Since its first entry into the tablet market, Apple has excelled thanks to a focus on a few core principles. The display should be of extremely high quality, the product should be intuitive and powerful, and the whole package has got to look really, really good.
They’ve hit their mark with every release of the iPad, but the new iPad 4 may be the best execution of these principles that the tech giant has ever accomplished. It’s beautiful, it’s easy to use, and the Retina display is every bit as impressive as you’d expect.
iPad 4th Generation Look and Feel
On first blush, not much seems to have changed from the iPad 3. The 9.5-inch by 7.3-inch by 0.37-inch dimensions are all the same. The weight holds steady at 1.44 pounds (0.65 kg). As with its predecessors, the iPad 4 is both striking and comfortable to use.
While it may not be the lightest on the market, it certainly isn’t to heavy to use for an extended period. The gracefully curved design only enhances the comfort, and the whole package feels as sturdy and well-built as you’d expect from Apple.
The layout, too, is scarcely changed from previous iPad iterations. The power and lock button sits atop the tablet on the right side. The volume rocker and rotation lock switch are just around the corner at the top of the right edge.
The bottom bears one of the more noteworthy changes, sporting a Lightning connector where the bulky 30-pin connector used to reside. The switch-over may be frustrating and potentially costly, but the vast improvement over the previous connector is certainly worth it.
The front features a 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera up top and the familiar concave home button at the bottom. On the back is the 5-megapixel HD camera.
At the moment, the Retina display found on the new iPad is the second best display found on a tablet. In terms of screen resolution, only Nexus 10 (2560 x 1600 px – 299 ppi) beats Apple 4 (2048 x 1536 px – 264 ppi).
On such high-resolution displays, text and other small features are ultra-crisp and easily readable, games and apps look great, and high-definition video looks exactly as it’s supposed to. It’s not just the resolution, however.
Colors on Retina display are bright and vivid, the contrast strikes a very nice balance and the display remains quite readable even during daytime or under bright lighting.
Under the Hood
As impressive as the iPad 4’s display is, the star of the show is the new A6X processor. The A6X is a modified version of the A6 processor originally featured in the iPhone 5, and it’s blistering fast.
The iPhone’s 1.05-gigahertz processor is beefed up to 1.39GHz for the new iPad, and it’s paired with a gigabyte of RAM. The iPad 3 was already Apple’s fastest mobile device, and the new iPad exceeds its performance in every possible way.
Unexpectedly, this huge performance boost also comes with an increase in battery life. The new iPad weighs in at a shade over 11 hours on average. As always, storage options include 16, 32 and 64 gigabytes.
On the surface, the differences between the iPad 3 and 4 seem minimal. In reality, the iPad 4 makes some very substantial improvements. The two devices are all but identical physically, but the iPad 4’s performance offers such an exceptional boost in performance that it’s very difficult to ignore.
The new Lightning plug offers a range of benefits as well, and after the initial period of frustration and adapter-buying, it’s clear that the change was needed.
The iPad Mini invites a more interesting comparison between two tablets. While iPad 4 once again spanks the competition in terms of display resolution, iPad Mini bets on the form factor that offers great appeal for those who desire a truly portable, comfortable, easy to use tablet.
Both are easily at the top of their class, but the choice largely comes down to performance and resolution versus form factor.