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iPad 4: Lightning connector and other features

By Edward Chester



Our Score:


iPad 4: Lightning Connector

The other area where the iPad’s design comes up short is in features. While competitors have added: memory card slots for either expanding the tablets storage or simply looking at photos straight from your camera; HDMI ports for connecting your tablet straight to a TV; USB ports for attaching peripherals; and even sophisticated pen input for accurate drawing and note taking, the iPad remains very simple. On the top is the headphone jack, along with the power button, down the right edge are the volume and mute controls, on the front and back are the cameras and on the bottom is the new Lightning connector, and that’s it.

iPad 4 | iPad with Retina Display 12

You can convert the Lightning port to be a USB port, a memory card reader or a video output but then you’ll need to buy all the accessories to do so, which if you pay Apple prices are ridiculously expensive - £39 for an HDMI adapter!? Likewise there are some great cases that add useful functionality but they can be quite pricey, with top keyboard cases costing well over £50 (and they don't add battery life like on the Asus Transformer range).

As to the Lightning connector itself, it’s a marked improvement over the previous connector type, being much smaller and reversible so you can plug it in either way round. However, it doesn’t actually transfer files any quicker, unlike USB 3.0 for instance, and it does mean you’ll have to buy adapters for all your old cables and docks.

We would also complain that Lightning is a proprietary connector, rather than an industry standard one like microUSB but actually things are a bit different in the world of tablets. Apple’s proprietary stance is very annoying when it comes to phones because every other phone manufacturer uses microUSB for both charging and connecting to a computer. But for larger tablets, the higher power requirements have meant that most of them require non-standard charging cables of some description anyway. Given this, Apple’s single connector for all its mobile devices is actually something of a bonus.

iPad 4: 3G and Storage

Another area where the iPad trumps many is that it’s offered with 3G/4G connectivity for wirelessly browsing while out and about. Many other devices support this but the 3G versions can often be difficult to get hold of, with them either not supported or sold in any given country. Here the SIM is of the microSIM type as used on the iPad 3 and iPhone 4/4S, rather than the nanoSIM of the iPhone 5, so that’s one less thing to worry about if you’re upgrading (though equally it means you can't swap your SIM from phone to tablet if you've an iPhone 5 and iPad 4 - ho hum).

Something you may find keeping you up at night, though, are the prices of the higher capacity versions of the iPad 4. With no ability to add extra storage through a microSD card, you have to pay up front for as much storage as you think you’ll need. The entry level models with 16GB are very reasonably priced but paying £80 more for 32GB and another £80 more for 64GB is extortionate.

iPad 4 | iPad with Retina Display 14

Admitedly, most people will probably find that 16GB is plenty enough, considering your iPad is unlikely to be your primary music player in particular. However, when some iPad games are already pushing 1.5GB in size, it won’t take long for you to have to start removing apps, games, music and videos to make room for more.

So, all told Apple hasn’t reinvented the tablet with the iPad 4 so those of you that haven’t been convinced before will have little reason to suddenly be converted. Plus, we really would’ve liked to see the weight come down a little. But, if you know and love the iPad design, then it’s business as usual here.

But what of that new processor…


November 23, 2012, 9:51 am

It makes me really mad how you guys can regard an upgraded port as a plus.
"Lightning connector is better than old connector"
ITS A CONNECTOR! It holds no purpose other than connecting things (which you can no longer do because all of your accessories are now incompatible), and the upgrade is for one reason and one reason only - for Apple to completely take advantage of its user base and make massive profit margins with a nice patent on this new port so they can have complete monopoly.

I've said it for years, Apple is the devil and they will do everything they can to own you. It starts with tying you in to Apples system that can only be stopped by jailbreaking the device and voiding your service warranty. Then its changing the port so you have to go out and buy £40 HDMI cables and £30 chargers all over again (but of course you die hard Apple fans will say "But the new port is so shiny, I love it, it makes me happy"... morons).

Soon it'll be locking your phone number, your internet access and all kinds of other properties that you have purchased to Apple's system, such that if you ever decide to switch phones, computers or anything you will be losing hundreds of pounds of software and hardware that you have paid for because Apple will insist that you are just a licensee and that all the money you spent means nothing. It makes me sick to my stomach that the world is so blind to this Big'n'Large crap that will surely end in disaster for all subscribers to this particular brand of closed technology.

Can't you see that they are laughing at you all the way to the bank?


November 23, 2012, 1:52 pm

You lost me at "Apple is the devil"...

Read the review properly.


November 24, 2012, 8:50 am

"You lost me at "Apple is the devil"...
Read the review properly." Ed

I did actually read the whole thing, unlike you who reportedly stopped reading less than half way through. I don't understand your devotion to Apple - they are taking advantage of the weak minded people who must sell their 6 month old iPad 3 to buy the new one because fashion and popularity say so. Apple products are 90% Marketing and have no actual function outside of checking your email. Productivity on tablets is 0 compared to laptops that can actually access flash based websites and do crazy things like word processing. So really anyone who buys an iPad is just doing so because "me like shiny shiny!"

