New iPad Hits Stores Friday

New iPad Hits Stores Friday

What to look forward to in Apple's latest tablet


It's not the iPad 3. Don't you dare call it that. Despite the fact that it is, in fact, the third release in Apple's tablet series, this shiny new grandson only goes by "the new iPad". Because "the iPad Jr. Jr." wasn't quite impractical enough. I mean, presumably Apple's going to keep spitting out these things, so what happens next time when the new iPad is no longer new? When it's the second-newest iPad, replaced by the thinner, snazzier, more powerful new-new iPad? Are we going to keep taking "news" on? Will we have to pick out a new type of animal to differentiate our tablets? Come up with something, Apple. At least name them by the year they come out.

The new iPad will arrive in stores on Friday. If the thought of anything freshly stamped with the Apple logo whets your appetite, here's what you've got to look forward to.

In keeping with the tradition of superlatives, Apple promises that the new iPad's screen boasts the best mobile display ever. They have multiplied the iPad 2's pixel resolution by four, meaning that you can zoom in four times as much before you start seeing the edges of the pixels themselves. With a 2048 by 1536 resolution and a 44 percent increase in color saturation, everything will look clearer and brighter. I imagine your first look at the new iPad's screen will be a lot like the first time you peered into an iPhone 4. It may just redefine what you thought was visually possible on a tablet device.

Apple has also planted a better camera in the back of the slab. It packs 5 megapixels and advanced optics, with automatic white balance and face detection. It'll even let you shoot HD video if you're so inclined to use it as a camcorder. Or you can use Facetime to broadcast your mug to your loved ones in 1080p. Seems like Apple is trying to appeal to the social power of the device, making video chats and home movies seem like a high-tech, exciting experience. 

The new iPad also comes with 4G capabilities built-in, as well as the requisite Wi-Fi. Interestingly enough, Apple has equipped it with the power to act as a hotspot for up to five other devices in case you ever need to tether your laptop to your wireless data connection. 

As we might have expected, the latest iPad will be released with a $499 price tag. Worth the splurge? Maybe if it's your first one, but I'm always wary of upgrading for upgrading's sake.