Apple adds Retina display to 'the new iPad'

Apple adds Retina display to 'the new iPad'

Summary: Apple's third generation iPad, dubbed 'the new iPad' by the company, brings higher resolution, quad-core graphics, 4G LTE connectivity and a 10-hour battery life


Apple has unveiled its latest iPad tablet device, dubbed 'the new iPad', which brings with it a new Retina display, quad-core graphics processor and high speed 4G LTE connectivity.

New iPad

Apple's third generation iPad, dubbed 'the new iPad' by the company, brings higher resolution, quad-core graphics, 4G LTE connectivity and a 10-hour battery life. Image credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET News

Apple chief executive Tim Cook introduced the device on Wednesday in San Francisco, calling it "the poster child of the post-PC world". This was his first major product launch since taking the reins from the late Steve Jobs.

"The momentum behind iPad has been incredible and has surprised virtually everyone," Cook said. "We sold more iPads in the fourth quarter of last year than any PC manufacturer sold of their entire PC line worldwide. We think this gives an indication of the potential for this product."

Apple has its feet firmly planted in the post-PC future.

– Tim Cook, Apple

Apple sold 15.5 million iPad devices in the fourth quarter of 2011, contributing to a total of more than 62 million "post-PC devices" sold during the period. Apple defines its post-PC devices as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. In 2011, such sales accounted for 76 percent of Apple's total revenue.

"Apple has its feet firmly planted in the post-PC future," Cook added.

Cook also compared the iPad favourably to competitor tablets running other operating systems, such as Android or BlackBerry, saying that they lacked the extensive ecosystem of the iTunes App Store.

"You won't find these incredible apps on any other tablet," Cook said. "In fact, in some estimations there were over 100 competitor tablets that came onto the market just last year; you won't find that great experience [there]."

Key upgrades 

Key upgrades to the hardware for the device include a high-definition 'Retina' display with a resolution of 2048-by-1536 pixels, quad-core graphics in a modified A5 chip called the A5X, and a 5-megapixel 1080p HD video capture capable camera on the rear of the tablet.

The device also supports 3G and 4G LTE connectivity, with quoted speeds dependant on network up to 73Mbps with LTE. It also supports DC HSDPA+ and HSPA+, for up to 42Mbps and 21Mbps respectively. The new iPad is compatible with both CDMA and GSM standards.

"Strategically, the most important updates were those made to its wireless technology, adding a strong array of mobile connectivity including HSPA+ for global markets and LTE, initially targeting the US market," Andy Castonguay, principal analyst at Informa, said in a statement.

The UK has no national LTE networks, in part due to repeated delays in the 4G auction process. The 4G auction is now set to take place later in 2012. Everything Everywhere is ready to switch on 4G services for a limited number of customers "before 2013" but the company still requires regulatory permission. An alternative 4G service called TD-LTE is now being offered on a wholesale basis by UK Broadband, and is expected to reach customers in Southwark from May.

The range of new iPads come in 16, 32 and 64GB variants and are due to go on sale in the UK on 16 March. The 16GB Wi-Fi only variant costs £399, 32GB is £479, and the 64GB, £569. The 4G versions cost an extra £80, making the 64GB version £649.

App ecosystem 

In addition to the updated hardware, Cook cited the Apple app ecosystem as a key factor in the iPhone and iPad's success, adding that more than 25 billion downloads have taken place on the App Store since launch. It is now home to more than 585,000 apps, 200,000 of which have been specially made for the iPad, he said.

The company said that its iCloud service — providing backups, photo syncing between devices and movie, TV and music downloads  — has more than 100 million users. Cook said it was "a key part of the post-PC experience".

A minor update to the iOS operating system was also announced. iOS 5.1 updates core, Camera, Mail and Safari apps, which the company said have been optimised for the new display, as well as updated apps such as iMovie. The OS upgrade also introduces a new photo editor, iPhoto, and audio dication. The dictation option allows for speech-to-text input to make things like taking notes or sending an email easier. 

Some analysts had expected a smaller-screen device along the lines of rival manufacturers' smaller 7-inch or 8.9-inch display devices, such as RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook or Samsung's Galaxy Tab. 

"Apple's much hyped new third generation iPad is well positioned to maintain the company's dominant market leadership among tablet manufacturers," Castonguay said. "The latest or 'new' iPad maintains strong fidelity to its familiar form factor, despite market rumours about the potential introduction of smaller formats. After all, why change the format when it continues to be the most coveted tablet on the planet?"

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Topics: Mobility, Smartphones

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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  • In a post-PC world there are plenty of directions for devices to go. For inspiration the industry (suppliers and commentators) need only look at the preceding mainstream technology for disseminating information: paper!
    Think of the many different sizes and formats we use, from pocketable notepads to giant posters. Computing is making inroads into many of those, but across a broad range of suppliers and technologies. The iPad has found a 'niche' that may be akin to the ubiquitous A4 pad, hence perhaps the reason it gels with so many. Here's an idea - how about a tablet manufacturer bringing out a display with the 'magic ratio' of 1:√2 (1:1.41…) as in A4, A5, A3 etc., whereby each halving or doubling of the dimensions maintains the same proportions – the 'perfect rectangle'. If mankind does indeed love the familiar along with the new then a screen that so effectively replicates our favourite paper format should not be so hard to sell.
    Other possible developments? For starters, when it comes to paper we all use a whole range of sizes and formats. The current slew of different tablet sizes from the likes of Samsung illustrate that there is plenty of potential even with a single rigid display, and since the market comprises mostly people who already have one if not several digital devices then Apple and others will need to entice us with a broader affordable range of sizes and styles so that we choose to own multiple devices on which we can have our information in an optimal format for whatever we are doing or wherever we will be. Which offers up another possibility – how about a computer (as opposed to just an eBook reader) that uses e-ink technology so that we could actually use it outside in broad daylight? Monochrome might even be an acceptable compromise in the short term given that this would be just one of several devices we could choose from.0
    What about longer-term developments? We have already had a tantalising glimpse of one in the Microsoft Courier, the prototype twin-screen foldable computer. I showed the video of this to many people, generally not 'techies', and the universal reaction was "I want one of those", often with an enthusiasm which might unflatteringly be described as 'salivating'. Look familiar? Of course it does, the foldable paperback book has long given us a large display area relative to the physical size, hence the format being used for different and popular sizes from notebooks and magazines to newspapers.
    Of course we also use other folded formats, not just the bi-fold: think of triple-fold (or wider) promotional leaflets, or larger multi-fold documents (quick-start guides, maps etc.), not to mention rolled paper (think again of magazines stuffed into a bag or pocket).
    These latter formats may be beyond current technology but it is heading in that direction, and all of these examples illustrate that there is no shortage of potential places to go beyond the current 'perfect' device that is the new iPad.