Apple iPad 4 review
Updated on the 17th March 2013: Includes information on iOS 6.1 and the 128GB model, plus sample video and still photography
The Apple iPad 4 came as something as a surprise. Everyone was expecting an iPad Mini, but as the new iPad (or iPad 3) had only been out since March, we really weren't expecting a replacement.
There are bound to be people that bought an iPad 3 feeling a little annoyed that a new version of the tablet is out soon. They shouldn't worry. if you've got an iPad 3, you've got nothing to worry about and the iPad 4 isn't worth upgrading to. If you've got an older iPad or want to buy a new tablet, then it's a different story.
Comparing the specs for the iPad 3 and the iPad 4, it's clear that this new model is more of a tweak than a brand-new product. It's a tweak that makes a lot of sense, when you look at what Apple's done with its other products. For starters, it means that its product line from the iPhone 5 to the new iPods, including the excellent iPod Touch, all use the same Lightning connector, rather than the old 30-pin Dock connector.
A new connector might seem a bit annoying, but the fact of the matter is that it's a change that needed to happen at some point. The old Dock connector was rather unwieldy and large, whereas Lightning is smaller allowing for thinner designs in the future and the connector can be plugged in either way round. Apple sells Lightning-to-30-pin adaptors, too, so you can easily use all of your old peripherals. On top of that, there's the usual range of add-ons, including a Lightning-to-SD card reader and Lightning-to-USB adaptor.
While the iPad 3 used a slightly tweaked version of the Apple A5X processor, with quad-core graphics to handle the tablet's high-resolution screen, the iPad 4 has the brand new Apple A6X processor. This is the same model used in the iPhone 5, although the 1.4GHz model used here also has quad-core graphics. Again, this move makes a lot of sense, as Apple can concentrate on a single processor for its iPad and iPhone lines.
For graphics we ran GLBench, which showed similar results: 25.6fps on the iPad 3 and 50.7fps on the iPad 4. All of this isn't to say that the iPad 3 is slow, as it isn't, just the iPad 4 is, impressively, even quicker.
As we've come to expect from an Apple product, iOS is incredibly smooth. Every single transition and operation happens incredibly smoothly and there's none of the inherent jerkiness you get with an Android device. Web browsing is an absolute pleasure, with even the most complex sites rendering quickly, while pinching to zoom is incredibly smooth. In terms of day-to-day performance, the iPad is still the tablet to beat.
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