"Today, we're announcing the new iPad, and it is amazing. We've taken it to a whole new level, and we are redefining the category that Apple created with the original iPad," said Apple CEO Tim Cook during the launch event.
The new iPad is simply called that - the new iPad, not the iPad 3 or iPad HD as many expected. It will go on sale in the U.S. on March 16. Prices will stay the same, with a 16GB entry-level model costing $499. Versions capable of accessing cellular networks will cost $629 to $829.
It is 4G LTE and has a "Retina Display." According to Apple, it will have greater color saturation than a high-definition television set. The iPad also has a faster processing chip with four processing cores that will dramatically improve the graphics display.
The new iPad will be slightly thicker and heavier: 9.4 millimeters thick and 1.4 pounds. It will also have a 5 mexapixel camera, full HD recording, voice dictation and a 10-hour battery life.
The company will keep the iPad 2 in production, but the price will be dropped to $399.
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.
According to Canaccord Genuity, 63 percent of the tablets shipped last year were iPads. The only competitors with more than 5 percent market share were Amazon and Samsung Electronics Co.
Apple also unveiled its upgraded Apple TV so it can play movies in 1080p. The device allows users to download movies, TV shows, music and photos onto their widescreen TVs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.