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IDG News Service - Apple on Wednesday announced the next version of its popular iPad tablet, which will be faster than its predecessor and have a higher resolution screen.
The new tablet will be able to display images at a resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels, which is around 3.1 million pixels, the company said at an event in San Francisco. That should enable the device to play sharper video.
The newest iPad improves on the company's iPad 2, which became available last year and came with a 9.7-inch screen and a dual-core processor. The iPad 2 screen was able to display images at a 1024 by 768 pixel resolution.
The new tablet will also have 4G LTE capabilities, which will enable faster data connectivity than the iPad 2. Carriers including Verizon and AT&T, Rogers, Bell, and Telus will provide LTE connectivity for the new iPad.
The next iPad will provide 10 hours of battery life on active usage and nine hours on 4G usage. It will weigh 1.4 pounds (635 grams) and run on an A5X processor, which has a quad-core graphics cores, enabling high-resolution graphics.
The next iPad will have software to make it a personal hotspot. If a carrier supports it, the iPad can share a high-speed network with up to five devices.
The tablet will have voice dictation technology. The company's most recent iPhone 4S smartphone also included natural dictation technology called Siri to make phone calls, get maps or organize meetings.
The new iPad will be available March 16 in the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Hong Kong. It will be available in 25 more countries a week later.
The starting price will be US$499 for the 16GB model and $699 for 64GB. With 4G connectivity, the price will be $629 for the 16GB model and $829 for 64GB.
(Information from Macworld's live blog of the Apple event was used in this report.)