It's the iPad, too

Updated: 
iPadFirst there was the iPad, then Apple released the iPad 2, and the third version is called...the iPad. There was no explanation, but this time it sounds a little less fannish - nobody refers to buying a laptop 2, or even an iPod 6, so why keep sticking numbers on the iPad? OK, that's the name - but what's in it, and is it worth buying?

The first major feature of the new box - which looks pretty much identical to the old one but not quite as thin as the iPad 2 in spite of rumours that the screen was going to take up the whole of the front - is higher definition. Four times the resolution of the pictures on the older iPads, which should result in some better gaming experiences and you can watch HD movies in true 1080p HD (iPad owners may not have realised this needed fixing, but early reports from all the papers suggest it's a good improvement). It has Apple's Retina display which means that holding it at a normal distance - 10-15in from your face - you won't be able to see the pixels.

The second is frustrating in the UK. The new iPad will work with 4G or LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks, that's the fastest network available worldwide - but it's not in the UK yet. So all that Internet browsing, all those movie downloads and streams, forget it until the networks over here wake up. Since they don't exist yet there's no price available for these networks so your guess as to what it'll cost is as good as anybody else's.

The camera on the back has increased to five megapixels and is essentially the same as you'd get on an iPhone 4S; it has "Backside illumination" (look, stop sniggering) which means it works in low light.

Perhaps oddly it supports dictation rather than full-blown voice control; the iPhone 4S has "Siri", which is a program that allows you to talk to your phone; this just has automatic dictation so you can speak your emails and soforth, but not command the iPad to send them off without speaking the command.

Availability


It'll be out 16 March (next Friday) and the 16GB model with WiFi costs £399 including VAT, £479 for the 32 gig model and the 64 gig comes in at £559. You can add another £100 apiece if you want 3G (or 4G when it's out) as well. Meanwhile the iPad 2 will still be available - slimmer and standard resolution which still looked really good last week, now starting at £329 for the 16 gigabyte WiFi model.

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