"Given this, Apple's single connector for all its mobile devices is actually something of a bonus."
No it isn't, and it would be just fine with a MicroUSB but Apple has somehow convinced the ignorant masses that making a port that is hard to replicate so that they can have monopoly over the accessories market too is a great idea for consumers. Its pathetic how much ass you guys kiss.


November 24, 2012, 5:50 pm

You're totally blinded by your own prejudices. I say a number of times that it's not worth upgrading from the iPad 3 to the iPad 4, I make a point of saying we don't feel the iPad actually makes sense as a form factor and I also dwell on the shortcomings of the new connector.

I even say "Apple's proprietary stance is very annoying when it comes to phones because every other phone manufacturer uses microUSB for both charging and connecting to a computer." Couldn't be much clearer than that.

The point I'm making about the connector being a bonus is that unlike other large tablets that require a completely proprietary charging cable that works with nothing else - not even the company's own other products - and necessitates having two cables (one for charging and one for data transfer) at least Apple's single connector works across its range of mobile devices.


November 25, 2012, 6:52 am

Finally, a review that feels unbiased!

The Ipad is a great toy, I have no objections about that. I'm no Apple fan and the only reason why I have one is because my girlfriend bought one (The second generation one). I have to admit though, I love browsing the Web, reading books and watching movies on it when I'm in bed.... But that's about it! Anyone who claim it is a work tool clearly doesn't work very hard.

Giving this latest Ipad 4 stars is justified - As long as you view it as a toy and nothing else. Also, there is a clear decrease in innovation since Ipad 2 and I have not felt the need to upgrade. Everything still runs fine on the Ipad 2 and I can see no point of a faster processor considering what I use for. I cannot understand why all other website give this Ipad 4 full marks, and this really affects their credibility in my point of view.

Good on you TR to be the only website I have seen who gave a score I can agree with.

Mike B

November 25, 2012, 9:52 pm

My iPad gets far more use than any desktop or laptop I have ever owned! It is one of the best tech investments I have made. OK I also love my iPhone, which I use daily, but the iPad is the best too for couch surfing and travel.

The latest model is just a steady progression as expected but is still the best tablet of its size on the market.


November 26, 2012, 6:47 am

The iPad 4 in my opinion is the best tablet on the market. I purchased my first Apple product in January 2012, and I have never regretted the decision. Having a Degree in IT I was not a fan of Apple's OS, I felt that I needed more control of my systems. I was wrong!
I purchased a Galaxy Tab 10 in January and after 9 days it locked up! I returned it for a refund and purchased the iPad 2. This device simply converted me to Apple. This device is bullet proof, the most dependable computer I have ever owned! I have owned and operated computers since 1980 and the iPad has proven to be the most useful device I have ever owned. It will not replace a work PC for crunching numbers, but that was not what it was purchased for. For a home tablet, or a field auditing tool it can not be beat.
After almost a year of testing I have made the decision to purchase an iPhone and a new iPad 4. My Samsung Galaxy III was deposited into the recycle bin. In my opinion the iPad 4 has raised the bar beyond any other tablet manufacturers ability to compete. Apple keynotes asked a good question...If the iPad consumes over 90% of the broadband utilized by tablets... What are the other tablet users using their tablets for?


November 26, 2012, 4:41 pm

@Kaiser - the honest truth is that my iPad is one of the most productive tools I own - and as a researcher, technical author and illustrator, that may come as a surprise to you!

Whilst I'd love Apple to change some of their ways (their refusal to allow us to use SD Cards for more than importing photos is a particular frustration of mine!)- the iPad easily overcomes any serious limitations in it's bundled apps, through cheap 3rd party software.

My favourite MindMapping tool isn't the £200+ MindManager application I invested in on Windows - it's a low-cost alternative on the iPad that is a pure joy to use, hugely intuitive and much faster in practice. This is especially true on the iPad 3's and 4's large retina screen, where you can zoom out a long way whilst leaving even tiny text perfectly legible (the reason that I, too, have to disagree with some of TrustedReview's comments in this review).

Many of the things you moan about are easily and cheaply fixed with just a little imagination and research. For my needs, a good BlueTooth Keyboard, a DropBox account, a phone with wireless tethering over 3G and a handful of Dropbox-enabled apps – is all I need to be incredibly productive anywhere. Zero boot time, less weight to lug around.

So much flexibility, I've never felt the need to jailbreak.

The ability to develop iOS applications from Windows (within Delphi XE2 & XE3 for example) and even on-board the iPad itself (e.g. Codea is a fast implementation of LUA with solid support for the iPad's sensors & graphics capabilities) people are developing all kinds of software for all kinds of purposes.

The iPad, for me isn't a replacement for my PC – but it does perform an ever more important role in my daily planning, communication and output.


November 26, 2012, 6:06 pm

@BigMoose - depends on your line of work - for me, it's of far more practical use than you could imagine.


November 27, 2012, 9:17 pm

Hyperbole much? Not sure if you still wear the tin foil hat and hide from nasty aliens, but I think you give Apple way too much credit. And besides, you have heard of free will right?

