One of the most asked question in the current tablet market is whether one should upgrade to iPad 4th generation, having bought the iPad 3 just a couple of months back. While there are several perspectives to the never ending debate, I would like to give you a deeper perspective into the whole incident and tell you the exact reasons for upgrading and not-upgrading depending on your usage. Over the course of this blog post I will answer some of the most controversial questions surrounding the two tablets and hope that you can have a firm decision when you read through the whole piece.
What exactly is the difference between iPad 3rd and 4th Generation?
First and foremost it is crucial to understand the exact difference in terms of specification of the two tablets. Considering that Apple had a time of about 7 months for the upgrade they decided to go with the exact size, weight and dynamics from the previous versions. Externally both the iPads look exactly the same. The major difference that separates them is the new A6X processor in the 4th generation. This processor is claimed to be twice as fast as the previous generation A5X (inside the iPad 3). We did some real world test and found out that it really does perform a bit fast but the significant difference is the faster graphic processing.
You will not notice the fluidness of the new chip if you play games like Angry Birds, Bad Piggies etc. However when you opt for some graphic intensive games like Dead Space or Real Racing 2 there is a slight improvement in the performance. The margin is so small that it is hardly noticeable to the common man. Only tech savvy nerds who mingle with a wide variety of tablets will understand the real difference.
Both the tablets also feature the same resolution heavy retina display. The front facing camera in iPad 4 is 720p HD compared to the standard VGA Facetime camera of iPad 3. Last but not the least, the latest iPad features a smaller lightning connecter which is much smaller compared to the previous model.
Conclusion – The 4th generation iPad boost performance that is very minimal compared to the previous generation. However, app developers need to optimize their applications to take advantage of the new A6X Chip in order to truly enhance its powers. The front facing Facetime HD camera is definitely better but you need to make sure that both the users (you and the one you are calling) has a high bandwidth to experience a fluid non-destructive video conferencing experience. The smaller lightening connector goes with the latest trend of Apple chaining their charging port design. It’s just small and nothing else. It is not that your iPad will charge faster with the new connector. The major difference between the two models is so minimal as of now that it is not worth investing another $499 USD for it.
Why Did Apple change their iPad Lineup so quickly?
In order to decipher the true reasons and intentions behind the sudden launch of the 4th generation one has to look back at the conditions of the tablet industry when iPad 3 was first introduced in March. Several tablet manufacturers including Samsung, Acer etc. was catching up with the iPad 2’s configuration and functionalities. Apple needed a new device in order to roll the ball forward and stay ahead of the competition. They also went desperate to introduce a new Retina Display that was far superior than anyone in the market. Hence came the iPad 3 and it was thicker and heavier than the iPad 2. Apple never had the battery technology that could sustain the high demanding retina display so they hand to make a thicker Lithium battery. Sadly with the iPad 4 the battery technology hasn’t evolved at all. All you get in this refreshed update is the new lightning connector, better processor and Facetime HD (which should have been included into iPad 3).
If you followed the way Apple launched their products in the recent months then you must have noticed a certain pattern of moving their mobile devices into the lightning connector category so that you can use one accessory to charge all of them. Then there is the weight shift to retina display notebooks. Overall, the iPad 4 was introduced to keep their tablet lineup in par with the other products. I believe next year iPad 5 is going to be a killer and packed with newer technologies.
Conclusion – iPad 4 was a forceful strategic change from the company. It was introduced to fix some of the issues that should have been included in the previous tablet. If you have iPad 3 then wait for the next iPad in 2013. Looks like Apple will release the next one at WWDC 2013 cause there is a time shift in the product lineup.
Who should upgrade to iPad 4 then?
Finally, the answer lies in your personal preference of the way you use your iPad. If you are someone who just bought iPad 3 then please be happy with what you have cause the changes in the new model is subtle and nothing significant. If you always want to stay connected to your friends and family via Facetime or you do a lot of Skype calling then you might wanna consider buying the new iPad because of its HD front facing camera. People who enjoy playing high graphic games on a regular basis may also opt in for the new product.
If you are like me who is using the tablet for some day to day work, checking emails, playing some games, using to-do’s etc. then iPad 3 is still the perfect device. The VGA front facing HD camera still does a decent job of video calling and it takes a lot less bandwidth. I think that iPad 2 users should definitely upgrade to iPad 4 cause the improvement curve in this scenario is monumental. For the rest of us the 3rd generation still does pretty much all the task as you would expect from a classic Apple product.