Apple has delivered details on the next version of its iPad tablet device.
The company said that the new iPad would include support for 4G LTE connectivity along with a number of key hardware updates.
Users can expect to see a significant upgrade in image quality from the introduction of the Retina display to the iPad line. First introduced in the iPhone 4, the Retina display on the new model offers ultra-high resolution of 2048x1536 at 264 pixels per inch (ppi).
Additionally, the device will offer a 5-megapixel camera, 1080p HD video and will be powered by Apple's new A5 processor.
Among the software updates to be delivered for the tablet by the iOS 5.1 update include the addition of voice dictation and updates to the Camera, iPhoto and iTunes applications.
The company said that the new iPad, set to launch on 16 March in the US and UK, will range in cost from £399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi only device to the £659 64GB 4G-equipped tablet.
Vinita Jakhanwal, senior manager for small and medium displays at analyst firm IHS noted that the company's recent decision to partner with manufacturing firms could help to keep profit margins up in spite of an expected increase in hardware costs.
"Apple is likely to incur a significant price premium for using the higher-resolution display in the new iPad," Jakhanwal noted.
"However, manufacturers are expected to grant discounts, especially because Apple, in all likelihood, has made investments in display makers like LG, Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display."
The release builds on what has thus far been a tablet market dominated by Apple.
Gartner research vice president Carolina Milanesi told V3 that the hardware updates, combined with Apple's already strong software and service bundles, should allow the iPad to maintain its solid hold on the market.
"Other vendors will struggle to match [the] price with similar features," Milanesi explained.
"Consumers with first gen iPad will certainly have enough reasons to upgrade to and second gen owners with no income limitations will also upgrade and hand down their current device."
While analysts were for the most part enthusiastic on the update, some industry pundits were underwhelmed by the new iPad.
Fred Huet, managing director of Greenwich Consulting, said that Apple had failed to address many of the challenges presented by competitors in the cloud service space.
"While the iCloud is a good offering, further functionality is needed in order to up Apple’s game against the likes of Google and Amazon," Huet explained.
"The fact that iTunes in the cloud now supports movies is a step in the right direction."
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