March 20, 2012, 7:15 AM —
Don't mess with success: That was clearly the mantra for the third-generation iPad, which went on sale this past Friday. Although it has many improvements, they're all evolutionary -- unsurprising enhancements that will please users but do not justify an upgrade if you already own an iPad 2. Nor do they justify the whole-number version update that many expected. It's appropriate that Apple didn't call the new iPad an iPad 3.
The business users who will most appreciate the third-gen the iPad are those with aging eyes (such as myself), who travel internationally, and who do image- and photo-oriented work. For personal use, the 2,048-by-1,536-pixel Retina display ushers in a new era of hyperrealistic game play and noticeably crisper HD video playback. And you get all that for the same price as the previous iPads: $499 for a Wi-Fi-only model with 16GB of storage, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for 64GB. The Wi-Fi + 4G models cost $130 extra. (The iPad 2 remains available in just its 16GB models, which now cost $399 for Wi-Fi only and $529 for the Wi-Fi + 3G model.) Color options for the front bezel remain black and white.