October 23, 2012 by Grant Clauser
Apple had people on edge for an hour at today’s press conference, waiting patiently through news about updated notebooks, Mac Minis and a new iMac (which does look pretty cool). Finally, the iPad news came along, and it had a lot of people scratching their heads.
Only six months ago Apple held a press conference to announce the third iPad (called simply iPad instead of iPad 3). Today the company launched a new full-sized iPad. Yes the specs are a little better, but for people who bought the new iPad and expected it to be current for a whole year—sorry.
The new iPad, called iPad with Retina Display (simply poetic), replaces the third iPad (the iPad 2 will still be available however). It sports the same physical dimensions as the previous model, a Retina Display with 2048 x 1536 resolution, a dual-core A6X processor, two cameras (1.2 MP/720p for Facetime and 5 MP/1080p for photos and videos) and faster Wi-Fi. It also features the Lighting Connector (I hate saying that) that debuted on the iPhone 5. Twitter was abuzz with speculation that the Lighting Connector was the primary motivation for this new release.
Other than that, it’s not terribly different from the one released earlier this year.
The bigger news was the smaller iPad. While small Android tablets, particularly the Amazon Kindle Fire (and Fire HD) and the Google Nexus 7 have been successful, Apple has gone without competitive mini tablet. Until now.
The new iPad Mini is a little bigger than its direct competitors. It has a 7.9 inch IPS (not Retina) display with a resolution of 1280 x 800. It uses an A5 processor and sports a 5 MP front camera and 1.2 MP/720p Facetime camera. Apple rates the battery at 10 hours. And yes, this one also has the Lighting Connector.
So will the iPad Mini be strong competition for the small Android tablets? At $329 (16 GB version) it’s $130 more than the entry-level Nexus and Fire. Apple brand loyalty and reliability may pull some people away, but it might be better to look at this as a less expensive iPad rather than a more expensive mini tablet.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.
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