Good things come in threes — but do insanely great things?
Apple execs took the stage at an event in California Wednesday to unveil the third iteration of the companys wildly popular iPad tablet, which features a stunning new high-resolution display that could rival a home television set.
“You all have an HDTV at home, 1080p — an iPad has more pixels. That’s incredible,” said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at the unveiling. No other mobile gadget has yet matched that display power, Schiller said.
“We’re going to bring it to the 9.7-inch screen of the iPad. This presents a problem for us though … for the first time an iPad has a higher resolution than even the display behind me,” he said.
Just dont call it the iPad HD. Or the iPad 3, for that matter. Schiller, CEO Tim Cook, and the various Apple execs who took the stage never named the newest member of the family.
They were quick to tout the benefits of its new features, however: The evolved and improved screen should make text look smoother and some high-resolution pictures look better. But it probably wont make much of a difference for images on the Web, or video. Still, the result should be absolutely gorgeous.
The other big improvement: 4G wireless connectivity thanks to the so-called LTE network, which will allow the iPad to use faster wireless networks from AT&T and Verizon.
The new product also sports a substantially more powerful processor called the A5X chip — the X short for quad core graphics power built into the processor, Schiller said.
Not everything is new and improved, however: The new iPad will look almost exactly like the earlier models, at 9.4mm thick and 1.5 pounds in weight. It will also come at the same price as earlier models: $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB.
The wireless models will cost $629, $729, and $829. All models will be on sale in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and other countries on Fri., March 16, the company said.
To entice even more iConsumers, Schiller announced a price drop for the iPad 2, which will sell for $100 less and start at $399.
Before announcing the iPad, Cook took the stage to unveil a new version of the Apple TV — though it still carries the old $99 price. The new version of the product, a rectangular hockey puck that stream Internet video to your television, adds a handful of new features, including support for Photostream to automatically display images from your iPhone, and will allow users access to TV shows the day after they air.
The new device supports the higher resolution 1080p specification and has a new user interface. It will be available March 16.
The announcement of a new iPad was the main event, however.
Apple shipped 15.4 million iPads last quarter alone, CNET reported. By contrast, HP shipped 15.1 million PCs worldwide in the same timeframe.
The company opened its presentation by noting how so-called “post PC” devices were a major source of revenues for Apple these days. Mobile devices made up 76 percent of revenues last year, on sales of 172 million iPads, iPhones and iPods. Apple has cumulatively sold 315 million devices running IOS, its mobile-device operating system, the company said.
“Any company would be thrilled to have just one of these devices,” Cook said. “At Apple were fortunate to have all three.”