iPad 3 HD – The Next Generation

I have always been amazed how fast Apple brings new products to market, often before the shine has worn off the previous model.  The iPad is a great example of this (I just bought my wife an iPad2 at Christmas). Apple released the first iPad in April 2010 (yes, only 2 years ago) and went on to sell 3 million of them in 80 days.

The iPad holds the record as the fastest accepted consumer electronic device in history – continuing on to sell 14.8 million iPads worldwide by the end of 2010. This really took everyone by surprise and Apple commanded a 75% market share in the tablet space. Pretty amazing for basically a big iPhone.

13 months later, Apple introduced the iPad2 – a slimmer version with a camera – and sold 500,000 on the day they became available. Launch of the device caused lineups at Apple stores and other retailers around the globe and by the end of last year, Apple sold a staggering 40 million units! If you do the math, that’s over 4,500 iPad2s sold every hour for the entire year.  It’s amazing that they can build that many in a 12 month period.

And here we go again!

12 months after the iPad2 hit the shelves comes the much anticipated iPad 3 or HD (Apple hasn’t decided on a name yet). My wife hasn’t even used all the features on her iPad2 yet, and now it’s already obsolete as the new version hogs all the headlines.

One of the new signature features is the addition of “HD” to the name.  This is referring to the new high definition 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 resolution Retina Display that will be standard on the device. That’s over 3.1 million pixels on this display, the most ever on a mobile device.  This is a big jump over the iPad2’s 1024×768 (QXGA) display. The result is an improved realism for games, videos, photos, and e-books.

The iPad HD will have an updated processor – Apple’s A5x – which is a quad-core ARM-based processor which it will need to drive HD videos full screen. The iPad2 only has a dual core processor which will seem to crawl when compared to the HD. Adding the A6 will undoubtedly affect battery life, but Apple she new iPad delivers 10 hours of battery life. That’s the same as the iPad 2. On 4G, that’s 9 hours of battery life. The HD comes with WiFi of course but Apple has now added a 4G LTE option to the lineup.

The cameras have been updated as well, with the front-facing camera bumped up to HD quality and the rear camera coming closer to iPhone quality. Still, these are great cameras as Apple considers image quality as extremely important.  Poor quality pics will really look bad on the new screen. Video recorded on the new device is, of course, 1080p.

So, in summary, the new iPad has; Retina Display, A5x processor, iSight camera, 1080p HD video, Voice dictation, and 4G LTE. It will be available in 16, 32 and 64 GB models, up to $829 for 54GB on Wifi and 4G. It’s available March 16th. That’s the same pricing as iPad 2. I keep mentioning the screen because it will stun you when you see it and combined with the more powerful quad-core processor , the iPad HD puts Apple solidly ahead of the competition – again. If anyone wants to buy a slightly used iPad2, please let me know!