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Today, Apple launched the new iPad. While most of the tech specs had already leaked, leave it to Apple to surprise us with new apps, content and the odd treat. See what the company revealed to keep things magical.

Launch Day News So Far

For updates from the launch event, please scroll to the bottom of the page

As Apple prepares for its big day in the sun, final bits of news drift in as the surrounding players in the inevitable drama of an Apple launch are brought up to speed.

The Apple Store is down for maintenance, expect those sales gnomes to be updating the price and feature lists for the various new products.

The iPad 3 could have some sort of haptic feedback mechanism provided by Finnish company Senseg on the touchscreen. It can produce different textures depending on what the display is showing. Sounds too much of a gimmick really, although great for the visually impaired, but the technology is out there. 

So far today, consensus from various retail sources (who will be putting up pre-orders minutes after the launch) seems to be no price rises for the iPad 3 or the new Apple TV model. Whatever the mystery B82 accessory is, that appears to have a price point of US$ 39.99 which seems expensive for a new smart cover or a regular remote control, so it presumably has some smart technology in it.

On iTunes, a new category of content has appeared called "Catalog" which hints at a better way to organize collected works in one place or a way for companies to create app stores (or similar) within the App Store.

Not related to the day's events, but having just hit 25 billion downloads on the App Store, Apple has posted the most downloaded apps with Facebook, Pandora Radio, Words With Friends Free, Skype and the Weather Channel topping the free app charts. While Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Doodle Jump, Cut the Rope and Angry Birds Seasons lead the paid-for chart.

On With the Show...

Actual real facts, news and images from the launch event will appear here from 10AM (Pacific), 6PM (UK)...

We're now monitoring the streams as Apple gets ready to unveil its new toy.

Tim Cook took to the stage on time and started proceedings, talking about the "Post-PC revolution" - take that Microsoft. 

Talking about Apple's products and stores, he said, "These devices are new to many people. There needs to be a place where they can discover ​them"

Apple sold 315 million iOS devices in 2011, 62 million of them in the last quarter.

iOS 5.1 is being released today, told you it was a good time to backup!

iCloud now has 100 million users and from today will support movie and video content.

Apple TV 3 is being shown off and supports 1080p video and still costs $99, available next week.

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Apple TV is becoming more than just a hobby
 

Now talking iPad with some 200,000 apps and more sales last quarter than HP managed of proper PCs. And here it is, the next iPad still has a home button at the bottom, so that's one rumor nixed.

It has a Retina display. Since its hard to demo that to a crowd, you have to see it personally to establish the quality. It offers a 2048 x 1536 display which works out at 3.1 million pixels.

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The new iPad, its all in the screen
 

Inside the iPad 3 is a quad-core A5X processor whose only real application beyond driving the HD display has to be gaming.

The iPad 3's camera is broadly similar to what is in the iPhone 4S. A five-megapixel device capable of recording 1080p video. It comes with face recognition and video stabilization features.

The iPad 3 will feature voice dictation, no word of full Siri yet, but surely that's a step in the right direction.

Confirmed 4G LTE on both AT&T and Verizon, that means different devices for both telcos. I have no idea why that's important, but I rarely get out of my n-class WiFi equipped office.

Apple says you'll still get 9 hours battery life when using a 4G connection.That means an ever-so-slightly heavier device, weighing 1.4lbs and 9.4mm thick.

Prices:

  • The basic model is still $499 for 16GB
  • 32GB is $599 and 64GB is $699
  • 4G models are $629, $729 and $829

Launch date is March 16 in multiple territories. To show off the apps, Apple first invited someone from game developer Namco to show off an Ace Combat-like title called Sky Gamblers (already an iOS title, but upgraded for the new iPad. A top fighter pilot game, it will be instantly familiar to Xbox and PlayStation 3 fans.

Autodesk came up next to show off a new SketchBook Ink app showing off some staggering art and creative techniques.

Another games developer next, Epic Games, the folks behind the engine in Infinity Blade II. Its new product is Infinity Blade Dungeons, a gorgeous looking combat game, similar to the upcoming PC title Diablo III.

Back to the apps, Garage Band, iMovie, iPhoto and iWork are being updated to offer more features, Garage Band offers a much needed sharing feature and iCloud support. iMovie has a major upgrade with new editing features to go with the HD video.

iPhoto for the iPad is totally reinvented, a slick way to edit and share your images, create photo journals. Great demo showing off finding similar images in a collection, enhancing photos and using brush effects.I think they've shown more timing showing off iPhoto than any other feature.Works on iPhone too and offers easy sharing to get pics off your device.

iPad 2 prices to drop by $100, now $399 for the basic 16GB WiFi model. Aiming them at schools, remember all the iBooks stuff last year?

And that's your lot for today, with Apple promising it is only just getting started in 2012.

The new iPad site has just gone live showing off all those glorious details.

And now the Apple Store is live to take your pre-orders, but its just a little bit, ever-so-slightly, busy.

And the name -- just call it "iPad" version numbers are so last year.