Apple unveiled the new iPad today (available in stores on 3/14). You can pre-order now, pricing is $499 (16GB), $599 (32GB) and $699 (64GB). Or you can get an iPad2 at a $100 discount.

This is not the iPad3. It is the new Apple iPad (Apple want’s to be perfectly clear about this).

It is slightly thicker (from 8.8mm to 9.44mm) and heavier (from 1.33 lbs to 1.44 lbs) but the initial consensus from tech journalists is that this iPad is the same but better. The biggest wows are the 2048 x 1536 Retina Display (264 pixels per inch, bringing it on par with the iPhone 4s) and the 4G support.

Jon Phillips of Wired was one of those tech journalists who got to spend 15 minutes with the new iPad:

Very little during our hands-on demo provoked a moment of jaw-dropping awe. The best tablet of 2011 is now undoubtedly better — but for Apple, is this good enough? If anything, we’ve been spoiled by the performance and finesse of Apple’s existing products. We’ve become inured to the company’s unique charms.

At first glance, the new iPad exudes familiarity — and not just because most of its features were telegraphed via leaks and rumors during the last four months. The new slate’s physical design is nearly identical to that of the iPad 2, and nothing about its Appley comportment screams, “I’m an entirely new tablet!” The home button remains intact, and all but one physical dimension remains the same.

It’s only when you hold the new iPad in your hands — and then turn on its screen — that you begin to notice two key differences.

Read the rest of Jon’s first impression here.