NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Yorkers have a history of lining up for the latest and greatest Apple gadgets when they go on sale and Apple’s new iPad, revealed Wednesday, will be hitting stores in less than 10 days.
The upgrades are relatively minor: A sharper screen and faster processor – four times faster, in fact.
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Apple announced the prices aren’t changing for the device. Models start at $499, with variations capable of hitting cell networks at $629 and $829. This time around, the iPad is capable of hitting 4G networks. However, most iPads are used only on Wi-Fi, so an “LTE” chip wouldn’t matter to most buyers. In this respect, Apple is playing catch-up. Some competitors, such as Samsung and Motorola, already sell LTE-compatible tablets.
It will go on sale March 16. The iPad is expected to remain secure in its position as the king of tablets.
The new iPad includes the “Retina Display” currently in use on the iPhone 4 and 4s. The resolution is 2048 by 1536 pixels, which would make text look smoother and some high-resolution pictures look better. It won’t make much of a difference for images on the Web, or video.
Analysts expect the new iPad to be a success, riding on the popularity of the previous models, as well as pent-up demand from consumers who have been waiting for the new model.
The iPad 2 was a big step up from the original iPad, since Apple included a camera and reduced both the thickness and the weight of the device.
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Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst for Forrester Research, said hardware features aren’t that important to tablet buyers.
“It’s about the services, what you can do with the device,” she said in a blog post.
Apple’s competitors have slowly come to realize this, but only after bringing out dozens of tablets with whiz-bang features like 3-D cameras. The competitor that’s done the best is Amazon.com Inc. Its Kindle Fire tablet is cheaper than the iPad, but what really sets it apart is that it’s tied into Amazon’s book, movie and music stores, making it an easy route to entertainment, just like the iPad.
Still, the Kindle Fire has a long way to go. Epps estimates that Amazon sold 5.5 million Kindle Fires in the fourth quarter of last year. Meanwhile, Apple sold 15.4 million iPads, and has sold 55.3 million in total.
According to Canaccord Genuity, 63 percent of the tablets shipped last year were iPads. The only competitors with more than 5 percent market share were Amazon and Samsung Electronics Co.
The iPad launch comes as Apple has reached a rare milestone: last week, it was worth more than $500 billion. Only six other U.S. companies have been worth that much, and none have held that valuation for long.
On Tuesday, Apple’s stock had fallen, bringing its market value down to $493 billion, but analysts believe the company is worth closer to $550 billion.
Sree Sreenivasan is CBS2′s technology expert, appearing every Wednesday morning at 6:50 am to discuss ways to save you time, money and aggravation. He is also a social media blogger for CNET News. He is a professor and Dean of Student Affairs at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. You can find him onTwitter and Facebook and on his personal site. E-mail your questions with “CBS New York” as the subject line.
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