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It’s not easy to improve on an extraordinary product, but Apple has managed to do just that with its third-generation iPad, or unofficially ‘iPad 3′.

At first glance, you might not think the new 9.7-inch touchscreen tablet looks any different than last year’s iPad 2 — but closer inspection will reveal some impressive differences.

First and foremost, you’ll notice a much better-looking screen. Referred to as a “Retina display” and similar to what’s in the iPhone 4 and 4S, the new iPad packs four times more pixels – the little dots that make up the image – than the first two iPad models. Photos have a lot more detail (and with 44 percent better colour saturation), videos are sharper (now with support 1080p movies) and the text on websites and e-books look super crisp.

The second major feature is support for 4G/LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks that deliver broadband-like speeds via cellular connectivity. Rather than try to find a Wi-Fi hotspot at a cafÈ, you can now stream high-def TV shows and movies, download huge apps and browse the web as fast as your home’s high-speed Internet connection – or faster – even when you’re on a park bench or riding the train to work. LTE connectivity is rapidly expanding across Canada and when you step out of these coverage areas the iPad will seamlessly fall back on HSPA+ (3.5G) network.

Other improvements in the iPad include a faster processor (A5X chip) with a quad-core graphics processor; 5-megapixel iSight camera with 1080p video recording (plus the front-facing cam, too); and a dictation feature that will translate your words into text before your eyes (ideal for email composition, notes and web browsing).

Despite the additions, battery life remains the same at an industry-leading 10 hours for most tasks (9 hours on LTE). To accommodate the new battery, the new iPad is slightly heavier (1.44 pounds) and thicker (9.4mm) than the iPad 2 (at 1.33 pounds and 8.8mm thick).

Overall, the new iPad delivers the goods thanks to a major leap in screen quality and wireless connectivity, not to mention better processor speeds, graphical performance and other features like a better camera and voice dictation.

So, who wants one?


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