Third-generation iPad has retina display, LTE and quad-core graphics processor

Apple CEO Tim Cook attempts to balance a giant iPad on his head. Photo: Robert Galbrath/Reuters

Apple's third-generation iPad, announced today in San Francisco, has an ultra-HD 2048x1536 display, an A5X chip with "quad-core graphics", HD video recording at 1080p, and access to LTE cellular networks operated by AT&T and Verizon.

"Everyone's been wondering who will come out with a product that's more amazing that the iPad 2," Apple CEO Tim Cook told gathered reporters. "Stop wondering. We are."

The new screen meets the requirements of what Apple describes as a "Retina" display: pixels so small and dense that the eye cannot distinguish them individually at a normal viewing distance. Cook, presenting the new gadget, said that the new display offered 40 percent better color saturation.

With a new 5-megapixel sensor and a custom image processor, the iPad's camera matches the specs of the iPhone 4S's 4's (the 4S's camera is 8 megapixel). On the software front, Apple pitched a new voice dictation service; part of iOS 5.1, released today.

More exciting to iPad-toting photographers is mobile iPhoto, which has a swipe-driven interface, photo journals, editing brushes, filters, and a tool to "beam" pictures between devices. Musicians can now collaborate in Garage Band over Wi-Fi, too, and gamers will get faster, more detailed 3D titles--demoed was the new version of hit beat-em-up Infinity Blade.

The new iPad's design is superficially similar to the last model. Though a fraction thicker than the previous generation--perhaps due to the LTE chipsets and increased battery requirements--it remains less than a centimeter thick. Pricing was largely unchanged: a basic 16GB Wi-Fi model with no cellular radio will cost $499, as before. The 4G models, however, start at $629.

The last-gen iPad drops in price to $399: though the machine is old news, the bargain price will be painful for rival tablet-makers like Samsung and Sony, already struggling to catch up.

Also announced was a new version of Apple TV, the hockey puck-sized box that streams movies and shows over iTunes. Improvements include 1080p and a new user interface. The price remains $99.

Earlier, Cook highlighted changes in Apple's business over recent years, illustrating a trend away from personal computers and toward portable gadgets. "Post-PC" devices, such as cellphones and tablets running iOS, now account for 76 percent of Apple's revenues. It sold more than 172m of them last year, many at Apple's expanding chain of 362 retail stores.


  1. Other than the hi-res screen and iOS this is pretty much comparable with current Android tablet offerings as best I can tell. This is a catch up rather than a leap ahead.

      1. I don’t think that’s what he meant. Apple does a better job marketing itself and it’s technology. Android has been offering customizations that far exceeds the ipad. Most Android tabs have expandable memory. Plus the notice updates and widgets are awesome. Apple is nice if you enjoy a extremely closed system. 

        1.  Or an OS that’s actually enjoyable to use. 
          I’ve never had an Apple computer and likely never will (in fact, I never owned Apple anything till my iphone 3gs which I upgraded this year to the 4s)), but the ipad and the iphones are so much nicer to use than the comparable (copied from apple) tablets and smartphones, it’s not even funny. 
          I can’t stand the clunky interface on the competitors.  The closest to be sort of nice was the HP, but it still lagged behind the ipad.

      2.  I meant that the iPad was a huge leap and there were no comparisons. iPad2 there were some comparables but was still a (small) leap forward. This new iPad doesn’t have the same leap ahead as the prior ones did, they really just are releasing something to just match the competition

        1. What is this I don’t even. Are you claiming, with a straight face, that the iPad 3 is less of an upgrade over the iPad 2 than iPad 2 was over the original?

        2. While I agree with you in part (it’s not a huge upgrade on the face of it) this is still the upgrade that was needed for me to buy one.

          I do think that this massive resolution change is super important, though. It just makes the iPad so much better for documents (and for video, of course) that I actually think that it would be a worthwhile evolution even if it were ONLY the resolution upgrade.
          Add in a much more powerful processor and camera upgrade and colour me happy.

    1. Having used several Android tablets, I gotta say it’s no contest.  Horrible UI, sluggish performance, terrible selection of apps… Apple has nothing to worry about.

      1. So, Apple Fanb– or… those who prefer Apple tablets – did Android copy Apple’s UI or is it a horrible UI? Or both? make up your minds.

