01:47 - Source: CNN
New iPad: Faster, HD, better camera

Story highlights

CNN's John Sutter gets his hands on a new iPad at Wednesday's launch event

The fundamentals of the device haven't changed much

You have to look at the guts of the tablet to see what's new

Games will like a faster processor in the new iPad

San Francisco CNN —  

On first glance, the new, never-to-be-actually-named iPad is exactly the same as its predecessor: Same size, same price, same colors.

But guts count for something. And the guts of the new iPad – don’t you dare call it iPad 3 – are what make this tablet computer a step forward from the iPad 2.

They’re also what give Apple execs some room to claim this device as “amazing” and “revolutionary,” rather than run-of-the-mill and incremental.

The truth is that the new Apple iPad probably falls somewhere in the middle. It’s neither dud nor game-changer.

I got to handle the new tablet for a few minutes after Apple’s launch event Wednesday. My first impressions:

The screen

The main upgrade is the screen, which is markedly crisper. Apple says it quadrupled the number of pixels on the iPad’s 9.7-inch display to the point that there are now 3.1 million pixels on the screen, with a total resolution of 2048 by 1536 pixels. Color saturation on the device was increased 44% relative to the iPad 2, the company says.

“Your retina in your eye cannot discern those individual pixels,” Apple’s Phil Schiller said at the news conference. “The images on it look stunning.”

CNNMoney: New iPad up close

That’s not overstatement. Images do seem to have jumped out of the real world.

That’s good for people who want to watch movies, look at photos and play games on the new iPad. It also could be a big step forward for people who want to read digital books on the device. Enlarge the text on the latest-gen iPad, and the letters maintain their quality. The edges of the fonts are perfectly smooth, as if they’re molded from plastic.

“One of the iPad’s biggest competitors has been paper,” said Nick Bilton, a tech columnist at The New York Times, “and now this is better than paper.”

Gaming

Another new feature of the guts: The A5X “quad-core” chip, which is supposed to help render graphics much more quickly. This could be a boon for gamers, who likely will see high-resolution and more graphics-intensive games coming out for the tablet.