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Apple beefs up its iPad

Apple has launched a new version of its iPad tablet with double the memory space of its current largest model.

The beefier 128GB iPad will go on sale online and from Apple stores from February 5, with more storage space for music, games and apps.

Temperature in the home can be controlled remotely with Nest Mobile for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android, while air quality can be measured with Netatmo, a personal weather station and air quality monitor. Credit: Associated Press

The most expensive version with wifi and 3G mobile connectivity will have a recommended retail price of R10 500 – R1 500 cheaper than Apple’s MacBook Air laptop computer.

The cheapest model with the 128GB memory launched by the company at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, will sell at around R9 000.

The upgrade to the fourth generation iPad, which previously stopped at the 64GB version, comes after Microsoft launched its Surface Pro tablet with a 128GB memory.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, said: “With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and every day find more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs.”

The new version includes a 9.7-inch Retina display and an HD FaceTime camera.

Apple shares plunged 10 percent last week after the company reported quarterly results that point to growth slowing after five fat years.

It reported October-December earnings that were flat compared with the year before. Sales grew 18 percent from the year before, but the start-up of production lines for multiple new products like the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini held back profits.

Apple’s sales growth forecast for the current financial quarter of around seven percent was also far below the 50 percent-plus rate it often hit in recent years.

The announcement comes during a busy week for computer and cellphone companies, with Research in Motion launching its new BlackBerry 10 handsets and software system and Microsoft launching a new touchscreen version of its Office software, the first update in three years as it tries to extend its reach beyond its traditional home on PCs to smart phones and tablets that run its Windows operating system. – Daily Mail

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