We went into today’s Apple announcement expecting some news about the iPad, but they knocked it out of the park with some hits we never could have imagined were coming.
4th Generation iPad
The big iPad shock of the day was the 4th generation iPad, which actually replaces the brand new 3rd generation New iPad. The new iPad only came out about 7 months ago, so a lot of people are actually pretty upset about this development. What does this new iPad offer?
It’s equipped with Apple’s brand new A6X processor, giving it double the CPU and graphics performance of the iPad 3, up to the levels of the new iPhone 5. Also like the iPhone 5 is the image signal processor. 10 hours battery life seems to be Apple’s standard target now; that’s what they’re claiming for the new version.
It has a FaceTime camera on front that records 720p video, and on the back, Apple’s 5Mp iSight camera. LTE has greatly expanded coverage, adding Sprint in the US and KDDI in Japan, and on WiFi, it supports 802.11a/b/g/n dual-band. Naturally, it has the new Lightning connector introduced with the iPhone 5, and it has new camera connectors for SD reading, and there are USB, HDMI, and VGA adapters as well. Like the 3rd generation, the 4th generation iPad does have a Retina display, of course. The new iPad is available in Black and white versions. 16 GB WiFi starts at $499 as before, while the 16 GB cellular model starts at $629.
The other big iPad news of the day was something everyone expected; Apple did in fact announce the iPad Mini, a 7.9″ version of the iPad aimed to compete with similar-sized Android tablets like the Nexus 7.
It’s a beautiful device, styled very much like the latest refresh of the iPod Touch and iPhone 5. It’s 7.2 mm thick, or as they pointed out in the presentation, as thin as a pencil. It weighs .68 pounds, about the same weight as a legal notepad.
The hardware is very comparable to what you find in the iPad 2. The iPad Mini display is 1024 x 768, not Retina, and it sports the same A5 processor that’s used in the iPad 2.
It does feature better cameras than the iPad 2 though; it has the same FaceTime HD camera on the front and iSight camera on the back that the 4th generation iPad has.
The LTE, WiFi and Lightning connector are the same as the 4th generation iPad as well, and again, they estimate 10 hours of battery life.
Those of you who hate the bottom placement of the iPhone 5’s headphone jack will be relieved to know that the iPad Mini’s jack is at the top. There are new SmartCovers for the Mini as well, which lack the metal hinges that the original SmartCovers have.
16 GB is the smallest available configuration, and the WiFi version will run $329, 32 GB for $429, and 64 GB for $519. For LTE variants, add $130.
iPad Family Lineup
Interestingly, the iPad 2 remains in the iPad family lineup, priced at $399 for 16 GB with WiFi.
- iPad 2
- iPad Mini
- iPad 4th Generation with Retina
The iPad 3rd generation is nowhere to be seen. If you wanted it, sorry, you missed it; but the new iteration is the same price.
Speculation for the Future
It’s unusual for Apple to do an announcement of this magnitude (especially when you consider all their other updated product lines) in October instead of February/March. This has a lot of people wondering what we can expect early in 2013. My money is on the revelation of the iPad Mini with Retina, but time will tell.
CNET is reporting that Apple will exchange 3rd generation iPads for the new 4th generation. If you’re disgruntled after today’s announcement, check their coverage out here.