        1. Copying never leads to good interfaces…. it’s funny that.

          Copying often only applies to the surface without following the same design philosophy/concept or even not understanding the design philosophy (I think in the case of Android that it is the former. The Android designers are quite competent but wanted to shoehorn other concepts into an interface that isn’t designed for that.)

          The same happens in the other direction too. Apple lacked a proper notification centre, so they looked at other people’s solutions and made something similar. Not too bad, but the way it integrates with the rest of iOS sucks, because it’s not truly integrated in the design. Invisible when closed, non-tech users don’t discover it except by accident. 

          So you can copy the best design in the world almost perfectly and make something that sucks. Android doesn’t suck, btw, but has shown that some parts are rough and not fully integrated. That’s both UI issues and the technical stuff (such as graphics acceleration). These little rough edges end up being the difference between pretty damn good on the one hand, and amazing on the other. It’s what users notice, and ends up sending them to an Apple store.
          The only people I know who truly love their Android phones (yeah, phones, went away from the tablets there) are people who truly believe in the OSS concept. Most of the others now have an iPhone because of the little niggles (not all of which have really been android’s fault. Some have been because of underpowered crap phones and others have been because of stupid manufacturer customisations).

      1. Guess I’ll answer my own question…  it looks like the jury is still out on which is best.


  2. Seriously?  Yet another “post-PC era” or “death of the PC” claim?

    I have both an iPad and a PlayBook.  I use the PlayBook every day for reading, watching the occasional movie, or streaming the Daily Show.  It’s a great way to take my documents with me on the road.

    Yet I still use my PC as much as ever.  A tablet won’t replace a PC for word processing, spreadsheets or accounting systems, or professional graphics and photo editing, or programming environments.  Yes, such programs exist for tablets, but they’re no substitute for having a keyboard, mouse and large screen.

    A tablet complements a PC.  It doesn’t replace it.

    1. A tablet complements a PC.  It doesn’t replace it.

      Your anecdotal experience doesn’t apply to the majority.  Give it a few more years and watch what happens.  Most people will gravitate to only using smartphones and tablets (with bluetooth keyboards and external displays).

      By the way, smartphones are outselling computers nowadays.

      You best start believing in a mobile world. You’re in one.

      1. I don’t know, but I think it’s gonna be a while before I give up on a keyboard and a big screen when working at home.  When I’m writing, photoshopping, or editing audio/video, I feel claustrophobic and sensory-deprived on a tablet.  I can see tablets replacing the 2nd, and 3rd home computer, but not the first.  Not yet anyway.

        1. Yeah, but you do computer based work at home. Most people don’t even work that much on a computer at work and use the computer only for “the internet” and for music, movies and letting their children play games and draw stuff.

          1. I do computer-based work at home, at production sites, in hospitals, in school, and at others’ workplaces. I have no problem with tablet or pocket computers, for certain applications. But they’re not useful for many others. I don’t see desktops disappearing, but blending with televisions in the home.

        2. I can see tablets replacing the 2nd, and 3rd home computer, but not the first. Not yet anyway.

          I, nor Apple, have said that tablets are replacing all computers right now. I, and Apple, have said mobile devices will replace most computers in the near future. And, it’s already happening (hence, this is the beginning of the post-PC era). That does NOT mean that every single last human on planet earth will no longer touch nor see a PC. They will just not be the most prevalent devices used for general computing by the masses. Capisce?

          I hope this ends the confusion. Otherwise, you can read my previous post again more slowly. As I said, in a few more years most people (not all) will gravitate towards using mobile devices to replace their desktop computers and larger laptops. It’s already happening now. One only has to look at the facts.


          1. Don’t get snarky; it’s unbecoming.
            A desktop is a PC, as is a big laptop, little laptop, netbook, tablet, pad, and smartphone.  They’re all personal computers. 

            As to the future of desktops, I expect them to decline in number, but I don’t see tablets replacing laptops.  I spend most of my time with 20-something college students.  Most seem to use laptops at home and tablets or smartphones out in the wild world.  In the library and labs, they use desktops and laptops. 
            Personally I use desktops, a laptop, a netbook, and a smart phone.  I also have different sized cooking pans because one format is not enough.

