Apple iPad 3 liveblog

March 7, 2012: 1:11 PM ET

The technology giant is unveiling its latest in California.

By JP Mangalindan, writer-reporter

FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) is expected to unveil a new iPad today, thought to be named the iPad 3 or iPad HD. As with all major product releases from Cupertino, rumors have been zipping around the Web in anticipation of today's announcement. A screen with a Retina display-like 2,048 x 1,536 resolution -- nearly double the resolution of the current model -- seems like a lock. Whatever else the next iPad brings -- a quad-core processor? 4G LTE support? -- is anyone's guess until 10 AM PST / 1 PM EST, when Apple execs take the stage in San Francisco.

Tune back in to this live blog, which we'll update throughout the event. (Just remember to refresh.) Also, check back in to afterwards for our hands-on impressions.

11:23: That's a wrap! Stayed tuned for potential hands-on impressions.

11:23: Cook is thanking the employees now. "Only Apple could deliver this kind of innovation in a such a beautiful, integrated, and easy-to-use way. It's what we love to do. It's what we stand for. Across the year, you're going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation. We are just getting started."

11:21: Switch over to another TV ad. Sentimental piano playing the background. "The stunning new Retina display... on the new iPad."

11:21: Schiller hands off to Cook. "We've redefined the category the iPad created with this new device."

11:20: The iPad 2 will remain on sale, but the price drops by $100. Starting today, it'll start at $399 WiFI for 16 GB. Schiller says the newer price point will help the tablets find their way into schools.

11:19: Tsao: "It's the ultimate iPad, and we think it's going to change how you see and do just about everything."

11:16: Now, we're getting a brief tutorial on the Retina Display and how it's a major breakthrough. Sharper! Wider color depth! Most advanced display we've ever seen!

11:13: Schiller's back onstage to demo an iPad commercial. Michael Tsao, iPad Product Marketing is narrating. Seems like they venture far and wide to film this, with gorgeous shots of streets and neighborhoods in Asia.

11:12: If you're looking to assemble a narrative, say an album about a trip, users can now assemble those photos together, use a mapping feature to automatically pinpoint location, even dig up what the weather was like the day those photos were taken.

11:10: Now he's tweaking a vignette effect to a desert photo by pinching in various ways. (Something tells me users will download the app just to do things like this.)

11:08: Still demo-ing iPhoto. He's lightening portions of a skier's face simply by rubbing his finger across her face. Colleage Adam Lashinsky, who's next to me: "That's amazing."

11:06: There's a great new feature which intuitively lets users crop and straighten images. Adjusting the brightness and contrast is simply a matter of touching an icon on the lower left and sliding a gauge on the lower right.

11:02: iPhoto organizes albums on virtual bookshelves. You can compare photos side-by-side by pressing and holding them. Handily enough, the app will also analyze similar photos and put them side-by-side if you choose.

11:01: A new photo-beaming feature will allow devices to "beam" or transmit photos wirelessly to one another.

11:00: iPhotos for iPad.

10:59: A trailer called "Princess Tales" is on now with a ridiculously adorable girl running around, blowing bubbles, in a princess outfit. In the background: an epic Fantasia-like soundtrack.

10:58: A new version of iMovie will let you create trailers, too. Fill in an "outline" form for  trailer credits resembling a streamlined Mad Libs template.

10:57: Garage Band will stay $4.99, with the updated version also immediately available in the App Store.

10:55: Schiller explains how a new Garage Band feature, "Jam Session," will allow users to essentially jam together. He's showing off a clip of five iPad users each taking on a different instrument, from percussion to piano.

10:54: Apple apps like Pages and Garage Band will be refreshed for the new iPad as well via free software update for the same $9.99 a la carte price.

10:53: Infinity Blade Dungeon wraps up. No release date.

10:50: They're showing off a new Infinity Blade game called "Dungeons." One scene they're showing off, a level with heavy depth of focus, and explosive lava layers looks gorgeous. PlayStation 2-like, only cleaner.

10:49: The third and last developer? Epic Games. Mike Capps, President is here.

10:49: Schiller is back, explaining how being able to draw on the tablet without seeing pixels will really help artists on the go.

10:48: Cheung explains how they developed a new rendering engine for their app. Expect it this April exclusively on iOS.

10:47: They're introducing a new drawling app, Sketchbook Ink, which is compatible with Sketchbook Pro.

10:46: Chris Cheung, Sketchbook Product Line Manager of Autodesk, is taking the stage. "In our 29 year history, Autodesk has become a leader in software with over 10 million professional customers. With iOS, we've been able to reach tens of millions of new users in only two years."

10:44: "The  [new iPad] is the only place to truly experience the intensity of action and richness." Shelton reveals the new game will launch exclusively on the iPad later this month.

10:43: Shelton shows an aerial view of a city, pointing out effects like heat waves generated by a jet.

