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The New iPad is here at last! (Well, almost…)

Debba Boles

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After months of speculation and rumor, Apple debuted the new iPad in San Francisco today. While some were excited over the new iPad, many were disappointed that it isn’t that much of an upgrade from the iPad 2. Using basically the same form factor, the new iPad does have a faster processing chip, as well as an option to purchase it with 4G connectivity. According to the Mashable Team, “The new 9.7-inch iPad has 2048 x 1536-pixel retina display, 5-megapixel camera (with the same optics sensor from the iPhone 4S) and 1080p video recording. It is available March 16 in black and white, powered by A5X chip (with quad-core graphics) and supports 4G LTE networks. It’s 9.4 millimeters thick and 1.4 pounds. ” It has a much faster processor, graphics and more memory. And it's 4G ready.

The new iPad has a new camera on the back. It has a 5-megapixel job with a side-illuminated sensor, a 5-element lens and an infrared filter. It’s basically the same as the iPhone 4S, but with only 5 megapixels instead of 8 megapixel. The specs on the Apple site reveal the camera as:

• 5-megapixel iSight camera

• Autofocus

• Tap to focus

• Face detection in still images

• Video recording, HD (1080p) up to 30 frames per second with audio

• Video stabilization • FaceTime camera with VGA-quality photos and video at up to 30 frames per second

• Photo and video geotagging

You can now dictate your emails or text messages to the new iPad. The new iPad's operating system offers a new microphone button, presumably using technology related to Siri technology. There was no actual mention of Siri assistance. Since the new iPad also uses Bluetooth technology, you can connect using a Bluetooth headset.

You will be able to get it on March 16, but the preorder starts today. It will be available in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia on the same day. The price is $499, $599 and $699 for 16, 32, and 64GB. If you want 4G LTE, you will have to spend $629, $729, and $829.

Get more convenience with an iPad docking station. Although the new iPad has a 10 hour battery life, if you are watching movies or using the video, the battery can drain fairly quickly. You may want to use a docking station that will not only charge it will you watch the movie, but also hold the iPad in an easy-to-view stand.

Are you ready to buy? If you have the original iPad, you will probably want to upgrade. If you have the iPad 2, the urgency isn’t as great. If you are a first time tablet buyer and are more frugal that trendy, you may want to explore the idea of a tablet with a purchase of the Amazon Kindle Fire. I have the Fire and absolutely love it. Not only is it much cheaper ($199) but the smaller size of 7 inches, makes it better for reading books. In any case, if you want the new iPad, pre-order it today! It will ship out on March 16th.

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