          2. I don’t see tablets replacing laptops.

            They already are and, once again, no one is saying that all laptops will disappear off the earth. But, once again, the majority of users will (and already are) gravitating towards tablets.

            The only thing holding consumers back was power/price and that threshold is being crossed as we speak.

            Tablets will evolve to have keyboards slide out, etc., but they’ll still be thin, light and touchscreen. They’ll be tablets… that replace laptops… for most people. Once again… it’s already happening as we speak.

            Many people (but not most) like me will still want more powerful laptops, etc. and they’ll still be around. But tablets and smartphones will be the most prevalent devices.

      2. Add an external keyboard and display to a tablet so that that smartphone or tablet is just a CPU, and you don’t have a tablet any more.  You have a PC.

        And yes, I believe in a mobile world.  I have a Playbook, an iPad and a Blackberry smartphone.  I’ve had a series of Windows Mobile and Palm PDAs and smartphones.  Even before my US Robotics Pilot I had a series of palm-top organizers and computers.  And I’ve owned several laptops.

        Alas,  for getting work done, none of these replace a machine with a full size display, full-size keyboard, and a mouse.  Again, they do a wonderful job of complementing it though.

        YOUR anecdotal experience doesn’t apply to the majority.

        1. YOUR anecdotal experience doesn’t apply to the majority.

          You may want to look up the word anecdotal in a dictionary.

          Ironically, YOU are the one applying your own anecdotal experience to others, not me.  I’m basing my opinion upon statistics and research.  (i.e., smartphones are outselling computers)

          I personally use a laptop and will be using a laptop for my work for years to come.  But, if I am to look at reality (with facts) the majority of folks (who are not you and me) will be using tablets in the future no matter how threatened you are by this idea.

          Add an external keyboard and display to a tablet so that that smartphone or tablet is just a CPU, and you don’t have a tablet any more.  You have a PC.

          Trite semantic arguments are the last refuge of someone who doesn’t want to admit they’re wrong.

          Sure, everything is a Personal Computer including a smartphone nowadays.  But, in this day and age, we still call tablets “mobile computers” and still call them “tablets” whether you carry around a bluetooth accessory with it or not.  Unless we are to be trite and only use your anecdotal definition, that is.

          Also, in the very near future… cheap, external displays will be extremely thin, low power, high res and portable as well.


          Don’t worry, no one is going to take our laptops and desktops away from us.  It’s just that average people who only need internet access, basic computing, photo management and printing are going to switch to tablets.

          Don’t panic.

    2. It doesn’t replace it for absolutely everybody but it can happily replace it for most people.

  3. No “3” or “HD”, is that a stab at the tech press who ripped the iPhone 4S for not being called “iPhone 5”?

    From the looks of Apple’s iPad web page, the name is really just “iPad”. The “new” seems to be a temporary adjective. Kind of amusingly odd the “iPad 2” is now the low-end model and the “iPad” is the cutting-edge device.

  4. Correction: the new iPad’s sensor does *not* match the specs of the iPhone 4S. The 4S has an 8MP sensor; the new iPad has a 5MP sensor.

    1.  Do you mean as a desktop monitor? I saw a 4kish monitor at a microsoft store once, but it was so amazingly outrageously expensive and large that I didn’t bother to remember who made it or how much it was. It was obscene, though. And not of practical use to most folks.

      1. Yeah, as a desktop I mean. But I was getting at the density and lack of visible pixellation. Though not practical, the possibilities are certainly attractive. 

    2. The closest standard monitor resolution would be WQHD (2560 x 1440).  Do a search on WQHD for examples.

      1. Yikes, they are still a little pricey.  I was more thinking of the DPI density claims, and the standard for that resolution seems to be 27″.

  5. any idea how much more ram that thing has? I’m running out of memory working on the current one, I’d hate to have to double the resolution of assets if it’s still got the same memory capacity.

  6. Apparently they were too busy coming up with a snazzy new version of the Apple TV to keep the functionality of the previous devices working.  Quite a few people have had the internet radio feature broken on their Apple TV for weeks and Apple has done nothing about it. Guess we all should shell out another hundred dollars to get the newest version so we can get the functionality we paid for in the existing version.

    1. Actually this problem has been reported on a “widespread” basis, with most people following it on Macintouch. The issue appears to be a network routing problem, which is being investigated.

