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FAQ: What you need to know now about the 'new iPad'

Gregg Keizer | March 9, 2012
Now that Apple has unveiled the new iPad and is touting what's changed, like the screen, and what hasn't, like the prices, you've got questions. We've got the answers.

Can I use my iPad 2 case with the new model? Depends. Apple's SmartCover works equally well on both tablets, as does OtterBox's Defender total-surround case. Closer-fitting sleeves or covers, however, like those produced by Case-Mate, won't: That Atlanta-based company will start shipping new iPad-suitable accessories March 15.

Where's Siri on the iPad? Missing..., put out an all-points bulletin!

While the full-featured Siri is famous -- or depending on your take, infamous -- on the iPhone 4S, it didn't made the trip to the iPad. Instead, Apple dropped in the dictation portion of that technology via iOS 5.1, the upgrade that shipped yesterday for older mobile devices and that powers the new iPad.

By touching a new icon beside the space bar on the on-screen keyboard, you can talk in English, French, German and Japanese, and the iPad will type. And no, we don't know how accurate it will be. We assume, however, that there will be at least one or two blog posts citing side-splitting mistakes.

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, called the missing Siri his biggest disappointment, but rationalized the non-move by speculating that Apple didn't want a second device using Siri, which remains in beta. Once Apple's worked out the kinks, he was confident the company would offer Siri to the new iPad through an iOS update.

That seems reasonable, if only because a new tablet won't show until a year from now, and one would expect Apple would want to tout the technology on its tablet before then.

Is the new iPad camera the same one Apple uses in the iPhone 4S? No. Even though Apple tags both with the 'iSight' moniker, the new iPad's primary camera is a 5-megapixel camera; the iPhone 4S sports an 8-megapixel camera.

Actually, the new tablet's camera is closer in quality to the 5-megapixel one in the 2010 iPhone 4, which Apple still sells. The iPad's camera features a five-element lens, while the iPhone 4's has a four-element lens, like the iPhone 4S.

Video recording specs on the iPad's and iPhone 4S' cameras, however, are identical, boasting HD quality (1080p) at up to 30 frames a second.

Should I order now or wait? Your call, as always.

But unless Apple really turns around its past production history, be warned: There will probably be delays between ordering and shipping as the days fly by. Analysts who closely follow the display space, for example, have bet that Apple will have a five-to-six-month stretch during which it's unable to make enough tablets.

In part, that will be due to production bottlenecks around the new, higher-resolution display, but other exacerbating factors include the faster roll-out of the new iPad: Apple's launching the tablet on March 16 in 10 countries -- including the U.S. and the U.K. -- with another 25 markets following on March 23, just a week later.


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