Apple just announced the new iPad, the latest in its popular line of tablets. As expected, it has a Retina display, with a resolution of 2048 x 1536. That's good for a pixel density of 264ppi, which means you can't distinguish individual pixels when held at 10 inches -- the standard Apple uses for the Retina moniker. Existing apps will automatically take advantage of the higher resolution, but Apple's optimized all of its stock apps and is obviously encouraging developers to do the same.

In addition to the new display, the new iPad also features an A5X processor with a new quad-core graphics processor, which Apple claims is four times as fast as the Tegra 3. There's also a new iSight camera, which is the same as the camera built into the iPhone 4S: auto-exposure, auto-focus, 5 megapixel backside-illuminated sensor with 1080p stabilized video. That's a huge upgrade from the iPad 2, and a massive jump over competitive tablets, which all have terrible cameras. The front camera for FaceTime remains at VGA. There's also a new microphone icon on the keyboard for voice dictation, which works in several languages.

Apple's also added 4G LTE and 42Mbps HSPA+ mobile networking, with models for AT&T, Verizon, Rogers, Telus, and Bell. The Verizon and AT&T LTE models will be separate, but will both support 3G around the world. The iPad also now supports hotspot functionality, per your carrier's rules.

Battery life is pegged at 10 hours, which is the same as the iPad 2, with 9 hours on 4G. The only downside? At 9.4mm thick and 1.4 pounds, the new iPad is a little bit heavier and thicker than the iPad 2, which measured 8.8mm thick and 1.35 pounds.

The new iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $629 for the 16GB 4G model, with 32GB and 64GB sizes commanding an extra $100 and $200 each. It'll be in stores on March 16th, but pre-orders start today in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan -- and it'll hit 100 more countries on March 23.

Check out our iPad event liveblog for the coverage from the event, and be sure to see our new iPad StoryStream for all the rest of today's news!