SAN FRANCISCO – Apple gave the new iPad a bunch of new features but no new name.
When it goes on sale next week in the U.S. and several other countries, it will be the iPad or perhaps the new iPad – not iPad 3 or iPad HD, as some had speculated.
The lack of a new name could cause confusion for buyers, particularly because the older model, the iPad 2, will still be sold.
The new iPad unveiled Wednesday has, as expected, a sharper screen, driven by a faster processing chip that acts as the brains of the device. What was more surprising was that the new features mean the tablet computer will be slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, because it needs a larger battery to power the high-resolution screen.
Prices aren’t changing from the previous models. They will start at $499. Versions capable of accessing cellular networks will cost $629 to $829.
Apple is keeping the basic model of the iPad 2 in production and dropping the price to $399. That could help Apple regain some market share from cheaper tablets like Amazon.com Inc.’s $199 Kindle Fire. Samsung Electronics and other makers of full-size tablets have cut their prices to below $500.
The battery life of the new model remains the same: about 10 hours of use. Apple says the battery capacity is 70 percent higher than for the old model, which suggests that it could have kept the old screen and extended the battery life to 17 hours instead of upgrading the screen resolution.
Apple said the new display will be sharper than the average high-definition TV set. In a hands-on demonstration, text shown on the screen was noticeably crisper.
The higher resolution won’t make a difference, however, for most Web images, which are of low resolution. The new screen should be able to show all the detail in high-definition movies, which the iPad 2 does not.
The new screen can also show deeper and more vibrant colors than previous models, Apple said.
The new iPad will go on sale March 16 in the U.S., Canada and 10 other countries. A week later, it will go on sale in 25 more countries.