The wait's over - Apple has finally launched the iPad 3. Read on for more about the new iPad and how it compares to the iPad 2, and for our thoughts on how Apple's latest offering might come to change how we use t'internet.
"We are taking it to a whole new level and redefining the category that Apple created with the original iPad."
Tim Cook, Apple CEO.
It was one of the most hotly anticipated launches of the year, but last night Apple finally launched the iPad 3 - which is four times faster than the iPad 2, has 3D capability, a shaper screen picture than most HD TVs, a 5 megapixel camera and more.
Surprisingly, Apple isn't too keen on calling it the iPad 3 and has been calling it "the new iPad" or the "iPad 4G" instead.
We were all expecting big things from the iPad 3 - especially as its specs are surely a hint at what's likely to come with the iPhone 5.
And while the new iPad yesterday launched to applause from tech critics gathered at special Apple events in London and California, some critics have been left a little disappointed and have said the iPad 3 isn't really that much different from the iPad 2. We thought we'd leave you to make up your own mind on that front, but here are some specs to get you started…
• Screen Size: iPad 2: 9.7 inches iPad 3: 9.7 inches
• Weight: iPad 2: 601g iPad 3: 653g
• Depth: iPad 2: 8.8mm iPad 3: 9.4mm
• Screen Res: iPad 2: 1024x768 iPad 3: 2048x1536
• Processor: iPad 2: 1 Ghz A5 iPad 3: 1 Ghz A5X
• Storage: iPad 2: 16 - 64 GB iPad 3: 16 - 64 GB
• Camera: iPad 2: 720 p iPad 3: 1080p
We're always interested in what the pros have to say on the latest launches and gadgets, and we know you probably will be too. So we've brought you some of the tech world's thoughts on Apple's latest offering…
• TechRepublic said: "Apple is trying hard to get us to see the iPad as more than just a consumption device. It clearly wants this to be a viable option for more and more users to consider instead of a laptop."
• Gizmodo said: "It's almost like looking at a glossy magazine page. It also has much more powerful gits, with a much faster processor, more graphics and more memory."
• TechCrunch said: "Yes, it largely looks the same as the iPad 2 …What really matters, of course, is the screen. It's glorious … The new iPad display makes everything look like a printed photograph. By comparison the old iPad display makes everything look as if I've taken my glasses off. Blurry."
Tech journalists like Juliette Garside have gone as far to say that the iPad 3 shows us that Apple's really gearing-up about the launch of its own, rumoured, fully integrated TV set. Garside's predicted that Apple will soon launch a set that will be fully connected to the internet, and that it'll be HD and 3D capable just like the new iPad.
While it's all speculation for now, an Apple TV could change how we view the humble TV. Instead of streaming movies from the likes of Netflix we could be soon streaming them straight from iTunes, via the cloud on an interactive, split-screen TV where we can also play games and update our social networks.
Meaning that broadband and superfast fibre optic broadband in particular - would likely become an even bigger fixture in our daily lives.
But really, it looks as though the iPad has already radically changed the way we use the internet, as Apple revealed sales figures at the launch indicating that the company's sold more than 55 million iPads around the world - showing that more of us are moving from PC's and laptops to tablet computing.
Tech Crunch's MG Siegler put it better than we could. He said: "It’s not necessarily that the iPad is beating the PC, it’s that iPad beat the PC in under two years of existence. This drives PC people batty, but the numbers don’t lie. PC sales have peaked. In many cases, they’re going the wrong way. The iPad is just getting started.
"What’s more likely - 5 years from now, your primary home computing device is a PC? Or 5 years from now, your primary home computing device is a tablet? Just two years ago, this question would have been an absolute joke. Now it’s a joke to think it will take a full five years."
And a graph from Asymco has shown that it's only taken a year for Apple to sell 55 million iPads - but 22 years to sell that many Macs, 5 years to sell that many iPods and 3 years to sell that many iPhones.
We know a lot of you game, and like using Plusnet broadband as we prioritise your gaming traffic so you don't have any lags or buffering. So we thought you'd be interested in the new iPad's gaming functionality.
It's looking pretty impressive. Reviews from critics at the event have revealed that the processor's fast enough to handle a 3D game - even Sky Gamblers with 50 fighter jets on screen at any given time. And the graphics are looking good too - with a version of Infinity Blades displaying similar graphics to Xbox 360 and PS3.
The iPad 3 will be available to buy in the UK on 16 March - that's little over a week from now. It'll be priced between £399 and £659.
Apple's iPad has outsold even the iPhone (and we remember the frenzy around that), so it's recommended that you pre-order if you're looking to snap-up the new iPad.
It's definitely thought that demand's going to reach fever pitch again - as Experian Hitwise has revealed that 1 in every 2,000 of last week's internet searches featured a term relating to the iPad 3.
What do you think of the new iPad? Do you think it's been worth the wait? Will you be buying one or snapping up a rival tablet? Please leave us a comment and let us know...
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