Apple Reveals New Game-Changer iPad With High-Res Screen And 4G, Starting At $499

Apple just pulled the covers off the new iPad—its latest tablet in the post-PC era, and just as the rumors said it would be, it's all about its amazing new screen.

Apple's new iPad is being revealed today in San Francisco: It's physically a lot like the iPad 2, there's still a home button (quashing some wild rumors about it going) and yes—it has a fabulous 2,048 by 1,536 pixel screen. That earns it the "retina display" title, and means it's likely to trounce 99% of all other tablet offerings.

To power that new screen, which includes 40% better color saturation than before and clever pixel-level tech to reduce interference, Cook explained the new iPad has "quad core graphics" enabled by its updated A5X chip. That's more than twice as fast as the previous A5 unit inside the iPhone 4S. Apps designed for the current iPads will simply up-scale to fill the bigger screen (as Apple's cleverly chosen to simply double the number of pixels in each direction). And to demonstrate its game-changing prowess Apple showed off a new game from Epic—Infinity Blade Dungeons—which is a hugely updated version of the original game Apple used to demonstrate the first iPad. The team even suggested the graphical power of the tablet beats competitors like the Xbox 360.

Among its other features, we've learned it will also sport 4G LTE modems—on AT&T and Verizon in the U.S. Apple's also updated the laughably bad rear-camera on the iPad 2 to the same unit as the iPhone 4S has inside: That means it's got 5 megapixels, and all the high-performance associated with backside-illumination. The move brings commonality between Apple's supply of components and this may be one of the first bits of evidence of Tim Cook's influence here—he's the supply chain streamlning guru.

The new camera now enables the iPad to shoot video in 1080p full HD resolution, and thanks to the fact its sensor is much larger and the graphics chips are so powerful, it can carryout real-time dynamic image stabilization—which Cook demonstrated on stage. That places the iPad as a slightly awkward but potent competitor to many a digital camera on the market.

There's a voice dictation app, but Cook devoted nearly no time to it at all. Instead new versions of the stock Apple apps like GarageBand were demonstrated, alongside an updated iWork (emphasising the business productivity powers of the device). Apple's desktop iPhoto app has also made the transition to iPad, so that users can manage and actually edit the photos they snap with the updated camera on the tablet.

What didn't make the cut was the last-minute-rumored haptic feedback tech. We're guessing that's a likely hit for the iPad 4... or simply "iPad" as it seems Apple's likely to call it, given that the new iPad for 2012 is simply called "iPad," not "iPad 3" or "iPad HD."

Despite the significant upgrades, the device is still on sale at a starting price of $499 for the 16GB model, stretching up to $699 for the 64GB model—the same price as it's always had. 4G units go from $629 to $829, just as before, and will also support 3G in a global mode.

Rounding up the news, Tim Cook noted "It's the ultimate iPad, and we think it's going to change how you see and do just about everything and Apple's Phil Schiller added that he thinks it'll change "what people think is possible in this category of device." That sounds an awful lot like Apple agrees with us, and it's completely convinced the future of computing is in tablets, not PCs

Chat about this news with Kit Eaton on Twitter and Fast Company too.

[Live Images Via Engadget]

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  • Bud Thompson

    This Kit Eaton stuff is pathetic. Juvenile fan-boy puff pieces do nothing for Fast Company's reputation.

  • Ben Simerly

    Kit, again, we love ya, but its truly beginning to look like you on Apple pay roll here...

  • D_Virginia

    The new features are "just OK".

    Retina display?  Meh.  All those pixels only do so much good on a 9" screen, where you can only interface with a fat finger.  Nothing game changing here.

    LTE?  This is a catch-up feature that many other tablets and phones have.

    5MP camera?  First of all, it's not even as good as the camera on the iPhone 4S.  Secondly, there's a reason there are no cameras on the backs of laptops -- no one will use them.

    Voice recognition -- leave it to Apple to gloss over the one productivity-enhancing feature that they added.  Thank you for finally catching up to Android on this.

    Kudos on the battery life though.  If it can really pull off 9 solid hours on LTE, that is certainly a notable feat.  I will be curious to see third-party real-world testing of this claim.

    Also kudos to Apple for keeping the prices the same for the iPad 3, though it looks like the reduced price iPad 2 will /only/ be sold in the 16GB variety -- so, fail.

    An incremental update, nothing groundbreaking here.

  • Peetr

    For the love of peace, not every device that Apple releases is a "game changer." New devices with higher resolution screens and faster GPU's come out every year. Just look at Asus' Eee Pad line or the Motorola Atrix. Or have you not noticed this pattern, Fast Company?

    And at these prices, it's more of a joke than a game changer. It's like the new Maclaren supercar. Sure it beats the competition, but is it really a "game changer" or a fair value?

  • Marc T

    He's on Apple's payroll.  So whatever they produce, he will hail as a game changer.

  • abymoss

    I think not. I too thought maybe some posts were actually sponsored, but maybe Fast Company's house tone is just uncritically upbeat; perhaps focusing on the optimism of innovation rather than any contextual interpretation. Kit Eaton's just the uncritically upbeat FC correspondent assigned to Apple.

    But hey: Fast Company? Some realistic analysis of the environment these innovations occur in would be a welcome development.

  • Jordan Morano

    The retina display is great but overall the new iPad seems like a placeholder while suppliers and technology catches up. I was really excited about the haptic feedback technology that you earlier reported thus was not to be, yet. I'm not going to upgrade from my iPad 2. The haptic feedback display or a small and cheaper model would have both converted me over though. And what about the A6 processor?