By Frank Ling

San Francisco, CA | It was a typical day in the city yesterday; a brisk 50 degrees with the sun shining brightly in an almost cloudless blue sky that many native San Franciscans are used to, but is seen as an anomaly in other parts of the nation during this time of year. And Apple’s press conferences about the new iPad launch reflects this day nicely — bright and brisk.

This was the setting for the announcement of the new iPad at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, walked onto a stage that was adorned with purple backdrops and blue lighting. People packed in, anticipating the latest release, which would be called the "new iPad." Clever, right?  

"When we set out to create the iPad we set out to create not just a new product but a new category,” Cook said. “In order to do that the iPad had to be the best device for doing some of the things that you do most often. ...Today we're announcing the new iPad, and it is amazing."  

The biggest revelation being the new iPad will have the highest resolution of any tablet on the market with a 1080P Retina display. It will also sport a brand new 5-megapixel backside illuminated sensor, five-lens back-facing camera,1080p video recording, 4G LTE, and a A5X quad-core processor.

It will be slightly thicker than the iPad 2 and will come in at 9.4mm and tips the scales at 1.4 pounds. Some iPad 2 features will be carried on to the New iPad such as Wi-Fi hotspot capability.  Siri, which is still missing at the moment, will probably be included in a future OS update.

During the presentation, a big emphasis was placed upon an improved graphics capabilities. Games such as Namco’s Sky Gamblers, an aircraft fighter title, will be available and offer video game console-like playing experiences.

The retina display was the center of attention as videos and photos were displayed on the new device. Other highlights include voice dictation in English, French, German and Japanese; nine hours of battery life on the 4G network; true drawing capabilities; and intensive video and photo editing features.

The crowd was impressed, but the jury is still out on whether Apple hit this one out of the park. Perhaps it should have simply been called the improved iPad. 

The price of the 16GB New iPad is $499; the 32GB version is $599, and the 64GB version will sell at $699.

And not so surprising was the announcement that the present-gen iPad 2 will be discounted. It will drop in price from $499 to $399 — a hundred buck discount and a great price for first time iPad buyers.

The New iPad is being portrayed as a powerful multimedia tablet that allows users to do all of their music, photo, video, and art tasks all in one convenient, portable device, and on this level, it meets expectations, but the big question is whether it exceeded the expectations of Apple fans.

The iPad 2 already handles these tasks, so the question begs: Should you upgrade to the New iPad? That depends on three things: 1) Do you have the resources (money); 2) Do you believe the upgraded graphics and quad-core processor are worth the price of admission, and 3) Do you need to have the latest tech, no matter what?

If you can answer yes to all of the questions above, go buy yourself the third gen. If not, save your pennies for the next iPad that will come around next year in March or April.

Frank Ling is the SF Gadgets Examiner and has been a writer, professional photographer, video producer, video game QA trainer and video editor.

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