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Apple’s New iPad: Voice Recognition, HD Video (But No ‘iPad 3’)

New iPad also has high-speed 4G, iPhoto and retina display

Apple unleashed its new iPad Wednesday in San Francisco, announcing a “Post-PC World” where devices like the iPod, iPhone and iPad will supplant traditional computing devices.

“Apple has its feet firmly planted in the post-PC future,” CEO Tim Cook told the crowd, calling the iPad the “poster child” of that future.

The new device, just called “The New iPad” – not iPad 3 — comes with a plethora of new specs.

It has a “retina display,” a title bestowed because of the number of pixels its screen has. Its 3.1 million-pixel display boasts more than any mobile device and even outpaces HDTVs, according to Apple.

The new iPad also adds iPhoto (previous iPad version do not), voice speech recognition, high-definition video capacity and will support high-speed 4G LTE networks. Not every carrier has those yet, but AT&T and Verizon do, rewarding those lucky customers. It also has new versions of apps like Garage Band.

Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller handled the iPad portion of the show, walking people through the new screen and emphasizing the improved experience of playing games and using very visual apps. He brought out the game and app makers to show some demos.

Many on Twitter were already excited about the gaming experience, as summed up by tech writer MG Siegler – “Microsoft better hurry up with that new Xbox. Gaming on the new iPad is going to be killer.”

Apple's focus on the beauty of its new tablet's screen fits in with the idea of a post-PC world, one where consumers can use their iPad at home instead of a bulkier computer.

Earlier in the presentation, Cook said his company’s research suggests many iPad owners prefer using their tablet for e-mail, reading e-books, playing games, and browsing the Internet.

Still, some were disappointed that Apple did not unveil something unexpected. Reuters’ social media editor Anthony De Rosa tweeted, “Nothing unexpected from Apple today and I don't see a huge need to upgrade to the new iPad.”

Consumers will be able to get their hands on the new device starting March 16th, and the prices are the same as for the iPad 2 — $499 for the base 16-gigabyte version, $599 for 32GB and $699 for the 64GB. If you want the 4G wireless, that’s an additional $130.

The top price? $830.