The iPad 4, or New iPad, is a minor update to the iPad 3, which was released in March 2012. The small repertoire of new features include a Lightning port, instead of a 30-pin socket, and a faster processor. Let's find out whether it's worthy if the iPad name.
There have been refreshingly few issues that have surfaced regarding the iPad 4. Nothing like the “antennagate” of the iPhone 4 has afflicted the iPad 4.
However, the iPad 4 has been recognised as a moment of downturn for the 9.7-inch iPad. In January it was reported that Sharp had severely cut-down the production of iPad screens as sales of the tablet were eaten up by the iPad mini, its smaller sibling.
More recently in March 2013, David Hsieh of NPD suggested that Apple had re-worked its expected sales figures for 2013 to account for the huge popularity of the iPad mini. Where Apple had predicted 60 million full-size iPad sales and 40 million iPad mini sales, it has moved the goal posts to 55 million iPad minis and 33 million iPads.
Is this bad news for the iPad 4? It’s no reason not to buy an iPad 4 if you’re certain you are after a larger tablet. As the tablets run the same operating system, there’s no chance of the iPad going suddenly, irrecoverably “out of date”.
However, the iPad Air is now released and some of you may want to consider opting for that instead.
The iPad Air has an extensively reworked body that is a good deal thinner and lighter than the iPad 4. It has a slimmed-down screen bezel – rather than the chunky screen surround of the iPad 4.
The iPad Air makes the iPad 4 look extremely chunky. But then so would an iPad 2 – the second-generation iPad is still the thinnest and lightest 9.7-inch iPad to date.
Apple also offers models savings on refurbished iPads and they can be a great deal and come with 12 months warranty.
Apple has hardly deviated with the design of the iPad 4. It is to all intents and purposes exactly the same as the iPad 3, and that’s both a good and a bad thing.
On the one hand the iPad remains the best built, most premium looking and feeling tablet available. The fit and finish is still a class above with that gorgeously curvy aluminium back and simple glass front combining to make the device feel like it’s completely solid. The iPad mini does give it a run for its money but there’s just a little bit more flex to its chassis which to our minds means the bigger model takes the crown.
However, the iPad mini does again highlight just how large and heavy the full-size iPad is, whether the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation. Weighing in at either 652g (Wi-Fi only) or 662g (Wi-Fi and Cellular), the iPad 4 is simply too much to hold one handed for any period of time. Plus it’s literally too much to hold one handed, with its 185.7mm width being far too expansive for your average hand to fit around, though of course that’s to be expected of a larger tablet.
This does highlight something we’ve long felt though: the iPad is in a no-mans land when it comes to size. It’s too large for total portability and too small to effectively replace a laptop (or at the very least, Apple hasn’t embraced the laptop replacement potential, with good accessories like on the Asus Transformer range) and that impression is no less dimmed with the arrival of the iPad 4 – as a portable, bigger-than-a-phone screen, the iPad mini is much more tempting to us.
But, if you’re happy that you want a tablet of classic iPad proportions the iPad 4 will do you as proud as any iPad before.