In what was arguably the most anticipated technology announcement of 2012 so far, Apple has today announced a new iPad with a retina display matching the iPhone 4 display, a new Apple TV with 1080p support and an update to iOS, version 5.1, which will bring Japanese support to Siri, Apple’s own voice-commanded personal assistant.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO since August 2011, took to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco just after 10:00 am local time and, after rattling off a few sales figures for Apple devices, began with the presentation that tech journalists and members of the public had been waiting for. There had been frantic rumours circulating around in the tech world about what new features the iPad 3/HD/2S would sport, and now was the time for Cook to put the lid on them all.
Read on for a complete roundup of all the announcements from today’s keynote.
A New iPad, with retina display, a new camera and 4G LTE support
The most anticipated product to be announced was the latest reincarnation of the iPad dubbed simply “The New iPad”. This version sports a 2048 x 1536 retina display with a resolution of 264 ppi (pixels per inch), matching the display seen on the iPhone 4 and 4S and has improved colour saturation from its predecessor, the iPad 2, meaning that colours are rendered deeper and clearer.
The new features didn’t just stop at the new, beefed-up display. The new iPad will sport an A5X processor with a quad-core graphics chip, giving it enough processing power to render the most resource-hungry of games and applications (which Apple was keen to demonstrate along with the announcement). The A5X will, Apple claims, deliver 4 times the graphics processing power of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, which was launched last year and graces devices such as the ASUS Transformer Prime.
More features included an improved 5-megapixel camera, capable of shooting 1080p video and a brand-new dictation key allowing the user to dictate text directly to the iPad. Many users were hoping for Siri integration into the new release (as in the iPhone 4S), however sadly we didn’t get to see it this time round.
The new iPad finally added 4G LTE support, allowing for download speeds of up to 73 Mbps on compatible networks (such as AT&T and Verizon in the United States) and also supports HSPA+, allowing for download speeds of up to 21 Mbps, which may appeal more to European consumers, where LTE technology has not made great strides.
The new iPad is available for pre-order on the Apple store, ready for delivery on 16th March, with models starting from $499.
A New Apple TV
The first new product to be launched was an updated Apple TV, which features support for 1080p video, a new interface bearing a greater resemblance to iOS and a wealth of new apps (for example access to your Photo Stream in iCloud).
Your movies can now be stored on iCloud (allowing playback on all your iOS devices) and Genius now provides recommendations for movies, meaning you can discover more movies to your taste a lot easier.
The new Apple TV is priced at $99 and, like the new iPad, will be released on 16th March.
iOS 5.1 released worldwide
Just after the announcement ended, iOS 5.1 was released for all iOS devices, which brought, along with the usual bug fixes, Japanese support for Siri and the ability to access the camera directly from the lock screen. You can get it by heading over to “Software Update” on your iOS device or by connecting it to iTunes.
Find out more!
We certainly were excited about today’s announcement (despite the fact there was nothing really for the Mac) and with the touted iPhone 5 and a complete refresh of the MacBook Pro line (which may bring along retina displays for Macs, an absolute dream), it seems like 2012 really is going to be a fantastic year for Apple.
For more coverage on the new iPad, head over to our neighbours, iPad AppStorm, where they will be reviewing the new iPad in full in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, as always, share your thoughts in the comments section below. Did Apple succumb to your expectations? Or were you left a little disappointed? We’d love to hear from you!