New iPad Features and Differences vs. the iPad 2

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eHow Tech Blog

Apple has introduced the latest iteration of its popular iPad tablet, but this year the company has opted to drop the numbering from the device. So, yes, the third generation iPad is now simply known as the iPad, but the iPad 2 will also still be available, but at a lower price. Naming confusion aside, what are the differences between the two?  Well, there are quite a few.

Higher Screen Resolution

Some time ago Apple introduced a new type of display technology called the Retina Display.  The idea was that the screen was so densely packed with pixels that it actually presented an image at a higher resolution that the human eye can perceive.  This has been lacking from the iPad up until now.

The new screen on the iPad has doubled the resolution from 1024 x 768 to 2058 x 1536.  When held at an optimal distance of 15-inches from your eye, this results in an image that is actually of a higher resolution that the HD television set in your family room.

5-Megapixel Rear Camera

The rear camera on the iPad 2 left a lot to be desired, and while using a tablet as a camera can seem strange, it’s still handy to have available.  The new 5-megapixel sensor will give you the same quality as the iPhone 4S and will also allow you to shoot in 1080p HD video. However, Apple did not choose to upgrade the front camera beyond the VGA camera in the iPad 2, so if you’re looking to do teleconferencing it’s still not the most ideal solution.

4G LTE

LTE (Long Term Evolution) cellular technology is currently the fastest thing out there when it comes to mobile Internet connections.  This is something that has been lacking from the iPhone, so it’s a bit surprising to see it turn up on Apple’s tablet first, but it’s welcome.

The iPad now supports roaming on 3G as well, and you can use your tablet as a hotspot for other devices, carrier permitting.

While it’s tempting to go for this option, be warned that the plans are not cheap, ranging anywhere from $15 to $80 a month.

Quad-Core Graphics

Many of the rumors leading up to the Apple event suggested that the new iPad would have a quad-core processor, meaning that it could handle many more tasks.  Apple opted to stick with a dual-core processor like the iPad 2, but did increase the graphics processing to a quad-core solution.  This makes some sense as the iPad 2 was already quite fast, but with the new screen, it needed more graphics power to manage higher resolution apps and games.

Which Should You Buy?

If you have an iPad 2 already, there are a lot of compelling reasons to upgrade, but it totally depends on what your budget is.  If you have yet to buy an iPad, the new lower price for the iPad 2 at $399 is awfully tempting, but for a $100 more you can get the latest and greatest.  Either way, you will be purchasing a solid device.

Image credit: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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