Apple Event Roundup: The New iPad, Updated Apple TV and More

Today’s (March 7th) Apple media event out at the Buena Yerba Center in California brought us some new products from our Cupertino friend.  I’ll give you the recap in the order of excitement.

The New iPad
As speculated we did get a new iPad today. However it is not called the iPad 3, just the new iPad.  I guess Apple marketing folks don’t want to get caught up in an endless numbering scheme. Does this mean we won’t see an iPhone 5?  Will it just be called “the new iPhone?”  We’ll just have to wait and see.  Here are some of the key features.  There are so many write ups on the interwebs that have already sprouted that I don’t need to recap everything.

  • Retina Display – The new screen will come in at 2048 x 1536 which is equivalent to 3.1 million pixels or 265 ppi (pixels per inch).  It has 44% better color saturation than the iPad 2.  To put it into perspective 1080p video is only at 1920 x 1080 resolution.
  • Upgraded Processor – The new processor is called an A5X.  It dual core processing with a 4 core GPU (graphics processing unit).  They are claiming 4 times the video performance of a Tegra 3 chip.
  • iSight Camera – A new back facing camera is 5 megapixels with a 5 element lens and IR (infrared) filter.  This is basically a simliar setup to the iPhone 4S and will allow for full 1080p video recording.
  • Voice Dictation – Now this is not full Siri capability but it is a step in the Siri direction.  You’ll be able to dictate wherever the keyboard is available.
  •  4G LTE – Now this was a prediction I wasn’t sure about but it seems we got it.  The new iPad will now have 21Mbps HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA at 42Mbps, with LTE taking the cake at whopping 73Mbps.  You’ll be able to use 4G LTE on both ATT and Verizon although you’ll have to pick which model (carrier) you want due to actual frequency restrictions. Rogers, Bell and Telus are also North American 4G LTE partners.
  • Hot Spot Capability – If your plan offers tethering you can now make your iPad a WiFi hot spot.
  • Physical specs – 10 hours of battery life in normal use, 9 hours when using 4G LTE (which notably requires much more power) so this is a performance improvement.  The model is 9.4mm thin and weighs 1.4lbs.
  • Price – As expected Apple is keeping the price structure the same for the new iPad.  They are as follows: $499 ($629) – 16 GB, $599 ($729) – 32 GB, $699 ($829) – 64 GB (4G price).
  • iPad 2 Price Decrease – They’re not discontinuing the iPad 2 and they’re reducing the price by $100 to $399 for the base 16 GB WiFi-only model.
  • Availability - Available in one week, March 16th, preorders start today.

This is certainly not revolutionary but there are certainly a number of new features that will make it very desirable for new customers and definitely first generation iPad owners.  I think there’s enough to swing a fair number of iPad 2 owners to buy the new iPad.  The retina display is its biggest selling point along with 4G LTE.  I may be finding myself trying to hock my iPad 2 for a new iPad one of these days.

3rd Generation Apple TV

This wasn’t a big change at all but there is a new generation Apple TV.  I almost went out and bought one two weeks ago.  I’m glad I read the rumor mill and held out.  I really wanted it for airplay capability and they’ve done nothing to change my mind.  Here are some of the new features.

  • 1080p Support – 1080p streaming of movies from iTunes
  • New Interface – Still not basic iOS interface, but easier to use.  It is also available now for 2nd generation owners.
  • Price – Apple has maintained it at $99 dollars which makes it very accessible to the masses
  • Availability – Pre-order now, available on March 16th.

iOS 5.1

A new version of the iOS has been released as of today.  A complete list of features is below. Most notable is the ATT network indicator.  If you remember when the iPhone 4S came out it shipped with a chip capable of HSPA+ which according the ATT is 4G.  Once you upgrade and you’re in that network coverage area you’ll see your phone indicate it’s on a 4G network.  Now this isn’t the 4G LTE I talked about above and your speed won’t change, but you are getting one more G (not the $$ kind) on your phone.  I’m downloading the update (albeit slowly because the servers are swamped) right now.  I live in an area that is supposedly 4G so I’ll let you know if I get that extra G.

  • Japanese language support for Siri (availability may be limited during initial rollout)
  • Photos can now be deleted from Photo Stream
  • Camera shortcut now always visible on Lock Screen for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch (4th generation)
  • Camera face detection now highlights all detected faces
  • Redesigned Camera app for iPad
  • Genius Mixes and Genius playlists for iTunes Match subscribers
  • Audio for TV shows and movies on iPad optimized to sound louder and clearer
  • Podcast controls for playback speed and a 30 second rewind for iPad
  • Updated ATT network indicator
  • Addresses bugs affecting battery life
  • Fixes an issue that occasionally caused audio to drop for outgoing callsn

One notable app update is that they finally made iPhoto available on iOS devices.  It costs $4.99 and looks pretty cool.  Last but not least was an upgrade to iTunes in the cloud and the fact that it now supports streaming 1080p movies.  This’ll go well with your new apple TV.

That’s it out of today’s event.  I’ll keep you posted on more Apple updates.  Happy spring shopping!