The new iPad 3: Everything you should know

ipad-3-resolutionary

Earlier today, Apple wrapped up its press conference detailing what we thought would be called the iPad 3. The new tablet is the same size and shape as its predecessors, but changes a lot of things under the hood. For quick information on the new tablet, check out our news recap. But if you have a bit of time, we’ve compiled a more comprehensive list of things you should know about Apple’s next hot device.

It’s not an iPad 3. It’s “The new iPad”

The first thing that confused us is the name. Instead of going with the name iPad 3 or iPad HD, Apple has gone back to the basics and is simply calling this the ‘iPad,’ or “The new iPad.” While this naming convention is sure to confuse and annoy us geeks and press people of the world who must write about “The new iPad” everyday, it shouldn’t mean much to you (unless you’re one of us!). It’s a third-generation iPad. 

Same size and design

While it’s called the new iPad, it looks exactly like the old iPad. The new device has the same exact design and nearly identical dimensions as the iPad 2, though it’s slightly fatter (9.4mm vs. 8.8mm) and slightly heavier (652g vs. 601g) due to the larger internal battery needed to run the ‘resolutionary’ screen you’re about to read up on.

It’s Resolutionary!

ipad-3-retina-display

We can’t imagine Steve Jobs approving a word like ‘Resolutionary,’ but that is how Apple is describing the new iPad’s screen. It is still 9.7 inches (diagonally), but the new screen packs 2047×1536 pixels, or twice the resolution of the iPad 2. While this resolution is essentially the 3:4 aspect ratio equivalent of the widescreen 1080p (1920x1080px) format, Apple is right to tout that an iPad packs many more pixels than even 1080p devices do. Supposedly this will improve the viewing experience dramatically, as demonstrated by Apple many times, though we played with a high-resolution Asus Transformer Infinity recently and didn’t notice too much of a leap. However, that was not iOS and not an iPad.

Apple is also bringing back the term “Retina display,” which was used to describe the 960×640 pixel resolution of the iPhone 4 and 4S. However, the scale for what constitutes a “retina display” has slid downward with the marketing. While the iPhone 4 has a 326ppi (Pixels Per Inch) display, which means that a normal person (said Steve Jobs) wouldn’t be able to distinguish pixels at 10 inches away). The new iPad may have a much higher resolution, but it’s also a much larger screen, giving it a 264 ppi. At that rate, you would have to hold the iPad 15 inches away (we think) to not notice any pixelation. Is it a Retina display? We don’t know, but it’s still probably the best one on the market.

Quad-core graphics (but not processing)

Like many of the upcoming high-end Android smartphones and tablets, the new iPad will have a quad-core processor in it, and in true Apple fashion, it is a custom chip built by the Cupertino company itself. Strangely though, it’s not the main processor that’s quad-core: it’s the graphic processor (GPU). The central processing unit (CPU) is likely still dual-core, but Apple is deceptively pushing the entire tablet as a quad-core device. If we were to follow Apple’s logic, then all Android devices running the quad-core Tegra 3 processor would actually be labeled as 12-core devices, since that’s how many cores are in the Tegra 3 GPU. 

Marketing lingo aside, no specific specs on its clockspeed or capabilities are yet known, but Apple showed off some impressive new games by Namco and Epic during its press conference and claimed that the iPad now had power comparable to gaming consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360. Without knowing more, we can’t necessarily disagree. 

As for the rest of the tablets relevant hardware specifications, we know that it will still come with either 16, 32, or 64GB of internal storage, we are guessing it has 1GB of RAM, and it has an audio headphone jack and standard Apple charging and dock port. Sorry guys, still no microSD or Micro USB. The camera is quite nice though.

Be sure to check out our full spec comparison between the new iPad, iPad 2, Asus Transformer Prime, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

iSight for all

ipad-3-isight-camera

The name is cheesy, but if you compare the new iPad camera to that of the iPad 2, it looks like it will be an entirely new experience. The iPad 2 had a cheap and crappy camera, but Apple has integrated what appears to be the same rear camera as the iPhone 4S (and it’s nice) into its new tablet. It can take photos at 5 megapixels, record video at 1080p and has other standard features like autofocus and tap to focus. Unfortunately, there is no flash and the front-facing camera is still VGA (640×480 pixels), meaning Apple isn’t making many upgrades to enhance FaceTime.

The iPhone 4S camera is probably the best smartphone camera around, which is why this announcement is particularly exciting. Combined with the high resolution of the new iPad’s screen, this camera could do some cool things. To celebrate, Apple is releasing a few new apps as well.

iOS 5.1

If you own an iPhone 4S, you’ve used iOS 5.1. In this update, Apple added support for iCloud, which syncs up your files and backs them up remotely as well as a number of other enhancements like an app notification tray (a la Android) and other small enhancements like Twitter integration, AirPlay mirroring, and iMessage. 

iPhoto joins iMovie, iWork, and GarageBand

ipad-3-iphoto

Apple has developed a new app called iPhoto, designed to work in conjunction with the new iSight camera on the iPad. This app allows users to edit their photos, and easily tweak color, exposure, and contrast among other things. You can also use your fingers like “brushes” and adjust small details of your photos, then share them straight to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or iCloud. AirPlay Beaming is also supported. iPhoto will cost $5 and will be available soon.

