At the launch event in San Francisco the company’s Chief executive Tim Cook claimed that the new iPad had “redefined once again the category Apple created”.
The new iPad features a 5-megapixel camera sensor and will be able to run on 4G LTE networks where the service is available and can act as a wi-fi hotspot for other devices if carriers allow the function.
It is 9.4mm deep, slightly thicker than the 8.8mm profile of the iPad 2. The basic 16GB model with only wi-fi will cost £399 and the top of the range 64GB model with wi-fi and 4G will cost £659.
Apple”s marketing chief Phil Schiller said the tablet has the same 10-hour estimated battery life as the previous model using only wi-fi. That limit shortens by an hour when using 4G.
Apple currently accounts for 62% of the global tablet market but ahead of the press conference said it expected that share to rise to 70% this year.
Reaction to the iPad was mixed. While Gartner saw it as an evolutionary device there was disappointment that the new device’s display did not include haptic touch-feedback technology or access to the iPhone 4S” voice-controlled Siri “intelligent assistant” as rumoured.
It is due to go on sale on 16 March in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and Japan.
The firm also announced an upgraded TV box which can now handle 1080p video.Films and TV shows will be sold via its iTunes store in the high-definition format.