This page features an Apple tablet comparison chart and tracks the iPad evolution via an iPad timeline and a brief history of the iPad range.

Apple Tablets Compared

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Every iPad Speed Test Comparison 2016 Video


Every iPad Speed Test Comparison 2016!

Apple Tablets Chronology

The Apple iPad represents the culmination of Apple’s attempts to provide all the power and functionality of a personal computer in a convenient, portable size. Now in its seventh generation, the iPad has seen a continual increase in functionality and computing power, but while these incremental improvements have satisfied users, Apple hasn’t been able to recreate the wow factor and buzz of the early launches.

Naming convention

Rather than the naming conventions used with the iPhone, Apple has opted for descriptiveness. While the third-generation iPad was known as “the new iPad,” the fourth-generation was known as the “iPad with Retina display.”

Throughout this site, we named this two models iPad 3 and iPad 4.

2016 – iPad Pro 9.7

Basically the iPad Air 3 in all but name. Touted as a laptop replacement – a claim widely ridiculed by the professional press. It’s a shame Apple insist on that kind of hyperbole, because this really is one of the best tablets ever.

2015 – iPad Mini 4 and iPad Pro

On September 9th, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced two new iPad models. The less reported of the two was the iPad mini 4, which filled the space between the iPhone 6s and iPad Air 2. Compared to the iPad mini 3, the 4 was thinner and lighter, had a faster processor, much improved rear camera – all while maintaing its battery life (10 hours).

But the major news was the iPad Pro. With a vast, 12.9 inch screen, surround sound, and stylus pen for pixel-perfect input, it created quite a stir. Cook, with typical Apple overstatement, called it ‘the biggest news for the iPad since the iPad.’

Both devices came with iOS 9.

Apple iPad Air

On 22nd October 2013 Apple introduced a new, thinner and lighter version of iPad. The new iPad Air was 28 percent lighter and 20 percent thinner than the 4th generation model. It weighed only 1 pound/450 grams and was the lightest 10 inch tablet on the market, causing consternation among rival manufacturers who were asked to raise their game yet again.

The tablet came with the new 64-bit architecture chips A7/M7 already present in the iPhone 5S. The operating system was iOS 7. The display remained the same as in 4th generation iPad (Retina with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 px).

Apple iPad Mini

Released alongside the fourth-generation iPad, the iPad Mini represented Apple’s effort to obtain significant market share in the 7 inch tablets market, a size it had previously shunned under the watch of Steve Jobs.

The 9.7-inch screen common to previous iPads was replaced by a 7.9-inch screen. The resolution was the same as the iPad 2’s 1,024-by-768 pixels, though the smaller screen meant an increase to 163 pixels per inch.

Rather than the familiar dimensions of 9.5 inches by 7.31 inches, the iPad Mini measured in at 7.87 by 5.3 inches. The other major change in comparison to iPad 3 was the Lightning port (a move which annoyed fans as it rendered some of their old accessories obsolete), 1.2-megapixel front camera, dual band Wi-Fi and the use of a Nano-SIM card rather than a Micro-SIM.

Apple iPad 4

Perhaps the most prominent change for the fourth-generation iPad was the new Lightning port that debuted on the iPhone 5. The durable, all-digital Lightning was 80 percent smaller than the old connector and its reversible design meant that cables could be used in either orientation.

Joining the Lightning port was a processor upgrade in the form of a powerful Dual-core A6X processor with quad-core graphics. The new iPad also brought dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and a high-definition 720p FaceTime camera.

Apple iPad 3

Significant development in the world of tablet computers came with the introduction of the third-generation iPad, which featured a Retina display for the first time on an iPad. The display featured a 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution with 264 pixels per inch, powered by the dual-core Apple A5X processor.

Comparing to the previous model, the memory doubled from 512 megabytes to one gigabyte, and 4G LTE connectivity was added. The rear-facing camera was upgraded to five megapixels and supported full 1080p video.

Apple iPad 2

The second iteration of the iPad featured some of the most substantial improvements in the entire line. While producing a thinner profile, reduced from .52 inches to .34 inches, Apple still included both a front- and rear-facing camera, an internal gyroscope, 512 megabytes of memory and a vastly superior processor.

From the Apple A4 processor on the original iPad, the iPad 2 upgraded to a dual-core A5 processor which offered twice the processing speed and nine times the graphical power.

Apple iPad

The original Apple iPad, released on April 3, 2010, was powered by an Apple A4 processor and 256 megabytes of memory. The iPad originally ran a specially designed version of Apple’s operating system, named iOS 3.2.

The original iPad did not feature a front or rear camera. Storage options included 16, 32 and 64 gigabyte models, and connectivity options included Bluetooth version 2.1 + EDR, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and 3G cellular connectivity.


Steve Jobs long held a vision for a type of personal computer that would be the size of a book and would be incredibly easy to use.

“What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes … and we really want to do it with a radio link in it so you don’t have to hook up to anything and you’re in communication with all of these larger databases and other computers.”

Apple invested in Acorn Computers, a British company renowned for their technical skills. Acorn would indirectly play a large role in the history of mobile computing – a joint venture including Acorn and Apple would create ARM Holdings, a company which now makes most of the world’s mobile processors.

Their earliest chip, the ARM6, was used in Apple’s Newton Messagepad 100. It, and later iterations, met a mixed response. It was derided for its awful handwriting recognition and short battery life, but retained a sizeable hardcore following – the last dedicated Newton shop closed in 1998.

As early as 1991, Jonathan Ive began experimenting with the tablet form – it was his first project as an Apple employee. In 2004 he hadn’t given up on the idea, making a ‘crude’ prototype of a device. He was persuaded to prioritise the iPhone by Jobs, but after the runaway success of the iPhone he was able return to the project that had interested him for so long.