Apple has become so huge that it doesn't need to name its products anymore.
The new iPad is due in stores at 8 am on Friday as the newest gadget from the tech leader is likely to cause another shopping frenzy at the 362 worldwide Apple stores. There have already been reports in Asia of hundreds of people lining up outside stores.
Apple stores, of course, aren't the only place to buy the newest tablet sensation. The new iPad can be purchased at Radio Shack, Target, AT&T and Verizon stores, Sam's Club, and Best Buy.
The large number of Apple enthusiasts waiting in line at those stores is understandable considering pre-orders for the new iPad have already delayed shipping as demand continues to increase. Those that chose to order online can wait until April to get their new iPad.
Some Americans may think that by purchasing the new iPad at 8:00 am that they would be the first to use the third-generation tablet, but they will be sadly mistaken. Australians are the first consumers in the world to own the new iPad, which went on sale just after midnight on Friday in two Telstra stores in Sydney and Melbourne.
Then there are those who are still weighing the idea of switching from iPad 2 to the new iPad, and the pros and cons of upgrading.
So how does the new iPad measure up to iPad 2?
The answer is pixels, as iPad 2 has 1024 x 768 pixels, while the new iPad has 2048 x 1536, giving it four times as many pixels. In all, there are 3.1 million pixels on the new screen. Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook pointed out that the new iPad has 1 million more pixels than a typical HDTV set.
Other than that, the new iPad is a just basic upgrade over iPad 2. Most of the new features simply include new apps, a faster processor, and an improved camera that shoots better photos and HD video.
Another thing that the new iPad has going for it is the Qualcomm LTE cellphone chip and a Qualcomm wireless modem for 3G and 4G. Those are bonuses that many consumers will greatly appreciate as it has become an increasingly key ingredient for gadget enthusiasts.
TheVerge.com offered this insight about the new iPad's speed: We've just confirmed that although the new iPad has incredibly fast download and upload speeds over LTE, FaceTime video chat still won't work directly on the 4G network.
Another drawback is the weight. The new iPad is reported to be slightly heavier than its predecessors.
The new iPad's price varies. The 16GB Wi-Fi model (US$499), 32GB (US$599) and 64GB (US$699) all basically give you what you pay for. For Wi-Fi and 4G versions, tack on an additional US$130.
It will be another big year for Apple, according to Canaccord Securities analyst Mike Walkley.
Said Walkley in a report: We believe Apple has extended its leadership position in the fast growing tablet market, and we have increased our 2012 and 2013 iPad tablet share estimates... We believe the new iPad has raised the bar relative to competing tablets with impressive hardware specs, competitive pricing, and the leading software ecosystem of over 200k iPad-specific applications... At MWC, our meetings with Android OEMs focused on smartphones as tablet OEMs indicated difficulty competing with the iPad 2, let alone the new iPad.
Apple may sell 65.6 million iPads, according to an estimate by Canaccord Genuity analysts.
This is the first major development for Apple since the iPhone 4S, which launched in October with its signature addition of Siri. Meanwhile, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) shares have skyrocketed since mid-December.
The stock price closed at 585.56 on Mar. 15.