Will the new iPad announced Wednesday be compatible with the Smart Cover that was rolled out last year with the iPad 2? 

During his keynote at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook did not give any indications whether a new Smart Cover would be available. We can infer that iPad 2 Smart Covers will be compatible with the new iPad, so don't worry about having to shell out a few extra dollars after coughing up at least $499 for the new tablet. 

The new iPad is slightly thicker and heavier than its predecessor at .37 inches thick and weighing 1.4 pounds.

The iPad 2 is .34 inches thick and weighs 1.33 pounds. It has a width of 7.31 inches and a length of 9.50 inches.

Rumors indicated the new iPad's dimensions make it compatible with the Smart Cover launched with the iPad 2, CNET.com's John Falcone mentioned during his liveblog of the keynote.

Ever since the Smart Cover was released for use with the iPad 2, users ran the risk of damage to the back of the tablet if it was dropped. The Smart Cover only protects the iPad's sleek multi-touch display.

Fans of the iPad have clamored for a new cover that also protects the back of the tablet.

Pricing for the new iPad, launching March 16, is the same as when the iPad 2 was rolled out in March 2011. The iPad 2 will be getting a price reduction.

The 16 GB version of the new iPad will set you back $499, the 32GB one will be available for $599 and those who want the 64 GB will have to pony up $699.

For the added convenience of 4G LTE coverage, those prices shoot up to $629, $729 and $829, respectively.

Those in America, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany Switzerland and Japan will be the first to own the new iPad.