Apple 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.
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
Other 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")
Apple iPad 2
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Dual-core Apple A5X chip & quad-core graphics processor
Approx. £350 for wi-fi Approx. £450 for wi-fi + 3G
SIM card size
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.
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.