      Given that the Radio functionality was a last-minute buy-it-before-it-croaks purchase from 3Com, there is probably not a lot of brain-trust at Apple handling this. 

  7. I guess Apple means post-PC in the sense that you will no longer need a PC except for niche tasks (like editing video) in the future. I don’t see my desktop going anywhere though.

  8. to me, the announcement was a let-down. Not that I am saying it isn’t a good product, but just that I (once again) got caught up in all the rumors that didn’t come to fruition.

    1. The only rumor I read that wasn’t fulfilled was that it’d be called the “iPad 3” or “iPad HD.”

      1. It isn’t quad core (the cpu, at least — the gpu is), it didn’t have an advanced tactile display… I am not saying you heard these rumors, but I did, and they weren’t fulfilled.

  9. So can you expand the memory like with Android tablets? Oh that’s right you can’t! How is the multi tasking features compared to Android tablets? Oh that’s right the multi tasking feature requires you to double press a button. How’s the display ratio for watching video? Nothing like a 16:1 ratio found on most Android tablets. If you’re a musician tablets will not give you the power you need to properly engineer a song/track. Also quad core processing was brought to us first by Android. Don’t get me wrong the ipad is great if you want to have a non customizable tablet. I guess you could always jail break your ipad but then if you get caught Apple penalizes you for it. This isn’t the case with Android tablets. 

    1. Android tablets also tend to be locked down.  Remember, Android is only “open” for whoever installed it; if that wasn’t you, it’s not open.

    2. Wrong. 
      Why do I need to expand the storage? There’s plenty and there’s iCloud. If I need huge storage I use a machine actually suited to that purpose. I have a car that has plenty of room; if I need lots more I rent an 18 wheeler.
      Multitasking? You’re clueless. RTFM.
      Watching videos? Works pretty well for me and honestly, I think a 16:1 ratio is either a really bad screen or a typo.
      Quad core cpus? A nice idea if you actually have any application needs that both require and make use of them. Otherwise, not too big a deal.
      If you like Androoid tablets, feel free to buy one – or more. I don’t and therefore won’t. We can both be happy.

    3. I have to say, “If you’re a musician tablets will not give you the power you need to properly engineer a song/track.” is mighty strong talk when put up alongside an OS that doesn’t have the latency to run guitar throughputs. (Also, Damon Albarn would like to have a word with you.)
      I’d picked up an iRig to hand to a buddy who uses Android, and I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t find an Amplitube-esque software package to recommend to him on his platform until I found some dev discussion about why that hadn’t appeared yet. Disheartening and kinda confusing to me, honestly. (I know that UI latency has been a bugaboo on versions of Android before ICS anyways – I’d have just thought that it would be something that the designers wouldn’t have let out the door.)

    4. Apart from all the other arrant nonsense, the bit about audio is particularly funny – where are all the great audio and music apps for Android?

      I mean, if you are an audio engineer, I’m sure you love Android’s audio latency…

  10. Same resolution as the 30″ monitors the radiologists use to read xrays on… in a 10″ screen. I don’t see the benefit.

    1. As someone who reads a lot of textbooks that I have scanned into PDFs, I’ve always wished that the iPad had a screen that was a “little bit” sharper so I did not have to zoom in to read some smaller text.  Someone like me would see the benefit.
      Also- I am old, every little bit helps.

      1. This is a two-fold increase in dpi, not a “little bit”.

        ipad2: 132 ppi
        ipad-whateverthisis: 264 ppi

        I agree that there is very little that requires this resolution…. Even blu-ray HD video (1080p) requires smaller res.

        Unless you’re watching 2K+ video straight out of a Red Epic then you won’t be able to functionally use the resolution to its fullest potential.

        If it makes the ipad2 significantly cheaper I may buy one of those, but this ipad release is just for milking apple fans for more of their cash. If you are doing anything that requires that video chip you should be using a real computer/console.

        1. I’ll take “a two-fold increase” over ” a little bit” any day. Since the screen is essentially 4X the size of the “olde” iPad, would it not need a more powerful video chip? 

          Also- the iPad 2 is now $399 new with refurbs starting at $349 at the online Apple Store.  

          So this new iPad is not a “real” computer?  Does a computer require a “console” to be “real”?   Does a room full of women doing ballistics calculations count as a “real” computer?   What if you gave them iPads?

