Even if you've been hiding under an Android tablet, you likely know that Apple's third generation iPad goes on sale Friday. Shoppers were queuing early to prepare for the 8:00 a.m. sales launch at Apple Stores.
Before you Android fans start swinging, I have two Android tablets, but I did order my first iPad.
Apple's latest iPad has a familiarly sized 9.7-inch screen with a revamped display touting a resolution of 2048-by-1536 at 264 pixels per inch. The tablet has a new dual-core Apple A5X processor with a quad-core graphics processor.
Other improvements include a better front-facing FaceTime camera, a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera also capable of 1080p video recording at 30 frames per second, Bluetooth 4.0 and optional 4G LTE wireless broadband.
The new tablet starts at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version.
Teardown specialists iFixit confirm that the new iPad has 1GB of RAM.
Where to buy:
Long lines are expected at Apple Stores, but shoppers may be able to find a new iPad with much less hassle at one of several alternative retailers. A reconnaissance call before storming your local big box might save time and help shoppers navigate around disappointment.
A line formed outside the SuperTarget in Apex this morning in advance of the 8 a.m. store opening.
A steady stream of iPad buyers followed, according to a store clerk. The clerk predicted that, based on the flow and past iPad opening days, the store would run out of the tablet computers by 10 a.m.
Price: The new third generation iPad inherited the former pricing for the iPad 2. The iPad 2 will soldier on as a lower-cost option starting at $399.
Apple's pricing for the new third generation iPad:
$499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model
$599 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model
$699 for the 64GB Wi-Fi model
$629 for the 16GB 4G model
$729 for the 32GB 4G model
$829 for the 64GB 4G model
Appearance & dimensions: The new iPad also comes in black or white. It is 9.4mm thick and weighs 1.5 pounds -slightly beefier than the iPad 2's 8.8mm and 1.35 pounds.
Processor: Dual-core 1GHz Apple A5X processor & quad-core graphics processor.
RAM: 1GB of RAM
Memory: 16, 32, or 64 GB flash memory. No SD card slot.
Display: The resolution is bumped to retina display specifications at 2048 x 1536 pixels
Connectivity: Wireless models have 3G, HSPA+ for up to 21Mbps, dual-carrier HSDPA for up to 42Mbps and LTE for up to 72Mbps. All iPads have 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi of course. The new iPad gets Bluetooth 4.0.
Camera: Rear-facing 5MP iSight camera with the optics system from the iPhone 4S. HD video recording now in 1080p resolution. Built-in stabilization, auto-exposure, auto-focus, auto-face detection, and AF-lock. Facetime camera on the front.
Battery: Retains the same battery life as the iPad 2. Up to 10 hours of browsing over Wi-Fi and 9 hours over 4G.
How good is the new iPad? Is it worth replacing an iPad 2? How does it compare to Android tablets? See what others have to say in this review roundup.
All Things D, Walt Mossberg: "Since it launched in 2010, the iPad has been the best tablet on the planet. With the new, third-generation model, it still holds that crown."
"...[The new iPad is the] best choice in a general-purpose tablet. ...when I placed my iPad 2 next to the new model, with the same text on the screen. Letters and words that had seemed sharp on the older model five minutes earlier suddenly looked fuzzier."
"If you already own an iPad 2, and like it, you shouldn’t feel like you have to rush out to buy the new one."
Daring Fireball: "... [4G LTE is] easily as fast, perceptually, as a rock-solid Wi-Fi connection... What’s not to love? It’s that simple."
The Loop: "So, what did I like about the iPad? Simple -the experience. Nobody in the market today can touch the Apple experience."
"[The high-resolution display] "will make you do a double-take the first time you see it. Even on the home screen, it’s crisp and clear -you can notice a huge difference, even from the iPad 2."
The New York, David Pogue: "If you’re in the market for a tablet, here’s the bright side: For the same price as before, you can now get an updated iPad that’s still better-looking, better integrated and more consistently designed than any of its rivals."
"And if you already have the iPad 2, here’s an even brighter side: At least this time around, you don’t have to feel quite as obsolete as usual."
SlashGear: "Apple doesn’t need another revolution, it has already started one, and the new iPad brings a fresh degree of refinement to a segment in which it is undoubtedly the king."
TechCrunch: "Technology is amazing, and this new iPad is amazing. Also amazing: the only company competing with Apple right now in this particular space is Apple."
"If you don’t yet have an iPad, get the new iPad."
USA Today: "If you're a tablet newbie, there's no better choice on the market than an iPad, provided — and this is a pretty big if — price isn't an issue and you don't want a tablet that would fit in your pocket, such as the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire."
The Verge, Joshua Topolsky: "I'm not being hyperbolic or exaggerative when I say it is easily the most beautiful computer display I have ever looked at."
"Thanks to that improved sensor, pictures you take on the iPad now look relatively respectable, with a depth of field shallow enough to pull off rather artistic looking images."
"[The new iPad] is the most functional, usable, and beautiful tablet that any company has ever produced."