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Tablets

New iPad has retina display, 5MP camera, on sale 16 March

The new iPad is official, and it comes with that amazing screen, improved camera, and a whizzy new processor.

The new iPad is official! And as expected, it has the retina display we've all been waiting for. The screen is a whopping 2,048x1,536-pixels -- that's twice the resolution of the iPad 2, which will make for far sharper images. Its 3.1 million pixels are the most ever seen on a mobile device, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The 264dpi (dots per inch) is a little lower than the iPhone 4S's 326dpi, but considering you won't be holding it as close to your face as you would your phone, I don't think it'll look any less impressive. And at 9.7 inches, it should look the business, to use a technical term.

According to Tim Cook, the colour saturation is 40 per cent better, and the resolution is so high you can't distinguish individual pixels. Existing apps will be upscaled to fit the new resolution.

The Home button is present and correct, quelling rumours Apple had dropped it for this incarnation. And inside is the new A5X processor, bringing quad-core graphics to the tablet. Cook claims it's twice as fast as a Tegra 3 processor, and offers four times the performance. We'll have to wait for a full review to put these claims to the test.

The image skills have also been improved, with a 5-megapixel camera on the back, matching the iPhone 4S. Auto-exposure and auto-focus come as standard. And it'll record in 1080p HD. Stabilisation software should help keep the shakes at bay, too.

Now, voice dictation. It's not Siri, but hit the microphone button at the bottom of the keyboard and you'll start the dictation mode. It supports US English, British English (not Glaswegian), Australian, French, German and Japanese. That's a multi-lingual device.

The new iPad is LTE-enabled as well, which is more of a surprise than most of the other features. (And good news considering we might be getting the super-fast technology by the end of the year.) It has 21Mbps HSPA+ and DC-HSPA at 42Mbps, with LTE topping out at 73Mbps. Should improve browsing and download speeds no end.

Your iPad can double as a Wi-FI hotspot too, if your network supports the feature.

Battery life doesn't suffer either -- it's up to nine hours on 4G, which is the same as the iPad 2 on 3G. Bonus.

The downside? It is slightly heavier, now weighing 1.4lbs (64g). Considering its predecessor wasn't exactly feather-light, that could be an issue, but we'll have to wait for the hands-on to see. It'll come in black and white, also scotching rumours Apple would go for black only in some sizes, and still comes in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB sizes. Like the new Apple TV, price remains the same as its predecessor, and it'll be on sale next Friday. But pre-orders start today, so don't delay.

What do you reckon? Has the new iPad exceeded your expectations, or left you disappointed? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.

Image credit: CNET.com