What new iPad features are there?

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Answered by: Steve, An Expert in the iPad and iPhone Category
Those looking to upgrade their old iPads to Apple's slick new tablet should know what they're getting into before investing the cash. The new iPad features, among other things, an improved camera and a higher resolution retina display for higher quality visuals over the iPad 2, not to mention faster hardware to power all of it. Here's a quick look at some of the highlights from the new iPad, as well as how it measures up to the last generation model.

The first thing you'll notice, especially if this is your first iPad is the retina display on the new tablet. The 2048x1536 resolution on its 9.7 inch screen is twice that of the iPad 2's, which means better picture quality when watching movies and looking at photos, less jagged edges, vibrant colors that give even top-of-the-line HD TVs a run for their money and more apps optimized for the retina display.

The new iPad features a 5-megapixel camera similar to the one found in the iPhone 4S as well. Compared to the iPad 2's less than a megapixel setup, which was only capable of recording 720p pictures and video, the new iPad's new iSight camera takes much sharper pictures and lets you edit them on the fly in a variety of new ways (you can also pick up iPhoto in the app store). The drawbacks are that zooming in with the camera still results in pixellated photos and the tablet's front camera is still only VGA.

Another improvement the new iPad features is the inclusion of voice dictation much like the iPhone 4S' Siri. The tablet's built in mic works well, picking up most spoken dictation with a fair amount of accuracy, although much like Siri, it can sometimes get a bit confused, resulting in garbled text.

Ultimately compared to the iPad 2, Apple's latest tablet really differentiates itself in terms of speed. Anyone that has used an older model Apple product to try to do simple task like running basic apps or taking photos is already aware of how time-consuming a process it can be. With the A5X processor's quad-core GPU, the new iPad runs apps faster than its predecessor's dual-core A5 chip, making even scrolling through your home screen or texting friends quick and painless. Finally, with the new firmware upgrade to iOS 5.1, the new iPad gives you access to 4G connectivity, so web-browsing and email are faster than ever.

In terms of practical changes, these are the major points you'll want to consider if you're looking to upgrade (or to pick up an iPad for the first time). The dimensions are practically identical to the iPad 2's, to the point that it should be able to fit into any last-generation accessories like sleeves. Still no micro SD slot, but with 16, 32 and 64 GB hard drive sizes available (something to keep in mind for higher resolution media) you've got storage options available. The hardware difference between models is significant, although if you can only afford a discounted iPad 2 for now, it's not a bad back-up.

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