As with most of the other Apple events, it kicks off with even more impressive statistics concerning the company. After, Apple is now worth more than the entire country of Poland itself, surpassing the $500 billion mark in terms of stock value recently. Having said that, after sifting through the bunch of marketing and promotional speak, it is time to get down and dirty with the nitty gritty. Contrary to previous rumors, the Apple TV was announced before the new iPad, so read our summary on today’s Apple event right after the jump. Also, enjoy the new iPad gallery as well.
I suppose Siri, while interesting to fiddle around with, is not exactly the killer app just yet, although it comes close from certain aspects. Siri in Australian, French and German accents were demonstrated, followed by the latest addition – Japanese. Part of iOS 5.1 is already available today, where folks living in the Land of the Rising Sun will happen within the next few weeks.
As for iTunes in the cloud, it now supports movies – meaning you are able to download movies all over again which you have purchased on any device, and regardless of whether you are a TV series fan or a movie fan, either way, 1080p resolution is now supported.
As expected, there is also a new Apple TV announced, where it will supports 1080p resolution alongside a “streamlined new user interface.” Sounds good and snazzy, but bear in mind that this is still not a basic iOS interface. Just make sure your Apple TV is hooked up to a HDTV that supports 1080p resolution, and you will be able to maximize the amount of eye candy that you can enjoy. Anything less, and it would be a waste. Available from next week onwards, you can drop $99 and place an order for the new Apple TV today.
The new iPad was then announced, and as expected, the new iPad will sport a Retina Display that maxes out at 2048 x 1536 pixels, which amounts up to 3.1 million pixels – “the most ever in a mobile display”. Surely, this would put a Full HD display to shame (1920 x 1080), don’t you think so? For those who are more technical, the new iPad’s Retina Display boasts 264ppi, offering 44% better color saturation. Also, the Home button has not been removed contrary to previous rumors. When compared to NVIDIA’s Tegra 3, Apple claims that the A5 is “twice as fast”, while the confirmed A5X in the new iPad offers “four times the performance” – it would be great to see what kind of benchmarks were run here.
The iSight camera will also see action in the iPad, and it more or less offers a similar performance to that of the iPhone 4S – and that is saying a lot. With 1080p video recording capability and software stabilization, you know for sure that it is going to be a multimedia powerhouse. Oh yeah, throw in 4G LTE connectivity (from AT&T in the demonstration) and you’ve got a speed demon on your hands here – at least in terms of Internet speed (within a decent network signal, of course).
Voice dictation is another feature that Apple hopes to make the entire iPad experience better, and a new microphone key at the bottom allows you to speak your mind, as the iPad turns speech into words. Supported languages include US English, British, Australian, French, German and Japanese. In addition, 21Mbps HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA at 42Mbps is supported, although 4G LTE will top all of those at 73Mbps. The LTE partners for the new iPad will be Verizon Wireless, Rogers, Bell, Telus and AT&T. I am also quite sure that with the iPad being turned into a personal hotspot now (carrier dependent), it will be another selling point in Apple’s favor.
With 4G LTE support, just what kind of battery life will the new iPad sport? Apparently, 10 hours – just like its predecessor, and on a 4G connection, Apple claims a phenomenal 9 hours of juice. I wonder what kind of sorcery Apple has used inside. Tipping the scales at 1.4lbs and measuring a mere 9.4mm thin, the new iPad will come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, retailing for $499, $599 and $699, respectively. Of course, those pricing details are meant for the Wi-Fi only version – those who want the 4G model will have to fork out $629, $729 and $829. Pre-orders begin today in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, making it Apple’s largest rollout to date.
Of course, throwing in a Retina Display would be folly if Apple is not going to make sure new apps take advantage of it, right? Having said that, a bunch of iOS exclusive apps were introduced to take advantage of the new resolution size, including productivity apps like SketchBook Pro, in addition to games like Sky Gambler. Sky Gambler is an action flight simulator that looked absolutely gorgeous, while Infinity Blade: Dungeons will rely on HDR graphics and tone-mapping to offer drop dead gorgeous graphics. Other productivity apps like iWork will receive an update, allowing you to come up with “stunning” creations, while Garage Band with “Smart Strings” is also ready and waiting in the wings.
iMovie has been injected with an update, enabling one to perform the act of outlining and storyboarding on the iPad, recording whatever you have in mind in 1080p Full HD glory, handling the playback like a boss as well. The iPhoto app has also been updated, where it can support photos of up to 19-megapixels, supporting new gestures, editing, and even enabling users to beam photos from one device to another.
For those who feel that they want the new iPad, but need the iPad 2, good news: the 16GB Wi-Fi model retails for $399, while the 3G-enabled version is now $529, meaning a price drop of $100.
You can check out the blow-by-blow action on our live blog.