Apple iPad (third-generation)Apple's new iPad doesn't look much different from the last one, but a beautiful screen and vastly improved camera help to refine an already great product.
Apple's new iPad. It's 3rd generation tablet, beautiful, thin. Wait. Sorry. This is the iPad 2. Here you go. New iPad. Apple's new iPad. A CNET Editor's choice. Looks really, really similar to the iPad 2. Also, it has the same price as it always has starting at $499. It comes in white or black and all the buttons and ports are just where you'd think and if you want a version that works on AT&T or Verizon's 4G cellular network, you're gonna have to pay an extra $130 up front. But why pay full price that for something that looks like last year's iPad? Well, here is what all the fuss is about. It's the screen. Apple took their 9.7-inch screen and they doubled it's resolution and it's something that no one has done before on a screen like this and it's one of those changes that won't knock you over at first but once you get used to it, you're not gonna wanna go back. Now, one of the first benefits you'll see is the text looks great. Whether it's e-books, e-mail or just browsing the web, words are very crisp. Another obvious benefit is video. Assuming you can spare a few gigs of space, you can now download all the way up to 1080p video from iTunes and play them on this screen and the crazy thing is Apple actually has a scale up 1080p video for the screen. But really, you know what the iPad is made for, games. Games look outstanding. Your old games are gonna look like film of fuzz that's been wiped off the screen and games that are optimized for the new screen and the new Quad-Core graphic processor look really great. Some of these look like they could be streaming off of your XBox. Another feature you should be excited about is the improved camera on the back. The one on the front is still pretty crummy but this one the back uses a 5-megapixel backside illuminated sensor and more importantly uses the same 5-element lens system that the iPhone has. You also get Auto-focus, face detection and 1080p video recording with image stabilization. Here's what a photo look like on the iPad 2 and here's that same photo on the new iPad. Here's a 720p video from the iPad 2 and here's the automatically stabilized one from the new iPad. Now, I still feel like a toddler when I use this thing to take pictures but the fun of showing-off photos on this screen makes up for it. If you really wanna get fancy, you can spend an other $99 on an Apple TV box and wirelessly beam your photos and home movies over to your home TV. For a less fancy solution, a $39 AV adapter and HDMI cable will mirror the entire iPad screen to your TV. So for me, that's the core of what makes the new iPad such a great tablet even if it does look like last year's iPad. For more information, be sure to read my full review. For CNET.com, I'm Donald Bell.