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Tech Guide’s iPad fourth generation review

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ipad4thumb2You wouldn’t update a product after just seven month unless you had a good reason. Apple’s decision to unveil the fourth generation iPad was motivated by a few very good reasons.

The fourth generation iPad looks almost identical to the new iPad which was unveiled in March.

It is the same size and weight and features the same amazing Retina Display.

But there are some significant differences and this review of the iPad fourth generation will be concentrating on those changes.

The main changes are the new A6X processor, the 4G/LTE compatibility and the smaller Lightning dock connector.

Apple has made an already excellent product even better with the iPad fourth generation.

The fourth generation iPad with A6X processor

A6X CHIP

Apple has continued to improve its processor development and the introduction of the A6X chip inside the fourth generation iPad demonstrates that dramatically.

It is Apple’s most powerful mobile processor to date and it’s up to twice as fast in CPU performance and graphics performance.

With the A6X onboard the fourth generation iPad is lightning fast with apps opening up instantly. Even things like scrolling between pages and menus are noticeably faster.

But what really demonstrates the A6X’s power is when you do things like movie and image editing with filters and effects able to be viewed in real time.

On the graphics side, the A6X comes into play with improved image signal processing to make your apps, games and movies run even more smoothly on the iPad’s Retina Display.

The iPad fourth generation is the same size and weight as the previous model

4G/LTE

The new iPad released in March ran into controversy when it was labelled as a 4G product here in Australia despite the fact that the 4G radios on board would not work with Australia’s networks.

The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) actually took Apple to court for misleading labelling and won.

This resulted in Apple being forced to pay a fine and then change its iPad packaging from Wi-Fi + 4G to Wi-Fi + Cellular.

There are no such troubles this time out with the new fourth generation iPad with 4G/LTE compatibility with Australia’s networks.

This was probably the main reason why Apple decided to introduce this new model sooner rather than later especially after the successful launch of the Phone 5 and the iPad Mini which both also work on Australia’s networks.

The new iPad would have been the odd one out if Apple had waited until March for this update.

It was this desire for consistency across Apple product line that’s bringing us the new fourth generation iPad in November instead of March.

The 4G/LTE version of the fourth generation will be released in a couple of weeks with the wi-fi only version released first.

Tech Guide has been using the wi-fi only version for the past week and while we couldn’t test the 4G speeds, we were able to enjoy the faster wi-fi connectivity thanks to dual band support and channel bonding.

The Lightning dock connector on the fourth generation iPad

LIGHTNING CONNECTOR

The new fourth generation iPad is also sporting Apple’s new smaller Lightning dock connector which made its debut with the iPhone 5.

Apple has also introduced the Lightning connector with the new iPad Mini, the new iPod Nano and the iPod Touch.

The biggest advantages of the Lightning connector is that it’s small and also reversible so there’s no need to fumble about turning it around the right way.

Being smaller than the previous 30-pin Lightning dock connector we though Apple may have shaved off a few millimetres off the device but the company decided to keep the dimensions identical to the new iPad released in March.

This is handy for anyone’s who already invested in a case – it will still work just fine but now there will be even more wiggle room around the Lightning dock connector.

VERDICT

The fourth generation iPad might not look like a big improvement over the previous model but it is.

The improvements under the hood, the addition of 4G compatibility and the inclusion of the Lightning connector had made a great product even better.

Apple’s design and quality is plain to see and yet another reason why every other tablet manufacturer is playing for second.

The fourth generation iPad is easily the best tablet on the market. And to sweeten the deal even further – it’s the same price as the older model.

iPad with Retina Display (fourth generation)

Price: $539 (16GB wi-fi), $649 (32GB wi-fi), $759 (64GB wi-fi), $679 (16GB wi-fi + 4G/LTE), $789 (32GB wi-fi + 4G/LTE), $899 (64GB wi-fi + 4G/LTE).

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