Forest Surfer

January 2, 2013, 7:46 am

The best pad on market, quality of material, performance, fluidity and high resolution are at top. really a great product


January 4, 2013, 3:53 pm

I find it hard to comprehend your 9/10 for design and screen attributes. The iPad4 is the same design as the 2 and 3 but even my android fan-boyism has me struggling to find a more elegant device from an industrial design standpoint. And I can't imagine a screen that beats the iPad in any way, so your 9/10 is baffling. 3-D is literally all that is missing. The iPad4 screen is admittedly the same as the 3 but how is that a deduction?

found your site after googling about the battery life of my new iPad4. Not sure i will return :/

A Goose

January 5, 2013, 10:34 am

I am looking to get the new IPad 4 I have never got a tablet before and im sure this is gonna be the correct one!


January 10, 2013, 9:26 pm

Performance wise, the iPad 4 is excellent and I cannot fault this. The design is also impeccable (although the aluminium can feel a little cold on first touch and the 4:3 aspect ratio is not the best for streaming content) however I have to say that i'm disappointed with the lack of features with iOS. The operating system is simply terrible compared to the now very mature, stable and polished version of Android 4.2. Combine this with the system freezing for no apparent reason, lag and applications not downloading until you perform a hard reset, I can't help but feel this product is way overpriced. It is for this reason, i'm now selling on Kijiji. I have the Nexus 10 also, and I have to say, apart from fully optimized apps (although all the biggest and most popular apps are e.g. Flipboard, Pulse, News 360 and so on), it beats the iPad hands down in every single department and its over $100 less. I did try, however iOS is simply not an OS at all. iOS has very limited capabilities, far less intuitive and not suited to my particular needs... you can't even access the files.. come on Apple, I know you like control, but its not 2007 anymore. Lets see a new UI this year with new features and also, let us consumers decide what we want to do with our mobile devices?

Иван Пенчев

January 27, 2013, 9:10 am

Hmm... I don't think the iPad (2, 3, 4) is the best tablet on the market. Hey, guys, did you forget all the apps on the App Store aren't free - you need to pay them. You can't watch YouTube videos or download media without a registration on iTunes and you need a credit card for that. So, the iPad is totally ANYTHING. I know this sounds stupid, but it's true. I wish you a lot of happy moments with the iPad!!

Yassin Wahby

February 3, 2013, 3:55 pm

There is no iPad 4 , and to make sure I am right please open http://www.apple.com/ipad/c... the official site of apple
there are only ipad 2, 3, and mini

Yassin Wahby

February 3, 2013, 3:58 pm

See by your self

Wouter Moors

February 7, 2013, 6:15 pm

the retina display one is ipad 4...

Wouter Moors

February 7, 2013, 6:16 pm

the new connector is faster, that is the point

anil Reddy

February 16, 2013, 9:21 pm



March 15, 2013, 11:29 pm

Is this guy real? Can someone please tell him not everyone owns an iPad 3 and thus, this device is not made to "take advantage of the weak minded people who must sell their 6 month old iPad 3 to buy the new one because fashion and popularity say so"? The previous iPod cable had a higher transfer rate than the standard mini USB, and so does the current Lightning over micro USB. You are provided with the cable and a wall charger on purchase. If you want to take HDMI out on 99% of HDMI out capable non-Apple devices you still have to buy micro usb-hdmi / mini hdmi-hdmi adaptor.
The previous connector cable had to go, it had many pins that just did not have any more use, and was too thick to be able to make a device as thin as the iPhone 5.
Flash is dead, get over it. Not being able to access flash means nothing more than what non-techie anti-apple sheep spout in hopes to have something as close as possible to an argument. Even android has stopped supporting the world's most zombie, ancient and inefficient memory-wise software ever kept alive by any company-flash. You can have a bluetooth keyboard and do as much word processing on any tablet, Android or Apple alike, as you can on a laptop.
Also, FYI, unless you brick your device (which can't be done with any jailbreaking program, you'd have to do it on purpose), jailbreaking does not void your guarantee. Just restore an official iOS and you are good.


March 15, 2013, 11:33 pm

You need to pay for decent android apps too. Here is the kick about android apps: none of them are made for your device. I had a galaxy note before giving it back to the store to trade for an ipad mini, 90% of apps i downloaded were just ugly upscalings of lower scren resolutions. Even official apps, facebook and twitter were just huge-ifications of their phone versions. On the ipad you get an app made specifically for your device screen size and processor. So yeah, you pay for some iOS apps, but you get what you pay for. My 18 yo brother has an iPad mini too and has used it since launch without ever paying a cent for any app, he does school projects on it and powerpoint presentations.

Donald DeFesi

March 31, 2013, 8:44 pm

SOMEONE HELP ME. I recently purchased the iPad 4S retina display. First ever iPad purchase. I was surprised at the new Lightning input. So my question is are there headphones with the lightning input? If not is there an adaptor. I am also hard of hearing and I use a boosteroo (3.55mm) that plugs into my pc, iphone etc. Is there a way to utilize this?

L kyusa

April 26, 2013, 10:45 pm

iPad 3 is also Retina Display

Robert Doran

May 2, 2013, 2:27 pm

The ipad needs a USB.

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