There's more to the new iPad than meets the eye

Last Friday, the new Apple iPad, the third iteration of the world's most popular tablet, went on sale. Its cosmetics are nearly identical to its predecessor, but enhancements such as a Retina display, a A5X chip with quad-core graphics, a new 5-megapixel iSight camera, and available 4G LTE networking drove weekend sales past three million units.

Apple claims the Retina display's 3.1 million pixels provide the highest screen resolution currently available in a tablet. The new iPad's display supposedly has a million more pixels than an HD TV and provides a 44 percent increase in color saturation.

The Cupertino, California-based manufacturer also added a new A5X chip with quad-core graphics to deliver fast, responsive performance. Although the front-facing camera is the same as the iPad 2's, a new, 5-megapixel iSight rear-facing camera has the ability to shoot beautiful images and record full 1080p HD video.

The new iPad is also the first Apple mobile device to offer 4G LTE cellular networking, using either AT&T or Verizon Wireless as a provider. The tablet also supports HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA, which means both CDMA and GSM iPad users now have the ability to roam internationally.

Despite a more powerful graphics engine, a screen with greater pixel density, and optional 4G networking, the tablet still provides 10 hour of battery life. An slight increase in the unit's weight and thickness has been attributed to Apple's using a bigger battery, but the added heft is barely noticeable.

Although Apple left out Siri, which is still in beta, the new iPad supports dictation. Instead of typing, simply tap the microphone icon on the keyboard to convert your words into text. You can use dictation to write messages, take notes, search the web and more. Dictation also works with third-party apps.

The new iPad Wi-Fi models are available in black or white for a suggested retail price of $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model and $699 for the 64GB model. The iPad Wi-Fi + 4G for either AT&T or Verizon Wireless has a suggested retail  price of $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 for the 64GB model.

Furthermore, the iPad 2 will now serve as Apple's entry-level tablet. The price of the 16GB Wi-Fi model has dropped to $399, and the 16GB Wi-Fi + 3G model can be yours for $529. For more information, visit Apple's website, AT&T retail locations, Verizon Wireless' stores, or Apple retailers, such as Walmart, Radio Shack, and Best Buy.

Also, be aware that the flavors of 4G LTE are not compatible. A new iPad purchased for use on AT&T's network will not work with Verizon Wireless' and vice versa. Plan features also vary. For example, the mobile hotspot feature is available with all of Verizon Wireless' data plans but not with all of AT&T's. Payment options and coverage areas differ as well. Thus, doing your homework before heading to the store to buy a 4G LTE iPad is highly-recommended.