While Wednesday’s roll-out of the new generation of Apple’s iPad didn’t have quite the fanfare of prior events helmed by the company’s late co-founder, Steve Jobs, that doesn’t mean people weren’t paying attention.

Here’s a quick rundown of the announcement.

  • The device, simply called “the new iPad,” will be released March 16 (pre-orders are going on now) with a starting price of $499. It boasts a sharper 9.7-inch screen with Apple’s retina display technology and 2,048-by-1,536 pixels — more pixels than traditional high-definition televisions — plus an upgraded camera and a faster processor.
  • The next iPad also has personal hotspot software allowing the device to share a high-speed network with up to five devices (carrier permitting, of course), and, like the most recent iteration of the iPhone, it features voice dictation technology.
  • All that extra mojo means the upgraded iPad is a bit thicker and heavier than previous models — but not by much. It’s now 0.37 inches thick (compared to 0.34 inches) and weighs 1.4 pounds (up from 1.33 pounds).
  • The new iPad can also access 4G, or LTE, mobile networks, with AT&T and Verizon Wireless set to be the first US wireless carriers to sell the device.
  • During Wednesday’s event, Apple CEO Tim Cook also unveiled an updated version of the company’s TV set-top box, which has a new user interface and what Cook deemed a “mirroring function” that will allow users to send video from their mobile devices to their televisions. The new Apple TV, which also goes on sale March 16, will cost $99.

[Reuters]