Apple today introduced “the new iPad”, the newest generation of the iPad product line. Apple probably dropped the number because you don’t call a MacBook Pro a MacBook Pro 8 or an iMac an iMac 12. The company is moving people away from the numbering scheme because you don’t say “that’s my iPad 2” rather “that’s my iPad”. The new iPad includes a display measuring in at 2048 x 1536 pixels with 264 pixels per inch.  For the size of the screen, the resolution must be absolutely stunning.  The pixels are not visible to the human eye when held at the typical viewing distance of 15 inches.

Although the A5X chip is still dual core, it features a quad core GPU to power the super high resolution screen and provide a better gaming experience.  All of Apple’s stock apps have been optimized for the new ultra-high resolution display and existing apps from third-party developers will be automatically scaled up with text rendered for the new resolution.  With additional work, developers can also optimize their entire apps for the new display.

The new iPad features a 5-megapixel rear camera with advanced optics very similar to those found in the 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 4S. 1080p video recording is now supported.

4G models of the new iPad are using the LTE protocol as expected. The LTE connection on the new iPad supports 73 Mbps download, although in the real world, the speeds will not be nearly that fast.  LTE partners include AT&T and Verizon in the United States and Rogers, Telus, and Bell in Canada. Because of the differences in frequency bands, AT&T and Verizon support will require separate models.

Although Apple did not bring Siri to the iPad, Dictation is included on the device. You can now talk and the iPad will process speech to text. Also, paired with the new Apple TV, the new iPad can stream 1080p HD content to your TV via Air Play.

The new iPad offers the same battery levels as before. 10 hours on Wi-Fi or 9 hours on 4G LTE.

The brand new iPad is 0.6 mm thicker than the iPad 2. The new iPad is 9.4 mm thick, and weighs 1.4 pounds versus the 1.33-pound iPad 2.

Additionally, Apple will also continue to offer the 16 GB iPad 2 in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models with a price cut.

All this will be available on March 16th.

Apple also brought updates to their iLife for iOS suite of apps. iMovie and Garageband received updates but iLife for iOS was completed by the addition of iPhoto. iPhoto is available on the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad 2, and the new iPad today and it is essentially very similar to the OS X version but optimized for the touch controls. On a side note, Google maps has been ditched for a different mapping service in iPhoto for iOS.

I believe the new iPad is a great update for people still using an original iPad but if you own an iPad 2, the jump up to a new iPad is not really necessary unless you need 1080p content on your tablet, LTE, and a better display.