Updated versions of iMovie, iWork, and GarageBand will be released with a few new features each. Check out our New iPad apps rundown for more information. 

Siri: No, but how about voice dictation?

Rumors pointed toward Siri being released for iPad, but it looks like Apple isn’t ready for that just yet. The new iPad will not come with Apple’s favorite little assistant, but it will have a new button on the keyboard allowing for voice dictation. This feature should be fairly straightforward, assuming it works well. You talk and the iPad types what you say.

It’s got the 4Gs

iPad-3-touchingWi-Fi is great and 3G does the job, but if you want a fast connection anywhere, 4G LTE is the best option (assuming it’s in your area, of course). The new iPad will have models starting at $630 that support 4G LTE on both Verizon and AT&T. Unfortunately, when you purchase a new iPad, you will have to specify whether you want an AT&T or Verizon model. Because the two carriers use different LTE bands (technical jargon you don’t really need to know), you won’t be able to switch from AT&T to Verizon. Your iPad will be locked in. A cheaper Wi-Fi model will also be available, as usual.

(Note: From what we gather, the 4G models will also be compatible on 3G networks.)

Battery life: 10 hours

Previous iPads have had 10 hour battery life (9 hours on 3G), and Apple is maintaining that standard on the new iPad, despite its battery draining high-resolution screen, quad-core processor, and 4G LTE connectivity. This is possible because the battery is a bit larger, pushing the thickness of the new iPad from 8.8mm to 9.4mm. We welcome the girth and doubt most users will notice much difference.

New iPad, same price

The new iPad is also maintaining the same $500 – $830 pricing scheme that all previous models have adhered to. If you want a 16GB Wi-Fi-only iPad, it will cost $500; 32GB will run you $600; 64GB will run you $700; and if you want 4G LTE, add $130 to the price. For those seeking a discount, we suggest checking out the iPad 2.

iPad 2 now $400

As it has done with some iPhone models, Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2 Wi-Fi and 3G models for a discounted $400. It may be just clearing out inventory or it may plan to sell the old iPad for a longer duration of time, possibly to combat cheap Android tablets. We aren’t sure. If you don’t care as much about screen resolution, cool games, photo editing, 4G LTE, or taking fancy pictures, then the iPad 2 may be a good option for you.

How to get it

Apple has already opened pre-orders for the new iPad, which you can find by visiting apple.com/ipad/. Your new iPad will ship on March 16. (Be warned, the purchasing site seems to be going up and down. The site is likely being bombarded with hundreds of thousands of pre-orders.)

Product Review

Garmin’s 4G LTE VivoActive 3 keeps you safe when you’re out on the trails

Garmin takes its already great VivoActive 3 Music fitness smartwatch and adds a 4G LTE connection, courtesy of Verizon. The watch now has streaming music, independent GPS, and best of all, SMS support and various safety features. We’ve…
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Deals

Save over $350 on the Refurbished iPad 4 for a limited time

Looking to buy an iPad without having to pay that iPad price? For a limited time, you can pick up a refurbished iPad 4 for as low as $137. That's $363 less than you would pay for something brand new.
Mobile

Apple’s iPad lineup is confusing. We break it all down for you

Trying to decide which iPad is right for you is a chore. What generation is the latest iPad? Which ones have been updated and which ones are collecting dust? Check out our iPad guide and we’ll break it down.
Computing

Should you buy the affordable MacBook Air, or is the MacBook Pro worth the price?

Though they both share Retina Displays and similar keyboards, there are still some specs differences and other changes that differentiate the new 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In this guide, we stack the two up against each other.
Mobile

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Mobile

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.
Apple

Apple may be developing a new iPod Touch to woo younger users

Apple may be developing its first new iPod touch model since 2015 as it aims to capture younger users who are not yet ready for their own smartphone, and expand its overall listening base in the future.
Mobile

The iPhone XS Battery Case's battery has a smaller capacity than previous cases

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.
Mobile

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Mobile

Having trouble logging in? Here’s how to reset your Apple ID password

To use any of Apple's services, you need to have an Apple ID and know your password. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with forgotten passwords and regain access to your account. Here's how to reset your Apple ID password.
Mobile

Turn to these apps to help you in your next hunt for a job

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, but these days, a simple mobile app can help you to find and apply for jobs all over the country -- here are some of the best job search apps for iOS and Android.
Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.