By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The tech blogs have been buzzing for months over what Apple has up its sleeve with its new iPad. The upgraded version was unveiled today.

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What we didn’t get was the rumored smaller tablet to challenge the Kindle Fire’s lower cost.

The new iPad looks a lot like the iPad 2, until you turn on the screen:

“It’s better than HD television, if you can imagine.”

Thanks to the Retina Display that packs more than three million pixels for ultra-smooth text and crisp photos.

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Steve Sande with the Apple blog says you’ll notice the difference when reading, swiping through photos, and gaming:

“Just phenomenal, very photo realistic images.”

Apple claims 10-hour battery life. The starting price for the 16GB WiFi-only model is $499. The new iPad adds LTE from AT&T or Verizon, but that fast 4G wireless connection ups the price to $629.

Apple’s taking pre-orders for next Friday’s release — but if you don’t need the new features, the cost of the iPad 2 has been cut to $400.

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