Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

New iPad two weeks away

Apple's new iPad will be available here in two weeks - but one expert says its lack of revolutionary innovations means the best thing about it will be greatly reduced price of the previous model.

The iPad 3, with a sharper screen and faster processor, was unveiled by Apple chief executive Tim Cook yesterday.

Versions capable of accessing cellular networks will cost US$629 to US$829, but New Zealand pricing has not been announced.

The tablet will go on sale here on March 23, one week after its debut in larger markets such as the United States and Britain.

It will have a display Apple says will be sharper than high-definition televisions, a new chip for smoother graphics, upgraded camera and updated software.

It will be slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, because it needs a larger battery to sustain its 10-hour life.

Apple said yesterday it would keep the basic model of the iPad 2 in production and would drop the price.

Wellington technology commentator Peter Griffin said: "There's really nothing revolutionary there in terms of new functionality ... no game-changing technologies.

"I think the exciting part of it really is that the iPad 2 is going to be pretty cheap now ... ultimately, I think increasingly a lot of people will be getting by at home on tablets."

The iPad 2 will remain in production but its 16GB model price dropped from $799 to $579.

At yesterday's launch in San Francisco, Mr Cook spoke of a "post-PC" era dominated by products like the iPad.

But Jason Bell, general manager of merchandise for the Noel Leeming Group, which includes Bond & Bond stores, said so far indications were that tablets were being bought to complement PCs, not replace them.

"We're still getting good growth in notebook sales, year on year."

The new iPad will be 9.4mm thick. That compares with 8.8mm, or 0.34in, for the iPad 2.

The weight is going up from 0.6kg to 0.65kg for the Wi-Fi-only model. The original iPad weighed 0.68kg.

* Arrives in NZ on March 23.
* New Zealand price not yet announced.
* Sharper screen and faster processor among features.
* iPad 2 price dropped to $579 from $799.

- NZ Herald

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