New iPad for 2012 first look

Our impressions of the third-generation iPad.
 
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How does the new iPad compare?
1
Camera

The new iPad features Apple’s five-megapixel iSight camera, designed with the advanced optics of its new lens system and providing face recognition for still images.

2
Apps

The new iPad brings with it the iOS 5.1 update, and Apple has upgraded its own iWork apps (Pages, Keynote, Numbers). Additionally, there's an impressive new $4.99 iPhoto app for iOS that offers suprisingly powerful and intuitive image editing. With the upgraded iMovie and Garageband, this completes the iLife suite for iOS.

3
Display and resolution

With four times as many pixels as on the iPad 2, the new iPad Retina Display has to be seen first-hand. The visual difference is apparent, with greater colour saturation and more vivid images.

4
Battery

The battery packs almost double the power of the iPad 2. However, like the new iPad's more powerful processor, this increase in power doesn't provide longer life, but maintains the same useable life with the improved display.

5
Network services

As with the previous incarnations, the new iPad comes with Wi-Fi and optional 3G, including high-speed DC-HSDPA and HSDPA+. It also offers optional 4G, but not the version employed by Telstra's new 4G LTE network.

6
Processor power

The faster processor, called the A5X, is needed to drive all those extra pixels of the improved display without slowing the whole unit down. So the new iPad doesn't run noticeably faster in general use, but provides much higher quality graphics.

7
No Siri :(

One thing noticeably missing from the new iPad is Siri, Apple's personal digital assistant that debuted on the iPhone 4S. However, the new iPad does have the voice dictation feature of the 4S, which recognises and translates speech in any app that offers data entry via keyboard.

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Should you race out and get the iPad 3?

If you have an iPad 2 already, you probably won't want to upgrade, especially since it can also utilise the iOS 5.1 update and updated apps. (Unless, of course, you simply fall in love with that gorgeous screen.) It may be worth upgrading if you have an original iPad and consider yourself a heavy user. If you're considering buying your first tablet computer you should take a look at the new iPad.

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