Review Price £399.00
iPad 4 Preview
Apple surprised all and sundry on 23 October by unveiling a brand new iPad 4, which with immediate effect replaces the iPad 3.
Sporting a new Lightning connector, as debuted on the iPhone 5, and with a new Apple A6X processor, it's a modest upgrade but one that will no doubt keep the company's Christmas sales ticking along nicely.
The new tablet was unveiled alongside a new iPad mini, a new Mac mini and a stunning new 13in MacBook pro Retina, and will be arriving well in time for Christmas and Thanksgiving thanks to an iPad 4 release date of 2 November.
So, is it worth upgrading from the iPad, iPad 2 or even iPad 3? Let's take a closer look.
iPad 4 Screen
9.7in, 2,048 x 1,536 pixels, IPS panel
Apple hasn't updated the display on the iPad 4 from the stunning Retina display of the iPad 3. As such it has the same 2,048 x 1,536 pixel super high resolution that results in a pin-sharp 264ppi. The LCD panel also has superb colour saturation and viewing angles. In short, it's still the best on the market.
iPad mini Body and design
Anodised aluminium, choice of black or white bezel
Unlike with the iPad mini and iPhone 5, Apple hasn't given the iPad 4 an optional black anodised finish but instead it retains the same brushed aluminium back as the iPad 3. You can however, choose from either a black or white bezel, which is something we suppose. Plus, of course, the build quality here is exceptional, meaning the iPad retains its crown for most stylish tablet.
Given the very similar design to the iPad 3, it's no surprise Apple hasn't managed to reduce the tablet's weight, making the iPad 4 a still fairly hefty 662g - not a one-handed device.
iPad mini Connectivity
Lightning connector, headphone jack, Wi-Fi, 4G and Bluetooth 4.0
One big change from the iPad 3 is to be found on the iPad 4's bottom edge. Here, where there used to be a gaping gap for the old large 30-pin dock connector, there's now a sliver of a slot for the new Lightning dock connector.
The Lightning connector is shared by the iPhone 5 (and iPad mini) but as yet not much else, which has lead to a fair amount of consternation from users caught short without a spare charging cable. An adapter is available to convert the Lightning connector to an old 30-pin socket but this isn't included in any of these devices.
The new connector can be converted to HDMI and SD card and USB adapters will be available too.
Otherwise the iPad 4 is largely as the iPad 3, with standard headphone jack on its top edge and on the inside you’ve got Wi-Fi and 4G options, as well as Bluetooth 4.0. But, the 4G connection has changed so that it is compatible with the UK's EE 4G network. This may seem like good news but it's worth bearing in mind that EE's 4G network won't work in the same way as most other 4G networks, so if you're on O2/Vodafone when they roll out their 4G network next year the iPad 4 won't be compatible.
iPad mini Battery Life
10 hour battery life
Apple has kept the battery life of the iPad 4 the same as the iPad 3, so you'll get a decent 10 hours out of it - that's what you get for having a thicker, heavier tablet than the iPad 2.
iPad 4 Software
The iPad 4 will use iOS 6, the version of Apple's mobile software that was released alongside the iPhone 5. It hasn't received too much love yet, though.
The main offender is iOS 6 Maps, which is so bad that Apple CEO Tim Cook has actually apologised for it. So bad that it has put some people off upgrading their iPhones to the new software.
However, it's not as big a problem for the iPad 4 as the iPhone. Larger devices like iPads are rarely used as on-the-go navigation tools, and unless you're going to opt for the 3G/4G model, Maps won't be of much use at all.
iOS 6 does offer some worthwhile changes, though. It features proper Facebook and Twitter integration, letting you post directly from the pull-down notifications bar.
The App Store has been redesigned too, making it look a bit better. Yes, iOS 6 isn't world-changing (aside from Maps, which makes some decidedly dodgy changes to the world), but it's not bad. For more, check out our iOS 6 review.
Apple also unveiled a new iBooks app that includes support for 40 languages - including right to left page turning - as well as a new continuous scrolling mode for those that don't like to turn pages.
iPad 4 Processor
Dual-core A6X chip with quad core graphics
The iPad 4 debuts a brand new processor for the iPad line, the A6X. Apple hasn't released nitty gritty numbers about the System-on-a-Chip yet but apparently both CPU and GPU components are around twice as fast, which will makes this far and away the fastest tablet out there.
iPad 4 Memory
16/32/64GB, non expandable
No changes when it comes to how much storage/memory you'll be able to get in your iPad. You can choose from 16, 32 or 64GB, and there's no option to increase this down the line by adding a microSD card. The latter point remains one of the trump cards of rival Android tablets, which offer the option to add up to 32GB of extra storage for the £20 cost of a microSD card. In contrast, getting a 64GB iPad is £160 more expensive than the 16GB version.
iPad mini Release Date and Price
2 November launch, starting at £399 for 16GB version
Apple has revealed you'll be able to buy a Wi-Fi only iPad 4 from 2 November but you'll have to wait another couple of weeks for 4G versions to become available, though they should be arriving well in time for Christmas.
As ever it's price where the iPad 4 falls down somewhat. While it's among the more competitively priced products in Apple's arsenal, it's still more pricey than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Asus Transformer when - crucially - storage and expandability are taken into account.
We would also point out that the Google Nexus 7 is much cheaper too, but now that the iPad mini has arrived to take on the smaller tablet rivals, it's a slightly unfair point.
Prices start at £399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only version, rising to £499 for the 64GB Wi-Fi version. Meanwhile the 4G iPad 4 16GB will be £369 and the 64GB version £659.
The iPad 4 isn't exactly a revolution in tablet computing but its faster processor and Lightning connector are nice enough little upgrades that keep it ticking along.
However, that very Lightning connector is also a problem given the headache of having to upgrade all your accessories or buy adapters for them. Plus, there's definitely not enough of an upgrade here for iPad 3 owners to be tempted. Then again, maybe that's a good thing considering how many complaints we've already heard from new iPad 3 owners who thought an upgrade would be months away...