To drive those extra pixels, the iPad uses the new A5X chip with a quad-core graphics unit. Yet Apple still claims up to 10 hours battery life.
Other changes include the incorporation of the 5MP iSight camera with 1080p video recording.
4G communications is built in (a Wi-Fi only model is still available), supporting LTE (700, 2100 MHz), UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz) and GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) via two antennas. In Australia, Telstra uses 1800MHz for 4G, while Optus will use 700MHz.
In the fine print, Apple warns that "The iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model you purchase is configured to work with a particular cellular network technology", but also claims "iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G models connect to GSM/UMTS networks worldwide. If you want a local connection when you're travelling, just pop in a local SIM card." So it sounds as if you shouldn't expect to be able to use a 4G service while travelling overseas.
The new iPad runs iOS 5.1, which is also available as an update for older devices. New features and enhancements include a redesigned Camera app with video stabilisation technology, Personal Hotspot, the ability to delete photos from Photo Stream and support for dictation in English, French, German and Japanese.
Please read on for app updates and pricing.
iMovie ($10.49) has been updated to support HD video and to generate "Hollywood-style" trailers with professional music soundtracks. Trailers can be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo and FaceBook, or streamed to the Apple TV at up to 1080p.
The GarageBand app has also been updated with Jam Session (up to three iOS devices can be played and recorded as a group), Smart Strings ("play an entire string orchestra with just one finger") and Note Editor to fine-tune Touch Instrument recordings.
Keynote, Pages and Numbers ($10.49 each) have all been updated to take advantage of the Retina display, among other changes.
As usual, app updates are free to existing owners.
"With the introduction of iPhoto, we've brought the entire suite of iLife apps to iOS and users are going to love it," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing. "Whether brushing an effect onto a photo, shooting a movie trailer or jamming with friends to record a song, iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand let you make amazing creations on iPad and iPhone."
Page 3: release date and pricing
Prices start at $539 for the 16GB Wi-Fi, ranging up to $899 for the 64GB Wi-Fi + 4G configuration. Both versions are offered in black or white.
If you prefer to save money, the previous model (now designated iPad 2) is still available at lower prices, starting at $429.