New iPad and Other Announcements from Apple

Two new devices and a healthy sales report have been touted at the latest Apple press conference.

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San Francisco, CA— “The post-PC revolution,” to many people these words may be an odd, perhaps nonsensical combination, but to Apple they represent the future of technology. At their most recent press event, Apple proclaimed its mobile platforms— the iPod, iPhone, and iPad— the leaders in a wave of technological change that has brought computer tasking and Internet usage away from the desktop and to wherever the user wants it. Because these devices now allow people to browse the web and perform any number of functions once reserved for the personal computer anywhere a 3G, 4G, or WiFi signal is available, the company has put its faith in the convenience and functionality of its new starlets as the heart and soul of future sales and growth.  The numbers certainly seem to support this notion, with 172 million “post PC devices” having been sold by Apple in fiscal 2011, accounting for an astounding 76% of their total revenue.  By itself, the iPad outsold every PC manufacturer’s desktop sales last quarter, moving 15.4 million units (according to Apple, HP was the closest competitor with 15.1 million desktops).

As part of the effort to develop their most popular iOS (Apple’s operating system) equipment, a push toward increased performance and usability of the blossoming iCloud will make it even easier for owners of multiple devices to access their data with each one.  A cloud is a storage space in a remote server which can be accessed and modified by any number of computers or mobile units.  What this means for iOS users is that you can purchase a song from iTunes on your Mac and instantly access it from your iPod or iPhone without needing to transfer any data from one to the other. 

Likewise, a movie can be bought on an iPad and then instantly watched on the new Apple TV (available March 16th).  This latest addition to the Apple TV brand will retail for $99, feature improved compatibility with third party apps (including a newly available Netflix app), and most importantly, will finally support 1080p video.  Now that iTunes will also foster full high definition video, users can completely utilize their HDTV’s when they stream movies from their iCloud through Apple TV. The box itself will also be controllable through a free remote app for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

With the announcement of the new TV box also came a new iPad.  The third generation Apple tablet will feature a 5 megapixel camera which can record 1080p video and, of course, put that video on the iCloud where it can be streamed in its entirety to the Apple TV.  That it can record at such a resolution, however, does not mean that the new iPad will feature a 1080p screen itself; in fact, the device has far exceeded the standard for HDTV by using a 2048x1536 retina display.  This new screen boasts a whopping 3.1 million pixels (that’s 1 million more than a 1080p TV) which the human eye won’t even be able to tell apart from a distance as short as 15 inches.  To support this unsurpassed mobile picture quality, and give the whole device a bit more power, Apple has put in its new A5X quad-core processor which will give double the graphical performance of the iPad 2’s A5 chip. 

For those who don’t want to be tied down to WiFi hotspots, the new iPad will be available in 4G LTE models from both Verizon and AT&T.  4G units will sustain speeds up to 73 mbps— roughly ten times faster than their 3G predecessors. If your provider supports the feature, you will also be able to use the new iPad as a mobile hotspot, connecting up to five other devices to its 4G network.

Like the new Apple TV, the new iPads will be available on March 16th and can already be preordered. A 16 gb WiFi model will retail for $500, a 32 gb for $600, and a 64 gb for $700.  4G versions of each will be available for an additional $130, and the 16 gb iPad 2 will continue to be produced at a $100 price cut.

(Sources: Apple Launches New iPad, Apple TV, iOS Updates)