battery to power the high-resolution screen.
The battery life remains the same: about 10 hours of use.
Prices aren’t changing from the previous models. They will start at $499. Versions capable of accessing cellular networks will cost $629 to $829.
Apple is keeping the basic model of the iPad 2 in production and dropping the price to $399.
Apple said the new display will be sharper than the average living room high-definition television set in the living room, and show more vibrant colors than previous models.
“We are taking it to a whole new level and are redefining the category that Apple created with the original iPad,” said Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook at the launch event in San Francisco.
Earlier, Cook spoke of a “post-PC” era dominated by the iPad and other Apple products.
The new iPad will go on sale March 16 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A week later, it will go on sale in 25 more countries.
Compared with the iPad 2, the new model features a higher-resolution camera on the back, similar to the one in the iPhone 4S.
The new iPad will be 9.4 millimeters thick, or 0.37 inches. That compares with 8.8 millimeters, or 0.34 inches, for the iPad 2. The weight is going up from 1.33 pounds to 1.44 pounds for the Wi-Fi-only model. The original iPad weighed 1.5 pounds.
Apple also confirmed that the new model will come in a version that can use Verizon Wireless’ and AT&T Inc.’s “LTE” wireless broadband networks. They offer speeds that are faster than the “3G” networks used by previous iPads, and current iPhones.
Apple is updating some of the software on the tablet to take advantage of the new features. For example, it’s introducing a version of the Mac’s iPhoto photo organization and manipulation program for the iPad.
Apple also said it would start letting users store movies in its iCloud remote storage service, so they can be accessed through the Internet by PCs and Apple devices. It already lets users store photos, music and documents in the service.
Apple is also upgrading its Apple TV set-top box so it can play movies in 1080p, the highest-resolution commonly used video standard.
List of iPad models announced Wednesday
There are nine flavors of the new iPad, with different access capabilities and storage amounts:
— Wi-Fi only, 16 gigabytes of storage, $499
— Wi-Fi only, 32GB, $599
— Wi-Fi only, 64GB, $699
— Wi-Fi and 4G cellular connection, 16GB, $629 (separate models for AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks)
— Wi-Fi and 4G cellular connection, 32GB, $729 (separate models for AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks)
— Wi-Fi and 4G cellular connection, 64GB, $829 (separate models for AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks)
The prices are the same as the iPad 2’s at launch. On Wednesday, Apple said it is cutting the older version’s prices by $100. It will cost $399 for the basic W-Fi model and $529 with cellular connection on the older 3G network. Both versions have 16GB of storage.
Pre-orders begin Wednesday. It will go on sale on March 16 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Number of iPads sold by Apple by quarter
Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since its debut in 2010. Here’s the breakdown by quarter:
— 3.27 million in fiscal third quarter 2010 (through June 26); iPad went on sale April 3.
— 4.19 million in fiscal fourth quarter 2010 (through Sept. 25)
— 7.33 million in fiscal first quarter 2011 (through Dec. 25)
— 4.69 million in fiscal second quarter 2011 (through March 26); iPad 2 went on sale March 11.
— 9.25 million in fiscal third quarter 2011 (through June 25)
— 11.12 million in fiscal fourth quarter 2011 (through Sept. 24)
— 15.43 million in fiscal first quarter 2012 (through Dec. 31, 2011)
Top 5 manufacturers of tablet computers in 2011
Apple Inc., maker of the iPad, 40.5 million shipped worldwide, 62 percent share
Samsung Electronics Co., maker of Galaxy line, 6.1 million, 9 percent.
Amazon.com Inc., maker of Kindle Fire, 3.9 million, 6 percent
Barnes & Noble, maker of Nook products, 3.3 million, 5 percent
AsusTek Computer Inc., maker of Transformer line, 2.1 million, 3 percent
Other, 9.4 million, 14 percent