Knowledge Base

Apple’s new "iPad 3": High-Resolution Retina Display & Improved Camera

grand master

New iPad.jpgApple announced the latest version of their iPad tablet PC yesterday evening. Officially called the ‘iPad’ rather than the iPad 3 or the iPad HD as was widely expected, the long-awaited successor to the iPad 2 adds a high-resolution “Retina” display and a 5 megapixel camera.


Despite the official name of the new iPad simply being "iPad", the "iPad 3" is likely to stick as a nickname to distinguish the new third-generation iPads from first-generation iPads which were released in 2010.


Retina Display


The new iPad “Retina” display packs 2048x1536 pixels into the familiar 9.7-inch form factor seen on previous iPads. This is 4 times as many pixels as found on the original iPad and the iPad 2 (both had a screen resolution of 1024x768) meaning that the new "iPad 3" should offer better image quality and sharper, easier-to-read text.


The sharpness and clarify of a mobile phone display is often measured in pixels per inch or ppi. The “Retina” display of the new "iPad 3" has 263 pixels per inch. This compares to 132ppi on the older iPad 2 and the original iPad and 149ppi on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. As a comparison to popular smartphones, the iPhone 4S features a 326ppi “Retina” display, the Samsung Galaxy Note features a 285ppi display and the Nokia Lumia 800 features a 252 ppi display. Whilst the new iPad’s 263ppi display doesn’t quite match that of the iPhone 4S, it is comparable in quality to the displays found on most top smartphones.


Just like the original iPad, the new "iPad 3" uses LCD technology for its display.


5 megapixel camera, 4G connectivity & Form Factor


iPad Photos.jpgOther key additions to the new "iPad 3" include a 5 megapixel backward-facing camera. This replaces the 0.7-megapixel camera found in the iPad 2 and should lead to better quality, sharper photographs. The lack of a LED flashlight makes it tricky to take photos in low light conditions, but there shouldn’t be any issues taking photos outdoors and during the day.


The new "iPad 3" also comes with support for fourth-generation 4G (LTE) connectivity. This doesn’t affect us here in the UK as 4G networks are not yet available – in the UK, the new iPad will fall back to 3G connectivity as before. As before, the iPad is available in two editions: one edition with 3G and one edition without 3G. Both editions of the iPad feature wi-fi connectivity.


In terms of the form factor, the higher resolution display on the new iPad makes it a little thicker than the iPad 2 (9.4mm instead of 8.8mm). Aside from this, the new iPad has the same dimensions and form factor as the iPad 2.


Finally, the new "iPad 3" features the latest version of the iOS operating system, version 5.1. This adds voice recognition capabilities into the keyboard – using these capabilities the new iPad is able to transcribe your spoken voice into text. The Siri virtual assistant is not supported however – Siri is only available on the iPhone 4S.


Apple’s new iPad: Comparison to Apple iPad 2 & Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1


The addition of a Retina display to the new iPad means it has a much higher screen resolution and higher pixel density when compared to other tablet PCs. With its 2048x1536 display, the new iPad is able to support full high definition video (1920x1080) without downscaling and the loss of quality. Compared to the display on the iPad 2, the new iPad’s display features 4 times as many pixels. Compared to the Galaxy Tab 10.1, the new iPad features 3 times as many pixels on its display.


With the launch of the new iPad, Apple is keeping the iPad 2 available to consumers as a lower cost option. The new iPad is priced at £499 with 3G connectivity and £399 without 3G connectivity (both editions have wi-fi connectivity). The older iPad 2 drops in price to £429 with 3G connectivity and £329 without 3G connectivity.



New Apple iPad ("iPad 3")

 New iPad.jpg

Apple iPad 2


Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.jpg


Dual-core Apple A5X chip &
quad-core graphics processor

1GHz dual-core Apple A5 chip

1GHz dual-core


9.7-inch TFT display

9.7-inch TFT display

10.1-inch TFT display

Screen Resolution




Pixel density

263 pixels per inch (ppi)

132 pixels per inch

149 pixels per inch

Operating System

Apple iOS 5.1

Apple iOS 4 (iOS 5 via upgrade)

Google Android 3.1 (Honeycomb)


16GB/32GB/64GB internal memory

16GB/32GB/64GB internal memory

16GB/32GB/64GB internal memory


5 megapixels

0.7 megapixel

3 megapixel with LED flash

Video recording

1080p, 30 frames per second

720p, 30 frames per second

720p, 30 frames per second


TBC mAh (10 hours use)

6,930mAh (10 hours use)


Text Input

On-screen software keyboard or hardware keyboard dock (extra cost)

On-screen software keyboard or hardware keyboard dock (extra cost)

On-screen software keyboard or hardware keyboard dock (extra cost)

Approx. price

£399 for wi-fi
£499 for wi-fi + 3G

£329 for wi-fi
£429 for wi-fi + 3G

Approx. £350 for wi-fi
Approx. £450 for wi-fi + 3G

SIM card size

Micro SIM

Micro SIM

Standard SIM


Using the new iPad on giffgaff


The new third-generation iPad will be available in the UK from the 16th March.


