In this "Post-PC revolution" (quoted from Tim Cook), it surprised me that the first major announcement was AppleTV. The new model offers 1080p, which is long overdue. iCloud integration into AppleTV is what makes it really interesting to me. With the mirroring that is coming with OS X Mountain Lion, it may be enough to make me buy one this time. I'm a little surprised that it requires a new device rather than just a software update, but there you have it.
After they finally got to the iPad announcement, the much rumored retina display was finally confirmed and then demoed by Phil Schiller. He also confirmed that the Home button does indeed still exist (whew!). The new processor is also confirmed as the A5X, a "graphics powerhouse." They said it actually has more memory and screen resolution than the XBox 360 or PS3, according to the announcement.
Next new feature is a 5-megapixel camera that they call an iSight camera (haven't they used that name for something else in the past?). It has auto-focus and white balance as well as an IR filter. Some of the bloggers are saying it is the same as the iPhone 4 camera. They've also added 1080p HD video recording, which is not a big surprise.
Next new feature - voice dictation. They are not calling it Siri, but it does now have the microphone icon on the keyboard like the iPhone. So, I'm guessing this means you can dictate to it, but it's not interactive. In other words, you can dictate notes, emails, URLs, etc., but you can't ask it to create something for you like a reminder. You would have to physically go to the Reminders app and tap the microphone and dictate your reminder. All speculation on my part, but that's what it seems to be.
The last new feature is 4G LTE. This was another widely rumored feature that has finally been confirmed as available on both AT&T and Verizon. It also has a personal hotspot feature, if your carrier supports it.
The next main topic - the same battery life on 3G, 10 hours. For 4G LTE, they are saying 9 hours. The price also stays the same - 16G for $499. If you want 4G, then it's $629, $729 and $829.
As rumored, it will release on March 16th. Here's the really weird thing. They didn't give it a new name. Just "The New iPad." The iPad 2 will continue to be sold, but with a price drop of $399 for the wi-fi model and $529 for the wi-fi+3G.
The next announcements are software. First is iWork ($9.99 per app). Updates to all the apps - Keynote, Pages, and Numbers (free upgrade if you already own the apps). Garageband also has some upgrades that are demoed, including Smart Strings and Note Editor. iMovie has gotten a new storyboard and editing features. This will be really cool because of the new 1080p video recording directly on the iPad. It is at $4.99 (or free upgrade). The big one - iPhoto is being added to iPad. New effects and brushes, photo journals, smart browsing, multi-touch editing, and new gestures are all available in the iPad version. Oh, and photo beaming between devices. Interesting. Not sure the uses for that at this point, but we'll see. They spent quite a bit of time demoing this one. It will be $4.99 also. Looks like these are all available from the App Store today.
Okay, what are you waiting for? Follow me to the Apple store and get that credit card ready!