Tim Cook takes the stage
Apple CEO Tim Cook welcomed the crowd for joining him in San Francisco. He started by talking about the post-PC revolution, mentioning Apple's three blockbuster products: The iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad—the focus point of Wednesday's event.
Apple in Amsterdam
Cook talked about Apple's retail efforts, as a place where people can discover and research their devices before purchasing them. Apple's newest store in Amsterdam is the company's largest store. "There were a few people who were waiting to see the inside of the store," Cook joked in front of a photo of a very crowded store opening. Other notable stats: Apple has 362 retail stores worldwide, with 110 million visitors in Q4 2011.
iOS software update
On to some new products! Tim Cook announced iOS 5.1, available on Wednesday. The new mobile OS included a number of updates, including Siri's ability to speak Japanese, a new camera shortcut in the lock screen, and more. Read more about iOS 5.1 here.
Watch some Apple TV
The first hardware announcement for the day was Apple's third-generation Apple TV. The new Apple TV looks exactly like its predecessor, but features a new user interface with iOS-like buttons (as seen above). The set top box also sports a new A5 chip, making it possible to watch 1080p video. For more about the Apple TV, check out our FAQ.
Cook introduces the new iPad
It's what everyone's been waiting for: Apple's newest iPad. While we were all wrong about the iPad's name—Cook and crew referred to the device only as "the iPad" or "the new iPad"—Apple's third-generation tablet did get a number of hardware updates that many expected...
A high-res display
Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller took the stage to talk about the third-generation iPad's new features, most importantly the new Retina display. The iPad has a 2048 by 1536 pixel display, to be exact, with 264 pixels packed into every inch of the tablet's 9.7-inch display.
More than an HDTV
"For the first time, an iPad has a higher resolution than even the display behind me," Schiller said on Wednesday. Read more about the iPad's new Retina display.
The third-generation iPad also got a speed boost with Apple's latest A5X chip, an upgrade from its A5 predecessor. The A5X is a dual-core processor that features quad-core graphics.
According to Schiller, the A5X offers four times faster performance than the Tegra 3 processor and two times the performance of the A5. While graphics performance is greatly improved, let's be clear that the third-generation is not a quad-core device.
New and improved cameras
The iPad's rear-facing camera got a megapixel boost with what Apple dubbed the iSight camera. At 5 megapixels, the iPad's back rear-facing camera features an illumination sensor, an IR filter, auto-exposure and - focus, and more. It can also record HD video at 1080p resolution. The front-facing camera remains VGA for FaceTime calling and quick snapshots.
It's not Siri, but...
The iPad didn't get the iPhone 4S's personal assistant Siri, but you will be able to use the tablet's microphone for dictation anywhere a keyboard can be used. For instance, messages, emails, and more.
The new iPad is the first Apple device to get access to the 4G LTE network, available from AT&T or Verizon. This means that the third-generation iPad will get as much as ten times faster speeds compared to 3G access. All iPad will also offer 3G support and can serve as a personal hotspot.
Graphics show and tell
To show off its graphics horsepower, Apple had developers use the third-generation iPad for some high-powered apps. Here, Epic Games' president, Mike Capps, shows the crowd the new Infinity Blade: Dungeons.
On the productivity side, Apple updated its iWork apps for iOS. Keynote, Pages, and Numbers all got updated features that take advantage of the third-generation iPad's Retina display, including new 3D charts and animations, builds and transitions, and more. The apps are available now for $10 on the App Store.
Apple reaffirms that the iPad is a tool for media creation and consumption with its new GarageBand, iMovie, and iPhoto iOS apps. GarageBand adds smart strings, keyboards, and drums; a note editor; and a feature called 'Jam Session.' It's now possible to create movie trailers with iMovie, new movie templates, and more. The new iPhoto app got a bit more attention...
iPhoto for iOS
Apple's chief architect of video, photo applications Randy Ubillos took the stage to show the crowd what iPhoto for iOS has to offer. The $5 app gives users an extensive suite of gesture-based editing tools, sharing capabilities, and more. Read our deeper look at iPhoto for iOS here.
Buying the iPad
To finish off the event, Phil Schiller put up the prices of the third-generation iPad and the now-reduced price of the iPad 2. Now, who are we going to see in line on March 16?