10:42: They're bringing up three third-party developers to demonstrate the new iPad's performance. Up first: James Shelton, Game Design Director for the game company namco.

10:41: Schiller is talking software now, emphasizing that native Apple apps have been customized to take advantage of the Retina display.

10:40: Available March 16 domestically.

10:39: Price point stays the same, starting at $499 for the base 16 GB WiFi model.

10:38: The new iPad still packs 10 hours of battery life, though it drops to 9 hours if you use 4G, a figure that still beats many other tablets.

10:37: To quickly sum up: The new iPad has a Retina display, quad-core processor, 5 megapixel iSight camera, voice dictation, 1080p camera taking ability, 4G LTE, and personal hotspot.

10:36: Global carriers supporting this new iPad will include AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, Bell and Telus.

10:34: Schiller's showing off the different in speeds between 3G and 4G. Photos load significantly quicker, as do videos.

10:33: Next-generation wireless! They're adding 4G LTE support.

10:33: 4th feature: voice dictation. Now there's aa new key at the bottom, a microphone. Tap the button, dictate an email message, and it'll translate that to text.

10:30: You can now take videos in 1080p.

10:29: Schiller's showing off photos taken with the new camera. Pretty darned beautiful. Maybe not quite as sharp as iPhone 4S images, but pretty darned good. Colors are indeed vibrant.

10:28: That's the first feature. The second feature? An iSight camera. The iSight camera has the optical system of the iPhone 4S, 5 megapixel camera, 5-element lens.

10:27: That enables this iPad to have 4x the performance.

10:27: Schiller reveals it's running on an A5X chip with quad-core graphics.

10:26:  The new iPad has 44% better color saturation than the iPad 2's display.

10:24: "Photos are just going to look amazing on this high-resolution display... The fonts are amazing and are a step forward." 2,048 x 1,536 resolution. Over 3.1 million pixels -- the most ever on a mobile device. Compare that to a  high-definiton TV, with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, your TV actually has less pixels than the new iPad. (Crazy, no?)

10:23: RETINA DISPLAY. "To this day, no one has matched the display [on the iPhone]. For the first time, the iPad has a higher display than the screen behind me."

10:22: Cook invites Phil Schiller to take the stage and demo the new iPad.

10:22: The new iPad! "We're redefining the category we created with the new iPad."

10:21: Cook says inferior app experiences on competitive tablets are the primary reason they're just not selling as well.

10:20: Cook points to the Twitter app running on a Samsung tablet, panning its look. "It just looks like it's blown up." Then he compares it to the streamlined iPad app.

10:19: There are now over 200,000 iPad-friendly apps out there, including games like Infinity Blade. "There are over 100 competitive tablets that came to market just last year... You won't find that great experience."

10:17: Customers love using the iPad for a variety of tasks from playing games to reading e-books. (In other words, there's a lot of iPad love out there.)

10:16: Apple sold more iPads than PCs from PC makers like Acer and Lenovo worldwide last year. "This is a product that is less than two years old."

10:16: Cook is back onstage. "The iPad momentum has surprised almost everyone. We sold 15.4 million last quarter alone"

10:13: Cue is taking us through the movies, pointing out the top menu options up top including Purchased and Top Movies. Cue: "Looks fantastic in 1080p."

10:12: Made access to third parties like Netflix easier.

10:12 TV shows the day after you air. With iTunes match, all of your songs, your playlists, all from iCLoud. You can still get access form computer.

10:11: Eddy Cue is coming up to demo Apple TV.

10:08: 585,000 apps in the app store.

10:06 Sold 62 million iOS devices just last quarter.

10:04: They're now playing a video of the Grand Central store location to the song "We Are Young." Cut to customers screaming and pumping fists. (Apparently you can get Grand Central Apple store shirts.)

10:02: Tim Cook is talking about the Amsterdam store, which just opened over the weekend. They now have 362 retail stores. (362!) 110 million customers visited just last quarter.

Tim Cook.

10:00: The iPod reinvented the way we listened to music and played games. The iPhone... reinvented the way the phone should be. The iPad, the revolutionary device that defined a whole new category. In many ways, the iPad is outstripping the wildest of predictions.

9:59: Tim Cook is taking the stage. "Let's talk about the digital revolution..."

9:50: Seated alongside colleague Adam Lashinsky, waiting for the show to start. Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" just finished playing. Full house (naturally) on this sunny San Francisco day.

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About This Author
JP Mangalindan
JP Mangalindan
Writer, Fortune

JP Mangalindan is a San Francisco-based writer at Fortune, covering Silicon Valley. Since joining in 2010, he has written on a wide array of topics, from the turnaround of eBay to the evolution of net neutrality. A graduate of Fordham University, Mangalindan has also written for GQ, Popular Science, and Entertainment Weekly.

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