Apple has announced the release of the new iPad at a press conference earlier today, which marks the release of the third generation of the company's tablet device. While the new iPad may not look all that different, but the hardware inside the device is actually much more powerful than previous versions.

The new iPad is due to hit shelves on March 16 and packs a mean brand new quad-core Apple A5X graphics processor and three different options for internal storage that include 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB of memory.

The new iPad will also have Retina display, which is what Apple calls their LED backlit liquid crystal displays. The screen has a 2048 x 1536 resolution and 3.1 million pixels.

The new front-facing iSight camera will have a 5-megapixel backside illuminated sensor, 5-element lens, Hybrid IR filter and Apple-designed ISP built into the A5X chip. It also has face-detection technology in addition to autofocus and white balance. The improvement should bring the iPad camera up to the level of the iPhone 4S.

The rear-racing camera will be equipped for 1080p video recording.

The new iPad will be the first device from Apple to support 4G LTE. Now if you remember, when 3G phones started showing up, they had different bands. Now the same thing is happening with LTE, said Philip Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple. So for example in the US, we'll have two versions of the iPad, one for Verizon and one for AT&T.

Around the world, they'll roam on 3G, Schiller added.

You'll also be able to use the devices as a personal hotspot for up to five devices. The new iPad will also feature voice dictation, though it won't be Siri. It will have the same battery life as the iPad 2, which is roughly 10 hours of battery life. It will be slightly heavier, though it remains nearly as slim as the iPad 2. The new iPad weighs 1.4lbs and is 9.4mm thick.

The new 4G iPads start at $629 for the 16 GB version. The price point is essentially the same as before. The 32 GB model is $729 and the 64 GB model is $829.

The new device will run on iOS 5.1, a brand new version of Apple's touchscreen operating system.

iPad 2 Tech Specs

The iPad 2 price has been cut to $399.

The iPad 2 was released in March 2011, roughly one year ago. It runs on a 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 processor, the predecessor to the quad-core Apple A5X. The iPad 2 came stocked with 512 MB of RAM and also had three different options for internal storage including 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB.

The iPad 2 included Apple's patented Retina display, though it only supported up to 720p high-definition. The device has a 1024×768 resolution, which is significantly weaker than the new iPad. The device also has two cameras: one rear-facing camera and one front-facing camera.

The iPad 2 also has 10 hours of battery, Bluetooth connectivity, WiFi and 3G.