Turning rumors into facts, Apple finally unveiled the third generation iPad in San Francisco Wednesday, the first major device released by the Cupertino-based tech giant in 2012.

While the New iPad will go on sale March 16, pre-orders are already available starting Wednesday. Coming in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models, the pricing for the device starts at $499 at the base model and goes up to $829 for the 64GB WiFi + 4G + 3G model.

With the 4G-ready New iPad set to be launched in the global markets next week, Apple has slashed the price of iPad 2 worldwide Thursday.

Apple said it dropped the iPad 2 price by $100 in the U.S. In India, the company slashed the price by Rs. 5000. As per the new pricing, the 16-GB base model of the iPad 2 that works only on Wi-Fi now costs Rs. 24,500, compared to Rs. 29,500 earlier.

The iPad 2 is now offered at a more affordable price of Rs. 24,500, inclusive of VAT for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and just Rs. 32,900, inclusive of VAT for the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model, Apple India said Thursday.

According to a company spokesman, the price cut will be across the board for all iPad 2 models in India. However, there is no information yet on when the New iPad will be available in India.

The New iPad

One thing is for sure that the New iPad looks just exactly the same as its predecessor - iPad 2. When iPhone 4S was launched, many people were disappointed as it looked similar to iPhone 4 and the highly rumored iPhone 5 was a no show. So history repeated itself once again, and excited Apple enthusiasts all around the world were left a little disheartened over what the new iPad didn't deliver, but were highly expected before.

Yes, the New iPad is not brand new, it's not so different, but armed with a full HD display with 3.1 million pixels, a four times faster processor and 4G LTE capability, the device is not a complete disappointment as well. The updates and new features are really smart and on-target.

Retina Display: The Retina display on the New iPad features a 2048 x 1536 resolution, 44 percent greater color saturation, and 3.1 million pixels - in the same 9.7-inch space. Apple claims that's four times the number of pixels in iPad 2 and a million more than an HDTV. The screen resolution of the device is very sharp and words on its screen appear sharper than words in print, Apple claims.

A5X Dual-Core CPU: The New iPad is powered by a new A5X processor, which will provide improved performance over the already-phenomenal A5 chip. Thanks to the new Quad-Core GPU, the device also offers four times the graphical performance of iPad 2.

The New iPad has 1GB of RAM, which is twice as much as in iPad 2.

4G LTE: The New iPad will offer high speed 4G LTE network connection on both the AT&T and Verizon wireless networks. The device also works on GSM/UMTS worldwide network technologies including HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA. It will offer download speeds up to 42 Mbps with DC-HSDPA and up to 21.1 Mbps with HSPA+.

10 Hours Battery Life: Apple claims that even with all that extra oomph, including the supercharged new processor, enhanced display and 4G LTE, the New iPad still gets an amazing 10 hours of battery life. 

Improved Camera: The third generation iPad features a 5 megapixel rear-facing iSight camera with support for 1080p video recording. However, the front-facing camera is same as the iPad 2.

iOS 5.1: Though it is an incremental update to iOS 5, the updated iOS 5.1 brings Siri dictation to the New iPad, among various other improvements. The update contains improvements and bug fixes, including Japanese language support for Siri, redesigned camera app for iPad, fixes for bugs affecting battery life, fixes and issue that occasionally caused audio to drop for outgoing calls and many more.

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