Schiller said the resulting display makes graphics and images crisper than before. He also said the new screen has greater color saturation than the one on the iPad 2, and as a result, images look richer and more detailed. “Everything you do is just going to look stunning—surfing the Web, reading your e-mails,” he said.
Bringing such a high-resolution screen to the iPad isn’t easy. DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim says it requires making the pixels smaller to pack more of them in the same amount of space—which must be done without shrinking the portion of the pixel that allows color manipulation—while still pushing enough light through them to reach the iPad’s screen. It’s hard to make such displays without any messed-up pixels, so the larger the display, the more difficult it is to produce. Apple had to elevate some pixels onto a different plane in order to avoid crossed signals.
The iPad will be run by a beefier processor, called the A5X chip. The iPad also is getting a better rear camera, with a five-megapixel sensor and the ability to take high-definition videos in 1080p resolution. Some new video features include image stabilization and temporal noise reduction.
In addition, more expensive versions of the iPad will be able to surf the Web on LTE networks, which makes activities like downloading photos and streaming videos much speedier. In the U.S., AT&T and Verizon Wireless will provide LTE service for the new iPad in the United States. Pricing was not available Wednesday.
Schiller said the battery life will remain the same. However, the new iPad is a smidgen plumper than the iPad 2; it’s 0.37 inches thick and 1.4 pounds, compared with 0.34 inches and 1.3 pounds for its predecessor, though I was hard-pressed to notice a difference when I briefly tried a demonstration unit. Videos seemed to be crisper, but it was hard to tell without a side-by-side comparison, which Apple didn’t offer at Wednesday’s event. Of course, not all videos, including much of what you see online, will merit such a sharp display.