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Live coverage from Apple’s tablet event, which starts at 10 a.m. PT today, is available from ArsTechnica, C/Net, Engadget, The Verge, 9to5 Mac, MacWorld, Mercury News, Twit.tv, Wired, Washington Post and the NY Times. Apple has the video of today’s iPad event.

The new iPad features a retina display with 2048-by-1536 resolution with 3.1 million pixels in the same 9.7-inch space, a dual-core A5x chip, LTE on Verizon and AT&T models, a 5MP iSight camera with HD recording, a 10-hour battery life with a 42.5-watt-hour battery, and over 200 new software features in iOS 5. It’s called the new iPad, not the iPad HD or iPad 3.

iPhoto for iPad and iPhone and major updates to iMovie and GarageBand were announced, completing its suite of iLife apps for iOS. iPhoto includes Multi-Touch features so you can use simple gestures to sort through hundreds of photos and find your best shots, enhance and retouch your images using fingertip brushes and share photo journals with iCloud. iMovie lets you shoot 1080p HD right from your iPad and turn that footage into a mini feature film.

The new iPad features iOS 5.1 and iTunes 10.6, which are available today as free software updates. iPhoto, iMovie 1.3 and GarageBand 1.2 are available today for $4.99 (US) each from the App Store. Keynote 1.6, Pages 1.6 and Numbers 1.6 are available today for $9.99 (US) each from the App Store. Updates are available for free to existing customers. It does not have the full Siri voice assistant, like the iPhone 4S, but the new tablet does have voice dictation software that supports US English, British, Australian, French, German and Japanese.

A new Apple TV refresh was announced today with 1080p support: March 16th for $99. You can buy or rent HD movies — many in 1080p and often available the same day they come out on DVD.

There are nine new iPad models:

  • Wi-Fi only, 16 gigabytes of storage, $499
  • Wi-Fi only, 32GB, $599
  • Wi-Fi only, 64GB, $699
  • Wi-Fi and 4G, 16GB, $629 (separate models for AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks)
  • Wi-Fi and 4G, 32GB, $729 (separate models for AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks)
  • Wi-Fi and 4G, 64GB, $829 (separate models for AT&T and Verizon Wireless networks)

A new tablet and Apple TV isn’t the only news today; Apple just dropped the price of the iPad 2. The older iPad 2 16GB models now start at $399 (Wi-Fi) and $529 (Wi-Fi + 3G).

The tablet with Wi-Fi and LTE is available for AT&T and Verizon, along with carriers in Canada. Verizon’s LTE network now covers more than 200 million POPs and AT&T’s network covers 74 million. There will be two different versions of the device in the U.S. market to support the different 700 MHz band classes that AT&T and Verizon use. Apple also said Bell Mobility, Rogers and Telus will launch the device in Canada.

AT&T and Verizon will keep the same data plan pricing with 4G LTE. AT&T’s data plans for the iPad include 250 MB for $14.99 per month, 3 GB for $30 per month, or 5 GB for $50 per month. Verizon’s data plans for the iPad gets you 2 GB for $30 per month, 5 GB for $50 per month, or 10 GB for $80 per month.

The new iPad also has a mobile hotspot feature. Verizon will support the mobile hotspot feature, but AT&T will not, reports C/Net. As with other tablets that Verizon carries, the monthly data plan will include portable hotspot use, unlike the stipulation for smartphone hotspot use, which costs an extra $20 per month. With the added coverage of Verizon’s LTE, that could be a significant advantage.

Verizon LTE is available in 196 markets across the United States while AT&T LTE is available in 28 markets across the United States, but when it falls back to 3G, AT&T’s HSPA is faster than Verizon’s EVDO.

The AT&T LTE version includes Wi-Fi + 4G: LTE (700, 2100 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz) The Verizon LTE version includes Wi-Fi + 4G: LTE (700 MHz); CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz); UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz). Sprint Nextel will not offer the new LTE iPad, although the carrier may offer the WiFi-enabled tablet.

By the end of March iPad will be available in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Engadget compares the new iPad with the ASUS Transformer 700, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Toshiba Excite X10 LE. iPad wins. But you give up SD card slots, standard HDMI outputs and other things.

With the new iPad, Apple could increase its market share in tablets to 61 percent in 2012, up from 57 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to IHS iSuppli.

Long term Apple’s tablet share is expected to decline from 62 percent in 2011 to 52 percent in 2014, it said.

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