(Updated 2:30 p.m.) You could practically taste the drool dripping from the mouths of Apple fans, as Tim Cook began to unveil its latest update to the iPad at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. While everyone feels like they knew what's coming -- a new iPad with a high resolution screen? (YES); a faster processor? (YES); some sort of Apple TV integration? (SORT OF) -- the rumor mill kept churning in the hours before the event.

Tim Cook got the event started one minute early with big talk about the end of the PC. "I’d like to get started by talking about the post-PC revolution, and Apple is at the forefront of leading this revolution," said the Apple CEO, adding his company has sold 176 million post-PC devices like the iPhone and iPad. "Any company would be thrilled to have just one of these devices. At Apple we’re fortunate to have all three, and the momentum has been staggering." If you're interested, you can watch the full keynote on Apple's website. Otherwise, keep reading for the key facts.

The New iPad

As anticipated, Apple is releasing "The new iPad," which will be available in the United States on March 16. Starting at $499 for a 16GB with WiFi service, the new iPad looks just like the old iPad as far as we can tell but comes with a new set of upgraded guts.

In some particular order, it features:

  • faster data downloads with 4G LTE that downloads at 72 megabits per second -- add $130 to the price if you want to go with the faster network -- as well as DC-HSPA (42 Mbps) and 3G HSPA+ (21 Mbps).
  • a Retina display on a 9.7 inch screen and with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 -- that's 264 pixels per inch -- an iPad will now have more pixels than an HD TV. 
  • a faster, quad-core A5X chip that adds a little more horsepower for graphics processing.
  • a 5-megapixel iSight camera with five separate lenses that's capable of face recognition, autofocus and features HD video at 1080p.
  • a 9-hour battery life on 4G and 10-hour on 3G.
  • the same 16, 32 and 64 gigabyte models as before.
  • a thicker and heavier case -- it's 1.4 lbs instead of the iPad 2's 1.33 lbs and 9.44 mm thick versus 8.8mm
  • better voice recognition and dictation software

The iPad 2 will get a price cut but will still be available. The full pricing breakdown:

  • iPad 2 w. Wi-Fi only: $399 (16GB)
  • iPad 2 w. Wi-Fi & 3G: $529 (16GB)
  • New iPad w. Wi-Fi only: $499 (16GB), $599 (32GB), $699 (64GB)
  • New iPad w. Wi-Fi and 4G: $629 (16GB), $729 (32GB), $829 (64GB)

And in case you didn't already know, the iPad has been a very very successful new product for Apple. "We’ve sold almost 15.5 million iPads last quarter alone," says Tim Cook. "We sold more iPads in the last quarter alone than any PC manufacturer sold in their entire line." It's also worth noting that the new iPad "has more memory and higher screen resolution than an Xbox 360 or PS3."to quote a rep from Epic Games who took the stage to show off some new apps.

Apple TV and iCloud

As anticipated, Apple will be updating Apple TV to support higher resolution and bring in the power of iCloud to stream movies. The new Apple TV will stream movies in 1080p and features an updated interface design that bears the familiar look of iOS.

The integration with other Apple devices, as such, is much deeper. Quoting Apple's Eddie Cue, "Now when I take a photo on my iPhone it automatically appears on my Apple TV without my having to do anything at all."

It's worth noting that since Google just announced its new streaming media service, Play, the timing of Apple's update couldn't be more expertly executed. (Images courtesy of GDGT.)

Software Updates

Apple introduced iPhoto for iPad ($4.99), which will basically serve as a one-stop shop for any photo-editing needs. This includes multi-touch editing, fancy effects and all sorts of brushes. It also features "Photo Beaming" for sending images between devices quickly and a new "Photo Journals feature."

Meanwhile, iWork is getting a facelift, as is GarageBand and iMovie. We can also look for iOS 5.1, which will be released on Wednesday afternoon. Along with it, Siri is heading to Japan! It will take a few weeks for the full roll-out, however. But we can't wait to blog about the inevitable Siri-accidentally-says-something-naughty-in-Japanese situations.