Apple fans have been known to order and buy a new device sight-unseen. But the new iPad is one that has to be seen and it is likely to help Apple keep its 73 percent share of the revenue generated by tablet sales.
"Today we're announcing the new iPad, and it is amazing," Apple CEO Tim Cook said during his presentation Wednesday.
The third generation iPad has the same 9.7 inch screen, but it's sharper and higher resolution thanks to a retina display, the same one used by the newest iPhones.
"Everything you do is just going to look stunning, surfing the web, reading your emails and photos are going to look amazing," Apple Marketing Vice President Phil Schiller said.
But it doesn't stop there. It features a faster quad-core graphics chip that will render games with more realism and detail. It will shoot HD video through an upgraded five-megapixel camera. The new iPad also comes in a 4G LTE version, the fastest broadband service available on AT&Tand Verizon.
The hardest thing to convey about the resolution of new iPad is the fact that this resolution is higher than most HD-TVs. Its ability to display 3.1 million pixels has analysts saying competing tablets will pale by comparison.
"One of the things consumers love is things that look really great; they don't necessarily tell you how many pixels are on the screen, all they know is when they look at an iPad and they look at another tablet, this one looks better," Yankee Group Research Vice President Carl Howe said.
To take advantage of the new iPad's advances, Apple also has updated several of its popular apps, such as iPhoto, Garage Band and iWork.
Game makers were on hand to show off new titles that will capitalize on the new iPad's high-resolution graphics.
"They're so far in front of their competition it's astounding," Forrester Research analyst Van Baker said. "The app store?Tim tried to tell us today how apps on the other tablets look like versus the apps on the iPad. They're way, way in front of the game. The apps are what matter."))
The new entry level 16GB iPad will sell for $499. The top level 4G model is $829. Apple will continue to sell the iPad 2, dropping the price by $100.
Apple is starting to take orders for the new iPad. It will be available starting March 16.