Apple iPad with Retina Display 16GB Wi-Fi Tablet
One of the most unexpected announcements during Apple's event on October 23, 2012 was the release of a new iPad model. In a highly unusual step for Apple, the company chose to replace an existing product after a mere 7-month product life. The new 4th-generation iPad is officially referred to as the iPad with Retina Display, and carries a handful of improvements over its predecessor.
Though the appearance has remained largely unchanged from the original iPad, certain internal components have received a drastic overhaul. The 4th-generation iPad is now equipped with Apple's A6X processor, leapfrogging the iPhone 5 to become the most powerful iOS device on sale today. RAM remains unchanged at 1GB; combined with the new processor, the 4th-generation iPad is noticeably quicker than its predecessor. Apps launch more quickly, and the overall feel is generally more responsive. Despite the added power, battery life remains excellent at well over 10 hours.
One of the most obvious visible changes to the 4th-generation iPad is the inclusion of the Lightning connector. As Apple aggressively phases out the nearly decade-old 30-pin connector, expect to see this all-digital interface on future products. Other new additions include the higher-resolution FaceTime camera, which is now capable of recording 720p high-definition video. As usual, the Retina display offers up crisp text and vivid graphics, though the competition is rapidly catching up in this regard.
The 4th-generation iPad ships with iOS 6, and brings many "firsts" to the iPad with it. Siri is now available on the iPad, and offers expanded functionality. The "intelligent assistant" can launch apps, update your Facebook and Twitter page, provide weather information, make reservations, and generally make your life easier. iBooks gives users instant access to over 1.5 million items (by Apple's count), and the Newsstand app covers newspapers and magazines. FaceTime can now be used with a cellular network. Unfortunately, the Maps app is still afflicted by much-publicized missteps and inexplicable mistakes. On the other hand, new features such as turn-by-turn navigation, 3D landmarks, and flyover functionality provide improvements over previous versions.
Unexpected or not, the 4th-generation iPad represents continued refinements to the time-tested formula. This is still the easiest tablet to use out of the box, and the new features included in iOS 6 help the iPad distance itself from the competition. The Retina display is still the best-looking screen of any current tablet, and the high-quality construction goes a long way towards justifying the price tag. Apple's comprehensive App Store gives users nearly unlimited access to content; the carefully-developed ecosystem provides an unmatched experience. Without a doubt, the 4th-generation iPad is the best tablet on the market today.