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All you need to know about the new iPad

The third-generation iPad is upon us. And while it's due to go on sale in the US on March 16 with prices starting around US$499, the New Zealand launch date isn't until March 25 (pricing yet to be confirmed).

The new iPadThe third-generation iPad is upon us. And while it went on sale in the US on March 16 with prices starting around US$499, the New Zealand launch date isn't until March 23, with a 16GB wi-fi device to cost $729.

So, what have you got to look forward to?

Known as the new iPad, Apple's newest iteration of the tablet boasts:

* A quad-core A5X processor chip.

* High-definition "retina" display, with four times the number of pixels of the iPad 2, 3.1 million – "so dense that the human eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels when held at a normal distance, making web pages, text, images and video look incredibly sharp and realistic".

* It will work on faster 4G cellular networks as well as the 3G networks that we have  in New Zealand, and act as a 4G hotspot.

* A new 5 megapixel camera on the back, as well as the ability to record full 1080p high-definition video.

* 9.4mm thin.

* 10 hour battery life, or nine hours on 4G.

* Voice dictation for writing messages, taking notes, web search and third-party apps – think Facebook, Instagram etc.

The Washington Post has a handy graphic comparing the various iPad models.

Other new things!!!

Apple also announced the release of the iOS 5.1 operating system, available to download from today.

And it revealed a fresh model of the Apple TV set-top device featuring a new interface and 1080p high-definition resolution, Genius and iCloud.

There's also a brand new iPhoto for iPad, enabling basic photo editing, photo-beaming from device to device and a new collage feature.

Reaction

TechCrunch: "I would love to read books and magazines on the iPad. I’d love to work from it, do my photo editing on it. But reading text and viewing images just wasn’t ever good enough. Now it is. The sharpness is as good as you expect, the device otherwise is more or less the same. Were you hoping for a redesign? That will happen eventually. Don’t be greedy."

TheNextWeb: "I’m stuck wondering what the damn thing is for. By that I mean, is it a gaming device, a reading device, a productivity device, or something else altogether? Or is it simply a hybrid, borne to be something different for everyone?"

CNET: “Remember the first time you saw an HD television? You were probably excited about the future but also a little sad that your current TV's days were numbered. For tablet fans, a glance at the iPad's new screen may offer this same emotional cocktail of envy and loss.”

Engadget: “Apple has managed to produce something that's truly beautiful to look at, and while we've yet to see the full potential of having this many pixels on a 9.7-inch slate, we're guessing a cadre of game developers are already hard at work in order to remedy that. Beyond being dazzling from a density standpoint, colors are sharp and accurate, and viewing angles are predictably ridiculous; even taking a peek from an extreme side angle gives way to a fairly solid image with next to no washout.”