The 3rd-generation iPad, marketed as the “The new iPad” and informally referred to as the iPad 3, was announced by Apple on March 7, 2012 at a media event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Its design is similar to the iPad 2.
The Retina display has four times as many pixels as the iPad 2 and one million more pixels than a HD television. It also features the new dual-core 1 Ghz Apple A5X processor with quad-core graphics and a 5 megapixel iSight camera with 5 f/2.4 size element lenses, and capable of 1080p video recording, a significant upgrade from the 0.7 megapixel camera and 720p video from the iPad 2. As with previous iPads, there are two models, a Wi-Fi only model and a Wi-Fi + 4G LTE version for connecting via a cellular network when Wi-Fi is unavailable. The new iPad also has Siri dictation. The user speaks, and the iPad types it on the screen. Lastly,it also has Bluetooth which both the iPhone 4S has and the 2011 MacBook Air have. The 3rd generation iPad is upgradable to iOS 9.3.6.
The Smart Cover, introduced with the iPad 2, is a screen protector that magnetically attaches to the face of the iPad. The cover has three folds which allow it to convert into a stand, which is also held together by magnets. While original iPad owners could purchase a black case that included a similarly folding cover, the Smart Cover is meant to be more minimal, easily detachable, and protects only the screen. Smart Covers have a microfiber bottom that cleans the front of the iPad, and wakes up the iPad when the cover is removed. There are five different colors of both polyurethane and leather, with leather being more expensive than the polyurethane version.
The new iPad comes with several applications by default, including Safari, Mail, Photos, Videos, YouTube, iTunes, App Store, iBooks, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Game Center, Photo Booth, and Contacts. Like all iOS devices, the new iPad can sync with a Mac or PC using iTunes, though this is not necessary as iOS 5 and later can be completely PC-free. Although the new iPad is not designed to make phone calls over a cellular network, a user can use a wired headset or the built-in speaker and microphone and place phone calls over Wi-Fi or cellular using a VoIP application.
The 3rd generation iPad also supports GarageBand, iMovie, iPhoto, and the iWork apps Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. These applications do not come with the iPad but are instead official applications from Apple sold within the App Store. The 3rd generation iPad can act as a hotspot, sharing its internet connection over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB. It can also access the App Store, a digital application distribution platform for iOS developed and maintained by Apple. The service allows users to browse and download applications from the iTunes Store that were developed with the iOS SDK or Mac SDK and published through Apple.
Like all iOS devices, the 3rd generation iPad employs Digital Rights Management to prevent users from copying or transferring certain content outside of Apple's platform without authorization, such as TV shows, movies, and apps. Also, the iPad's development model requires anyone creating an app for the iPad to sign a non-disclosure agreement and pay for a developer subscription. Critics argue Apple's centralized app approval process and control of the platform itself could stifle software innovation. Of particular concern to digital rights advocates is Apple's ability to remotely disable or delete apps on any iPad at any time.
Researchers demonstrated within hours of the product's release that the 3rd generation iPad can be "jailbroken", allowing applications and programs that are not authorized by Apple to run on the device. Four separate methods of jailbreaking the new iPad have been discovered, but none are yet stable enough to release to the public. Apple claims that jailbreaking voids the factory warranty on the device in the United States even though jailbreaking is legal.
There are four physical switches on the 3rd generation iPad, including a home button near the display that returns the user to the main menu, and three plastic physical switches on the sides: wake/sleep and volume up/down, plus a software-controlled switch whose function has changed with software updates. The display responds to other sensors: an ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness and a 3-axis accelerometer to sense iPad orientation and switch between portrait and landscape modes. Unlike the iPhone and iPod Touch's built-in applications, which work in three orientations (portrait, landscape-left and landscape-right), the iPad's built-in applications support screen rotation in all four orientations, including upside-down. Consequently, the device has no intrinsic "native" orientation; only the relative position of the home button changes.
Apple offers several more accessories for the 3rd generation iPad, most of which are adapters for the proprietary 30-pin dock connector, the iPad's only port besides the headphone jack. A dock holds the iPad upright at an angle, and has a dock connector and audio line out port. The iPad can use Bluetooth keyboards that also work with Macs and PCs. The iPad can be charged by a standalone power adapter ("wall charger") also used for iPods and iPhones, and a 10 W charger is included with the iPad.
Models of the new iPad are manufactured either with or without the capability to communicate over a cellular network; all models can connect to a wireless LAN. The 3rd generation iPad is compatible with the Smart Cover that Apple introduced alongside the iPad 2. The 3rd generation iPad has three capacity options for storage: 16, 32, or 64 GB of internal flash memory.
Comparison with previous model
All data is stored on the internal flash memory, with no option to expand storage. Apple sells a "camera connection kit" with an SD card reader, but it can only be used to transfer photos and videos. The new iPad has a lithium-ion polymer battery that lasts up to 11.6 hours; an Apple A5X SoC with dual-core CPU and quad-core graphics processor; a 5-megapixel, rear-facing camera capable of 1080p video recording; and a VGA front-facing videophone camera designed for FaceTime.
The display resolution is 2048×1536 (QXGA) with 3.1 million pixels—four times more pixels than the iPad 2—and is a resolution that eases transition from the original with even scaling. The new iPad however is slightly thicker than its older sibling by 0.6 mm and is heavier by 51 grams for the WiFi model (652 grams). The 4G LTE models (both at 662 grams) are 49 grams heavier for the AT&T model and 55 grams heavier for the Verizon model compared to the respective iPad 2 3G models (AT&T 3G iPad 2 is 613 grams, and Verizon 3G iPad 2 is 607 grams). A preliminary teardown of the 3rd generation iPad by IHS iSuppli showed that the 16GB LTE iPad costs $358.30 to produce, the 32GB LTE iPad costs $375.10, and the 64GB LTE version costs $408.70 to produce.
The 3rd generation iPad was released on March 16, 2012 in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It will also be released on March 23, 2012 in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Demand for pre-orders were so high for the 3rd generation iPad that later orders were quoted shipping times of "two to three weeks" after the order was placed. Apple said that "customer response to the new iPad has been off the charts and the quantity available for pre-order has been purchased". Despite the delayed shipping, many users are choosing to purchase the iPad online instead of waiting in line at the Apple Store. Approximately 750 people waited outside the Fifth Avenue Apple Store for the release of the iPad.
According to an Apple press release, three million iPads were sold in the first three days following its release which is a great amount of sales in such little time.
The reviews of the iPad are very positive. Many praise the 3rd generation iPad's Retina display and LTE capabilities. Tim Stevens of Engadget said that "If you're disappointed Apple didn't do more with the new iPad, that's probably because you haven't seen the new Retina display yet." Some are criticizing that the new iPad is slightly thicker and heavier.
Walt Mossberg of All Things Digital said that the 3rd generation iPad "has the most spectacular display I have ever seen in a mobile device" and that "since it launched in 2010, the iPad has been the best tablet on the planet. With the new, third-generation model, it still holds that crown". Jonathan Spira, writing in Frequent Business Traveler, magazine said that "Perhaps Apple should have called the Retina Display 'Magic Glasses' because it really seems to make everything sharper and clearer (and I’m coming at this with really good eyesight to begin with)".