After a three-year run, Apple has laid the iPad 2 to rest, replacing it with the resurrected fourth-generation iPad, now called the “iPad with Retina display” on the Apple Store. The fourth-generation iPad will serve as the entry-level model, priced at $399 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for the LTE variant. (The original iPad mini also remains available, with a 16 GB Wi-Fi model for $299 and an LTE model for $429.) This lineup change also marks the end of the 30-pin dock connector, which has now been entirely replaced by the Lightning connector, introduced in September 2012.
We were perplexed when Apple dropped the fourth-generation iPad but kept the iPad 2 around back in October (see “Apple Announces iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina Display,” 22 October 2013). Why did Apple flip the lineup this late in the game? Our best guess is that Apple wanted to replace the iPad 2 sooner, but couldn’t bring the fourth-generation iPad down to the $399 price point while retaining a decent profit margin.
So, if you’ve been holding out for an iPad upgrade, should you save money by picking up a fourth-generation model? I wouldn’t. The iPad mini with Retina display is much smaller and 0.76 pounds (345 grams) lighter, has a faster A7 processor, and is the same price. If you want a larger screen and can afford an extra $100, the iPad Air is an improvement over the fourth-generation iPad in every way. It’s 0.71 inches (1.8 cm) narrower and 0.44 pounds (200 grams) lighter, features a better screen, and has the faster A7 processor.
In other news, Apple has introduced an 8 GB version of the iPhone 5c to its European stores, which retails for £429.00 (about US$711). It’s still not exactly the budget iPhone some analysts were hoping for and only £40 ($66) less than the 16 GB model.