          1. Yes, upping the resolution would require a more powerful graphics processor. Basically you’re saying they upped the power of their graphics processor so it could handle a resolution so large that nothing can make practical use of it? Sounds, well… stupid.

            I can real the article too, but US pricing bears no direct relation to Australian pricing… especially considering our dollar is stronger than the US, yet the ipad (and crap on the istore) costs more here… Thanks for the maths fail Apple. (after checking the apple AUS store it seems ipad2s are now retailing at AU $429).

            Finally: no. No tablet computer is yet a real computer. Can you replace the workflow capabilities of a notebook/desktop with an ipad? No. Can the gaming capacity of an ipad match a dedicated gaming console/handheld? No.

            Who is talking about ballistics calculations? An abacus can be considered a computer, so don’t think you’re smart by talking semantics. If you only use a computer for surfing the web and basic tasks then an ipad might be a suitable replacement for a computer, but some of us use computers for more than looking at lolcats and playing angry birds HD.

    2. I haven’t seen anyone else mention that the high res display makes a HUGE difference in reading Japanese (and I presume all ideographic) text. 

      Basically the only reason I upgraded to the iphone 4, and I’d wager the iphone would not be nearly as popular as it is in Japan without that screen. 

      1. …except that Japan was a huge market for iphones from 3G up. If you are basing your judgement on this wired article then you should probably think again. When I went there a couple years ago (pre iphone4) my friends all had them and you’d see people everywhere with them. I was shocked to see this because Japan’s mobile market has been notoriously hard for Western companies (like Nokia) to capture.

        Japan loves things that look pretty. Apple’s offering is most certainly is one of the more pretty phones.

    3. If you had an iPhone 4 or 4S, you would. All other screens look like boiled monkey ass in comparison.

  11. There’s only five cities with 4 g LTE networks. However,  LTE is trademarked by  ETSI.

    ETSI is recognised as an official European Standards Organisation by the European Union, enabling valuable access to European markets. 

    Search on  LTE on ETSI website confirms. And I’m so sick and tired of ambiguous language. “Access”. Here’s the “markets” they cover. 

    Athens (GA)AtlantaAustinBaltimoreBostonChapel Hill (NC)CharlotteChicagoDallas-Fort WorthHoustonIndianapolisKansas CityLos AngelesLas VegasNew York CityOklahoma CityOakland (CA)OrlandoPhoenixRaleigh-DurhamSan AntonioSan DiegoSan FranciscoSan Jose (CA)San Juan, Puerto RicoSarasota-Bradenton (FL)Tampa-St. Petersburg (FL)Washington, D.C.

    1. Apple only takes orders if your IP address resolves to a Starbucks.  Go to a Starbucks and order the iPad and it’ll go through fine.

      1. Thanks – it finally went through after a few failed attempts. I wonder why they can’t just beef up their servers just for launch – maybe not worth the cost?  It’s pretty frustrating.

  12.  Still an uninteresting form factor. Too large to be really portable, too inflexible to be worth carrying despite that.

  13. A to B: Hey check out my new ipad.
    B to A: Is it a new new ipad or just a new ipad?
    A to B: Its a new new ipad.
    B to A: Cool.
    A to B: yeah I am psyched on the Retina display.
    B to A: What did you do with your old new ipad?
    A to B: I never had an old new ipad.
    B to A: Whats next?
    A to B: Bears?

  14. I always get a little buzz of excitement when I see the words “retinal display”, only to have it crushed when I read that it’s really just a high-resolution display.

    And where’s my cyberhands, dammit?

  15. Let me put it this way: This is a mid cycle product refresh. Beefed up CPU/Gfx/RAM, better screen, 4G.

    Let’s imagine that another major global supplier did such a thing: Dell announces their new latitude line with newest gen i7 processor at 12GB RAM.

    Would that merit a mention?

    Then why this?If there were something that truly changed the rules of the game, like a hologram monitor or something (or even something that showed Apple’s changing their mindset, such as microSD) then it would be different.

    But BB is more about following the broader currents in the digital world, not the nitpicky details. You’re not Gizmodo.

    The only thing really remarkable about this product announcement is the level of publicity it received for such a minor refresh. I think you put a post like that; but that doesn’t mean you have to actually post on the device itself to compensate.

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