Apple finally confirmed rumors of its next generation iPad and then some at its Wednesday event in San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
The iPad 3 will go on sale March 16 for as little as $499.
Before today's announcement, rumors have been swirling for the last couple months about the iPad 3 and have included a faster processor, a sharper screen and an option for faster wireless broadband access, all of which was confirmed at the event.
Apple said the new display will be sharper than an HDTV. The company says it will show more saturated colors than previous models. Fox News reports Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing, as saying it is "incredible" that the 9.5-inch iPad will have more pixel density than a 1080p high-def living room TV and also a higher resolution than the screen he was presenting on.
The company said the iPad is powered by a new chip with four processing cores, for smoother graphics. Compared to the iPad 2, the new model features a higher-resolution camera on the back, similar to the one in the iPhone 4S.
Watch Schiller describe the display at the event:
"We are taking it to a whole new level and are redefining the category that Apple created with the original iPad," Cook said at the event.
Apple also confirmed that the new model will come in a version that can use Verizon Wireless' and AT&T Inc.'s "LTE" wireless broadband networks. This offer speeds that are faster than the "3G" networks used by previous iPads, and current iPhones.
Check out Apple's video plug for the new iPad:
In addition to announcing the iPad, Cook also spoke about what he calls the "post-PC era", which includes tablets, smartphones and MP3 players. The iPad, iPhone and iPod account for 76 percent of Apple's sales now.
"Apple is at the forefront of this revolution," Cook said. "Apple has its feet fully planted in the post-PC future"
The iPad launch comes as Apple has reached a rare milestone: Last week, it was worth more than $500 billion. Only six other U.S. companies have been worth that much, and none have held that valuation for long. On Tuesday, Apple's stock fell, bringing its market value down to $493 billion, but analysts believe the company is worth closer to $550 billion.
In other Apple news, Cook also announced upgrades to Apple TV and new iCloud capabilities at the event. Apple TV, a $99 set-top box that allows streaming of the Internet through your TV, will be upgraded to play movies in "1080p" format, which is the highest-resolution commonly used video standard. Before this upgrade it had a 720p max. iCloud will also now have the capability to store movies, meaning they will be accessible by other Apple devices via the Internet.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.