Apple's new iPad to hit stores March 16

@CNNMoneyTech March 7, 2012: 3:25 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Apple on Wednesday unveiled a new iPad, the third iteration of its best-selling tablet. The gadget will land in stores on March 16, with its entry-level price remaining the same as the current model: $499 for a version with 16 GB of storage.

The new iPad's flashiest feature is that it will sport a "retina display" previously only available on the iPhone. The pixels on retina display are so tiny that they're imperceptible to the human eye, Apple claims. The new iPad screen has 3.1 million pixels, one million more than a 1080p high-definition screen of that size would.

Apple's (AAPL, Fortune 500) new tablet has a new "A5X" processor with four cores, capable of speeds twice that of the iPad 2. The new iPad also has an improved camera that can record high-definition video and a microphone button on the keyboard for voice dictation.

The updated iPad will be the first Apple device to support a 4G wireless technology called Long Term Evolution. LTE offers download speeds of between five and 12 megabits per second -- about the same or faster than the typical home broadband connection. The device will also support 3G when there is no 4G coverage available.

The new iPad will support either Verizon (VZ, Fortune 500) or AT&T's (T, Fortune 500) 4G networks in the United States, as well as Telus, Bell and Rogers in Canada. But since the various LTE networks transmit signal on different bands, they will not be compatible -- meaning your Verizon iPad won't work on AT&T's network.

To support all the internal radios that will make the iPad connect to the myriad bands and networks, the new iPad is actually 7% thicker and 5% heavier than the iPad 2. Apple said it will still sell the iPad 2, starting at $399 -- $100 cheaper than the new device.

Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) sold 55 million iPads in the first two years of sales, and the company is expected to match that number in 2012 alone. About 42% of current iPad owners said they'll buy the new iPad, according to a recent survey by PriceGrabber.

The iPad is dominant in its field: Apple controls 59% of the tablet market, according to DisplaySearch, and Tim Cook has said the company hasn't seen "any impact, plus or minus" from its nearest competitor, the Amazon (AMZN, Fortune 500) Kindle.

Nearly 13.2% of the U.S. population will use an iPad at least once per month this year, according to an eMarketer forecast.

Apple also unveiled a new version of its Apple TV set-top box at Wednesday's event.

The device now supports 1080p high-definition viewing with a revamped interface that allows easier access to third-party apps. The company is widely rumored to be preparing its own TV set for release at some point this year. To top of page

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