If you’re looking to use the new iPad on giffgaff, you’ll need the version of the iPad with 3G capabilities and a giffgaff micro-SIM. The most appropriate tariff is one of the giffgaff gigabags – these tariffs start from £5/month for 500MB of internet.


Your thoughts…


What do you think of the new iPad? Were you pleased with the addition of a higher-resolution Retina display or were you expecting more from Apple? Do you currently use an iPad or do you prefer one of the tablets on the Android operating system?


We’d love to hear your thoughts: drop us a comment below and let us know what you think of the new iPad.


Ken Lo writes about mobile technology and the mobile industry at Ken's Tech Tips.


I thought Steve Jobs said you needed 300 ppi pixel density to be be a "Retina Display"?


Nice piece of kit but out of my price range for the time being.


@vorb - the quality is related to both pixels per inch and typical viewing distance. Supposedly tablets are held on average a bit further away than iPhones - so Apple will say that across the same field of view there will be just as many pixels.


Interesting thought that we may have already arrived at the point where further resolution improvements are not visible to the typical mk1 eyeball...


grand master

Thanks for all the lovely comments!


@andy0 The new iPad supports LTE technology which is true 4G - the HSPA+ technology that you mention will offer speeds of up to 42Mbit/s in the UK later this year but is actually 3G technology (branded as 4G by some US networks). However, as @darrenpainter mentions, the new iPad only supports LTE on US frequencies so we're unlikely to be able to use it here in the UK anyway once LTE does launch.


@vorb Like @cim mentioned, it depends on "typical viewing distance". The thing is that "Retina display" is really just a marketing term: as I mentioned in the article there are smartphones such as the Galaxy Note & Galaxy Nexus with a higher ppi display, but neither are branded as "Retina".


it looks nice! make a good deal with the bags and it will be awsome 


@kenlo wrote:


@andy0 The new iPad supports LTE technology which is true 4G - the HSPA+ technology that you mention will offer speeds of up to 42Mbit/s in the UK later this year but is actually 3G technology (branded as 4G by some US networks). However, as @darrenpainter mentions, the new iPad only supports LTE on US frequencies so we're unlikely to be able to use it here in the UK anyway once LTE does launch. 


You seem to be partly contradicting yourself there, but even so you're making my point for me.


Don't even mention 4g to potential UK customers of this device, that's what I'm saying.


ipad 3 sick

It does look pretty good, apart from 4G LTE which doesn't even exist here yet. I can't wait to compare the retina display On the new iPad to my iPhone Smiley Happy

 5G (5th generation mobile networks or 5th generation wireless systems) is a name used in some research papers and projects to denote the next major phase of mobile telecommunications standards beyond the 4G/IMT-Advanced standards effective since 2011. At present, 5G is not a term officially used for any particular specification or in any official document yet made public by telecommunication companies or standardization bodies such as 3GPPWiMAX Forum, or ITU-R. New standard releases beyond 4G are in progress by standardization bodies, but are at this time not considered as new mobile generations but under the 4G umbrella.

There isn't any 4g in the world. What some Americans call 4g is about the same sort of speed as the HSDPA we already have,  or slower in some cases, with 1 to 8 megabits a second in various tests. Even then, the fastest American network seems to be Verizon, and this is CDMA not GSM, and on different frequency bands not even licensed here yet, so it would be misleading to describe this as 4g there



@ABC, Australia wrote:


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) went to court in Melbourne on Wednesday alleging that Apple misled the Australian public with its launch of the new iPad by claiming that it was 4G-compatible. 


I say again, it is not 4g


I notice that there are already several threads on this forum from actual or would-be owners heckling giffgaff or O2 or Ofcom about when they can use 4g on this device.


Even when the UK gets 4g, the iPad 3 won't use the same frequency bands a here in the device version currently on sale. 


It seems that after backing down in Australia, Apple's 4g marketing is under investigation by consumer or advertising bodies in Denmark Sweden and New Zealand as well as the UK. 


The 700 MHz band of the curent iPad's 4g cannot be used here. Even after the TV switchover to digital is complete and some frequencies are released from the top of the TV band allocation, there will still be TV channels on 700 to 800 MHz here. Only channels 63 to 68 are going, and ch. 62 is centred at 802 MHz