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Old is New Again

March 19, 2014 - Dave Hecei

ipads In a bit of a surprise move, Apple has discontinued the iPad 2. The bigger surprise is what they replaced it with. Apple has rereleased the 4th generation iPad with pricing starting at $399.

October of last year (2013), Apple announced the new iPad mini with Retina and a new full-sized iPad, the iPad Air. At that time, Apple discontinued the 4th generation iPad but kept the iPad 2 as the entry-level 10-inch iPad. This made the iPad 2 the only iPad with the original 30-pin dock connector. This was seen as a move to help ease the transition from the 30-pin connector to the newer Lightning port connector. Since the iPad had become an important staple in K-12 education, keeping a low-cost 30-pin compatible device on the books seemed like a good idea.

With the iPad 2 gone, all of Apple’s iPad devices use the newer 9-pin Lightning connector for charging and syncing. With more and more Lightning compatible accessories out there, I guess it seemed to be time to put it out to pasture, as they say. On another note, it also means that all full-sized iPads have Retina displays. Retina is Apple’s trademark for high-resolution LCD panels.

The current Apple iPad lineup is as follows. There are two iPad minis. The entry-level iPad mini is still available, and is technically identical in specs to the iPad 2 except for physical screen size (it shows the same 1024 x 768 pixels). The iPad mini is only available with 16GB of storage in a Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi + cellular. The iPad mini with Retina is available with 16, 32, 64, or 128GB of storage. It is also available in Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + cellular models. The iPad mini with Retina pricing is $399, $499, $599, and $699 respectively. Adding cellular networking is $130 additional.

The new entry-level full-sized iPad, what Apple calls the iPad with Retina display, is only available with 16GB of storage. It is also available with Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi + cellular. The iPad Air is available with 16, 32, 64, or 128GB of storage. Pricing is, in order of storage size, $499, $599, $699, and $799. Of course, adding cellular networking is $130 additional.

Starring now, there is only one iPad model that is not Retina, the base iPad mini 16GB. The entry-level 10-inch iPad is now the old iPad 4, which for the same price, is a much improved iPad compared to the aging iPad 2. If you can live with Wi-Fi only and 16GB of storage, this new iPad is a hell of a bargain.

(Note: the Wi-Fi only iPad models do not have GPS circuitry in them.)


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