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Apple Intros New iPad, Apple TV: It's All About the Video

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In a press event today, Apple introduced the latest versions of the Apple TV set-top box and the new iPad (which is not officially called the iPad 3, but will be called that by everyone but Apple). For both products, the top improvements involve high-resolution video.

The updated Apple TV offers a higher-resolution 1080p user interface (UI). iTunes in the Cloud now works with movies, letting customers purchase movies on their desktop computers, for example, then stream them to their Apple TV-connected televisions. Improvements to the UI make it easy to find third-party apps and get movie recommendations. Apple is keeping the price at $99. The updated Apple TV will be available on March 16.

The iPad 3 is slightly thicker (0.37-inch) than the iPad 2 (0.34-inch) and a tad heavier (1.44 pounds compared to 1.33 pounds). The big feature here is the inclusion of "retina display," Apple's name for a high pixel density screen. This iPad offers a 2048x1536 resolution (compared to 1024x768 in the iPad 2). It's powered by an A5X processor, with quad-core graphics.

Buyers will be able to record video at 1080p with the iPad 3, making it an unwieldy but high-quality video camera. The new iSight rear camera has a 5 megapixel backside illuminated sensor, and is similar to that in the iPhone 4S. It's a big step up from the iPad 2's 0.7-megapixel rear camera. Video recording, thankfully, includes image stabilization.

Voice dictation will let users avoid the on-screen keyboard. The iPad 3 comes in 4G LTE versions, to the delight of many users, and can be used as a personal Wi-Fi hotspot. Pricing again starts at $499 for the Wi-Fi-only 16GB version and $629 for the 4G 16GB version. Apple is keeping the iPad 2 around, but dropping the price by $100. The iPad 3 will be available March 16.

Apple also showed off an updated iMovie app, now with storyboarding and new editing tools. A new iPhoto app allows for smooth photo editing.

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