New Apple iPad announced

Apple has unveiled its next-generation iPad, with a powerful processor and high-resolution screen among the device’s key improvements.

The tablet will go on sale next week, on Friday 16 March. It will be pitched at the same price level as the iPad 2 (the 16GB version will cost £399), come in the same storage sizes (16GB, 32GB and 64GB) and offer similar levels of battery performance (around 10 hours).

The iPad 2 will continue to be sold but will be reduced in price, with the price of a 16GB iPad 2 dropping to £329.

The company said the new iPad’s Retina display, with a pixel resolution of 2048 x 1536, offers the highest resolution ever seen on a mobile device.

Apple boss Tim Cook said, “We are taking it to a whole new level and are redefining the category that Apple created with the original iPad.”

The device features an updated version of Apple’s mobile operating system – iOS 5.1. It runs on an A5X processor, which includes a quad-core graphics module. Apple said the processor is twice as fast as the Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset and four times faster than that in terms of graphic performance.

The camera has also been improved, with the new iPad featuring a five megapixel camera with a back-illuminated sensor, auto-focus, auto-exposure and the same optics as used on the iPhone 4S.

It is also capable of 1080p high-definition video recording with image stabilisation and noise reduction for low-light recording.

Among the device’s other features are speech recognition for dictation (though not the Siri functionality that iPhone 4S owners will be familiar with) and 4G connectivity (though that speed is not yet available in the UK)