Since Apple took the wraps off the new iPad last night, analysts, journalists, bloggers and other Apple-watchers have been weighing in with their opinions on the new tablet.
Here Macworld will take a look at some of the best and most insightful opinions. We'll be updating this story throughout the day with more information, so be sure to check back later.
Rhoda Alexander, senior manager for tablet and monitor research at market research firm IHS said that Apple was "leapfrogging" the competition with the new device.
"With the release of the third-generation iPad, Apple is leapfrogging the competition, resetting the bar for media tablet performance. We expect demand for the new iPad—with its high-resolution, 2,048 by 1,536 display—to outstrip supply for much of the year. Meanwhile, more price-sensitive customers will flock to buy the freshly discounted iPad 2."
Alexander believes that Apple's ability to create market-leading products is not down to including new features first but rather by making sure that included features work properly and actually offer something to customers.
"Apple constantly pushes the performance envelope, which is a key part of its ongoing success. While not always first to market with a particular feature, Apple engineers are careful to select new attributes that are sure to improve the overall end-user experience. This design philosophy and capability to execute sets Apple apart from the pack," she said.
There's certainly agreement that the new iPad is well ahead of existing Android-based tablets, as Melissa J Perenson of Macworld's sister title PC World points out.
"Android does do some things exceedingly well, but Google and the Android tablet makers are clearly going to have to double-down to battle Apple's iPad juggernaut.
"And it is a juggernaut. Today Apple revealed it has sold 55 million first- and second-generation iPads; and of those, 15.4 million were sold in the last quarter of 2011 alone, and about 30 million of those were sold in the past year."
Jonny Evans, writing on another of Macworld's sister titles Computerworld, was left wondering about the name of the new device.
"I want to have a little moan about the new iPad's name: "The new iPad". The new iPad? I can already see the executive team laughing maniacally at that name as the Apple writers (including myself) wisely bowed their heads and, with sagacious fallacy, intoned to all who'd listen: "It will be the iPad 2 HD, the iPad HD, the iPad 3".
"I don't believe any Apple-watcher would ever have believed the company would christen the future of its post-PC ambition "the new iPad"," he wrote.
Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester, insisted that the new iPad wasn't just a revamp of an existing product line but a whole new beast in a blog post titled: "The New iPad: How A Gut Renovation Masquerades As Incremental Innovation."
"The new iPad shares nearly nothing with the iPad 2 hardware, according to Apple executives I spoke with. Its retina display has 1 million more pixels than a large-screen HDTV. The new A5X chip has, according to Apple, four times the processing power of Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip. Compared with iPad 2, it has a nicer camera, a video camera, dictation input, and 4G, while still squeezing out 10 hours of (Wi-Fi) battery life. It’s a wee bit thicker and an ounce heavier. And yet, in my conversations with numerous reporters over the past few days, the theme they kept bringing up was 'incremental innovation'."
"The engineering feats accomplished in the new iPad would have been inconceivable in the early days of personal computing, when colored pixels were in themselves a revelation. We the tech watchers may be jaded, but Apple’s consumers still appreciate the mesmerizing beauty of an ever-nicer screen."
"The lesson for product strategists in any industry is to stay true to your own sense of what’s innovative. Phil Schiller, SVP of Worldwide Marketing for Apple, told me that Apple’s engineers and designers “won’t change a product for the sake of change” — it has to be better in a way that will matter to customers. Apple designs its products for its customers, not the press."
Apple Insider has a round-up of opinions taken from Wall Street analysts from Piper Jaffray, UBS, RBC Capital Markets, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley.
The major theme among the analysts is that the new iPad is a major upgrade, which will see Apple cement its position in the tablet market, even in the face of a flood of Windows 8-based tablets expected to arrive later this year.
Melissa Chau of IDC told Business Week that she expected the new iPad to sell very well.
"Other competitors around haven't really been able to make a dent in this market the way that Apple has. Customer satisfaction levels are usually very high with Apple and that will help it to continue going upwards in terms of expanding its sales." She also predicted that Apple could be the brand to crack the 7in tablet market worldwide.
Meanwhile, Brian Blair of Wedge Partners told Business Week that it would be the screen that made the new iPad a "must buy".
"This is a screen we've never seen before in a 10-inch form factor. People are going to have to see it in stores just to see what a jump it is over the existing iPad," he said.
Ryan Block writing on the Gdgt website was also impressed by the display.
"Amazing. Seriously amazing. I really love the Retina Display on the iPhone 4/4S, but this feels like a step forward even from that. Not because it's a better display (which it may well be), but because the much larger scale of the screen makes it feel transformative to the experience of looking at a Retina Display and using an iPad."
Jonas Lekevicius, a web designer and developer wrote on his Flixic blog that the most mind-blowing thing about the new iPad was not the display but the name.
"Everyone naturally expected that it will be called iPad 3. Then there were predictions that it will carry HD moniker. Turns out, neither is true. Apple never, ever mentioned the name of the new iPad.
"Just as with no-words logo, Apple pushes the boundaries with what is possible in branding. And here’s a prediction: the next iPhone will simply be 'The new iPhone'."
Meanwhile, Mark Mulligan wrote on his Media Industry blog that the new iPad was more of an evolution than a revolution.
"There was no need for Apple to revolutionize the iPad now. It is the market leading device that is still the most eagerly sought after and is continuing to leave the competition in its wake. Just as the iPhone 4S was an incremental update that left some industry observers disappointed but actually went on to perform fantastically in terms of sales, so the iPad3 delivers enhancements without breaking the winning formula.
"It also enables Apple to push down prices on the iPad2, effectively turning it into the entry level device for iPad customers – a smart strategy which Apple has used to great effect with the iPhone range."
Want to read more about Apple's new iPad? The latest issue of iPad & iPhone User, available right now on Newsstand, has hands-on testing of the new features, pictures, availability info and in-depth Q&As to help you decide which model is right for you.