Apple's 3rd generation iPad may have dropped the "3" at the end of its name, but it made up for the missing number by adding to an already impressive list of cool uses for the iPad. The iPad was already a great family device, the perfect way to surf the web on your couch, an excellent eReader and can easily replace the GPS device in your car. Here are a few ways you can use the new iPad:
The iPad and iPad 2 are capable of high definition video, but only at 720p. The new iPad introduces 1080p video, which is the highest quality. In fact, the new 2,048 x 1,536 Retina Display actually exceeds the resolution of 1080p. The iTunes store has also been updated to include 1080p video, and for those that would rather watch on their big screen TV, you can easily connect your iPad to your TV.
In addition to just watching HD video, the new iPad includes a 5 MP iSight back-facing camera capable of shooting 1080p video. The new camera also includes updated software that includes automatic video stabilization (good for those of us who have trouble keeping the iPad still while recording) and a hybrid infrared filter to capture more accurate colors. Apple has also updated the iMovie app to include new movie trailers and the ability to import music from Garage Band.
Apple has a history of focusing on a software release to go alongside the iPad release, with the original iPad including key members of the iWork suite and the iPad 2 featuring Garage Band. For the iPad 3, Apple put the spotlight on the new Retina Display, including the ability to edit photos with iPhoto. Making its debut on an iOS device, iPhoto includes a Multi-Touch interface, brushes to paint adjustements and high-quality effects.
The inclusion of 4G support for both AT&T and Verizon means you'll hit the Internet with guns blazing. The new iPad is the first device from Apple to support 4G LTE, so this is our first chance to see apps super-charged with the enhanced network. It also means more time watching movies and less time watching them buffer.
The great part is the lack of an added charge for 4G that we see with some smartphones. The data plans from AT&T and Verizon remain mostly the same, with prices starting at $14.99 a month for 250 MB of data from AT&T and $20 a month for 1 GB of data from Verizon.
As an added bonus, you can even share that Internet connection. The new iPad can act as a hotspot for up to 5 devices, which can really come in handy for multi-iPad families. It's also the only way the original iPad and the iPad 2 can enjoy the 4G network. You can even share the connection to your iPod Touch, and it should work with any non-Apple product that accepts Wi-Fi connections.
Currently, only Verizon offers this feature. They also offer it at no additional charge. AT&T is still working out the details.
While it was widely assumed that the iPad 3 would include support for Siri, only the voice dictation piece of Apple's voice recognition software made it into the 3rd generation iPad. Of course, this doesn't mean Apple won't add support for Siri in an update later in the year, but for now, the iPhone 4S remains the only Apple product with Siri.
But don't dismiss the voice dictation. While asking your iPhone 4S to search for nearby pizza places is neat, it's really more valuable in a phone. The voice dictation -- which is available anytime you pull up the on-screen keyboard -- offers a way to overcome what many feel is the iPad's biggest weakness, which is the problem many people have with tapping out words on the display.
The iPad isn't new to gaming. In fact, it might be the ultimate device for casual gaming. But with a Retina Display and an updated chipset that includes a quad-core graphics processor, the new iPad paves the way for hardcore gaming.
No, don't sell your copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 quite yet. Game designers will still need to design games for a touch interface, which means certain games like first-person shooters will remain a little awkward. On the flip side, a game like Diablo 3 could easily make the jump, with Dungeon Hunter 2 already showing the world how well the iPad can produce a dungeon crawl.