The new iPad has made a splash today, with some radical headlines about 4G not working in Australia, barbs about its crazy name and question marks over who got what right in the great Apple guessing game – but what is it really like? We’ve had a look and a play with the third generation iPad, and here’s what we think.

Before we address the facts, lets address the rumours we speculated on a few weeks back.

Size (Will there be a smaller iPad?)

We just repeated this rumour, and as it happens it was a complete load of codswallop.

Screen (retina display?)

Tick, winning! But everyone called this. It was the obvious feature.

Design (will it look the same?)

Spot on here too, you can barely tell it apart from the iPad 2.


Pretty spot on, dual-core is still standard – they’ve upped the graphics to Quad core though.


Spot on – battery is better, but only to cope with the new features.


We’ll call this WRONG, but note we did suggest Dual-Channel 3G!


Again, close, in that it was NOT the iPad 3, but no-one picked “the new iPad”.

Number of Devices

Spot on – the iPad 2 is still available, and it’s cheap!


Again, close, it’s coming next week – we’ll take that!

So, what is it like. First up, check out this hands on video shot at the San Francisco launch.

So, what can I tell you having seen, touched and used the new iPad?

That screen is stunning. When compared to the iPad 2 and frankly any other tablet, it’s impossible to argue that it isn’t breathtakingly beautiful. Most people would argue that the screen is the best selling point for this device. But while the screen is gorgeous, I honestl think the price does the selling.

$539 for the basic model (16Gb WiFi), which is $40 less than the iPad 2 has been, is amazing. Combined with the fact that the iPad 2 stays on sale at an equally amazing $429 and you suddenly have a market where Apple owns everything $400 up. Seriously, any competition now must be below $400 to make a dent.

Holding the device you do notice the slight weight increase but you certainly cannot see any thickness change. So the only way to tell what you’re holding a “new iPad” is to check the camera on the back (the new iPad has a slightly larger camera opening), or to turn it on and check for that retina screen.

Apple showed off a couple of new additions to the iLife suite for iPad at the event as well, which help make the iPad an even more dominant force in the tablet market. The best news is that they’ll both work on the iPad 2 as well.

Garage Band – Jam Sessions

Garage Band has always been a great app, good for anyone with even the slightest bit of musical talent. But it’s not really a “garage band” unless you can have a Jam session, right? With the new Garage band you can sit four ipads together in a room sharing the same WiFi network and literally Jam! Each instrument is heard in the room on the individual iPad speaker. However, at the end of the session, the ‘band leader’ iPad received the session file from each iPad and creates a multi-track session. Pure genius! Expect some crazy YouTube videos from good musicians.

iPhoto – for iPad

iPhoto has always been the missing link for iLife on iPad. As a crucial part of the Mac’s success, it has translated well to the iPad as an intuitive app that allows the organisation of photos, the creation of photo albums and photo journals (and the ability to share them), as well as a simple editing feature

The Photo Journal allows you to create what looks like a Facebook Timeline style layout for a group of photos. The cool thing about this is the manipulation of the layout and the added widgets. Drag a calendar in and the iPad checks the dates the photos were taken on and adds the date to the Journal. Add a map and it checks the Geo Location of the photos. Finally – and coolest of all – add the weather and it looks at the date and location, checks the weather on that date and shows it in the journal.

Editing is well done, with swatches like the paint charts at Bunnings used to choose different effects. A great set of multitouch features help make editing photos simple. We’ll publish a full iPhoto review in the coming weeks.

Bottom line, Apple has done it again. 55 million sales and counting for the iPad, and that success isn’t looking like ending any day soon.

Price: From $549
Web: Apple

Trevor travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Apple