This morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco to host the company’s first major product launch since Steve Jobs’ passing.
Before he showed off the new iPad (which is, indeed, just called iPad instead of iPad 3 as anticipated), Cook made some more general Apple announcements:
- iOS 5.1 is ready and will be available for download later today.
- Siri is now available in Japanese.
- There’s a new 1080p version of Apple TV, which features new menus with iPad-like icons, iCloud, photostream access and Genius, so it will make movie suggestions. It will be available March 16, with no price change ($99).
Naturally, Cook saved the product we’ve all been anxious to hear about for last.
“iPad is showing up in people’s lives all around the world,” Cook said. “Now, when we set out to create the iPad, we set out to create not just a new product, but a new category.”
Here are the key details for the new iPad:
The new iPad has an A5X chip with quad core graphics capacity, over a million more pixels than an HDTV, Retina display, an iSight camera (a 5MP camera on the back of the device), the same optics sensor that’s on the iPhone 4S, 1080P video recording and 4G LTE connectivity.
- iPhoto for iPad lets users work with photos up to 19MP and has smart browsing, multitouch editing capabilities, pro-level effects, skin tone white balance, brushes, and photobeaming between devices. Albums are displayed like books on a shelf. (Its impressive features eliminate the need for Adobe’s Photoshop Touch on the iPad.) It’s available for all iPads starting today for $4.99.
- iMovie lets people create movie trailers using the visual storyboard
- Sketchbook Ink, a vector based drawing tool that is similar to Sketchbook Pro but more user-friendly.
- There will be updates to iWork and GarageBand. The new Jam Session feature in GarageBand uses Bluetooth to let people play together.
- There were rumors that the new iPad would include Siri. As it turns out, it has something more like Siri-light. It’s equipped with voice dictation software that supports US, British and Australian English, French, German and Japanese.
- It also features an extended battery life—10 hours on 3G or 9 hours on 4G.
The new iPad is available for pre-order and will be shipped and in stores on March 16, with a price range of $499-$829. The starting price of the iPad 2 has been reduced $100 to $399.
If last quarter’s sales are any indication, the latest iPad will be yet another successful Apple offering. During the event, Cook said Apple sold almost 15.5 iPads last quarter, which equates to more than any PC manufacturer sold in their entire line.
Just before leaving the stage, Cook left his audience with a vigorous message: “We are just getting started.”