After months of rumors and speculations leading to this morning event in San Francisco, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook unveiled the next generation of the most popular tablet on the market. The Cupertino giant sold 172 million post-PC devices in 2011 alone.

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The new iPad (the company did not give new name iPad 3 nor iPad HD as previously rumored), will feature a retina display; 5 MP rear camera; support for 4G LTE networks, and an A5X chip with quad-core graphics.

“In many ways the iPad is reinventing portable computing, and it’s outstripping the wildest of predictions,” Cook  said,

The most highlighted and predictable feature is the  new display includes a resolution of 2048 x 1536 with 3.1 million pixels that doubles the screen of the previous generation.

"To this day, no one has yet matched that display technology on any mobile device," Phil Schiller said of the 2048×1536 display (that works out to 264 pixels per inch). The new A5X chip is meant to excel at graphics, and has four times the performance of NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 chip” said Philip Schiller is Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing

As many users found the camera on the iPad is very useful however the quality has not been on par. Apple just enhanced the new iPad with 5MP illuminated sensor with a 5-element lens; face detection and IR filter. The camera also supported 1080p HD video recording with built-in image stabilization.

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The new iPad along with the new iOS 5.1 brings dictation to data entry with the additional mic key on the soft keyboard. Supported languages will include English (British, Australian, and American), French, German, and Japanese. The much conveyed voice assistance Siri hasn’t yet come this time. 

If you are among mobile users that require connection everywhere, the new iPad also comes with the fast 4G LTE support for AT&T and Verizon network at additional monthly cost. Both 3G/4G connected iPads will also be downward-compatible with 3G  for use on other networks, personal WiFi hotspot feature is available if supported by the carrier. When connected using the power-thirsty 4G network, the battery life will be reduced to 1hr from 9hr.

Pricing hasn’t changed from the previous models  ranging between $499, $599, and $699 for 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB WiFi models, and $629, $729, or $829 for the same hardware with 4G LTE access. Pre-orders will open today and all new iPad models will be available starting March 16 in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and Germany, with 26 more countries to follow on March 23.

The iPad 2’s continue to be avail be with $100 reduction.

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