Gear

Thoughts on the iPad 4th Gen

For most Apple devotees, the iPad 4th generation may seem like an insignificant upgrade.

Apple’s vicious cycle of  technical upgrades often leaves proud owners of ‘new’ devices in the dust. The iPad 4th generation represents the most rapid turnaround between devices in the iPad line, but as most early adopters of this device are noting, the benefits of the upgrade are not yet seen.

The new A6X processor is certainly fast, but doesn’t warrant an upgrade from the iPad 3rd gen, for now. I am sure we will eventually see apps taking advantage of the extra power, but the continued existence of the iPad2 and the birth of the iPad Mini means that until the lower end of the spec range is bumped up we won’t see too many games that fully harness iPad 4th Gen’s power.

I upgraded from a 1st gen iPad, for me the change is phenomenal. As the rest of the world already knows, games look absolutely fantastic on the more recent iPads. Browsing is snappy, the cameras are great, and everything else you love about the iPad is here, but faster.

The new iPad also feature’s Apple’s new “lightning connector,” and because the only thing I ever plug my iPad in for is either to charge or to back up, I can’t say that the change is significant.

Is the 4th generation iPad a good device? Definitely. For Apple fans such as myself, who are upgrading from an original iPad, the difference in hardware and leap in App compatability are most certainly worth the purchase. First time iPad owners should definitely pay the extra cash for the 4th Gen over the iPad 2. I would, however, encourage 2nd and 3rd gen owners to hold off on the purchase. Chances are, by the time something takes advantage of the iPad 4th generation, the iPad 5th gen will already be out.

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  • DeInit

    My stance on this device is that it was the originally planned 3rd generation but couldn’t be put out in time for the yearly refresh and so those who got an iPad 3 received the nerfed version. That this device keeps the processing-power-to-pixels ratio of the iPad 2 (it has 4x the pixels, 4x the gpu power) is evidence enough that the iPad 3, which only doubled the gpu power and kept the same cpu power as the 2, was not up to snuff and that is further demonstrated by the most graphically intensive games, such as Infinity Blade 2, not going for full 1536 resolution and resorting to upscaling an intermediate one instead. Sure, I can read fine on the iPad 3, read, watch videos, but for all the power they bragged about it should have, it’s been a jittery bugger on a number of situations.

  • nizy

    My guess is that Real Racing 3 will be the 1st game to truly push both the iPhone 5 and iPad 4 (and the A6 inside each) to new heights. Firemint always like to push the boundaries of new hardware and they had exclusive access to the iPhone 5 for the keynote demo.

  • ltcommander_data

    As Delnit describes, it shouldn’t actually be that hard for developers to take advantage of the A6X and iPad 4. At least it’s GPU. The A5X in the iPad 3 was only 2x more powerful than the A5 in the iPad 2 even though the pixel count increased 4x. This meant that graphically intensive games either ran with all graphics effects on but at a sub-Retina resolution using only 2x the pixels of the iPad 2 instead of a Retina 4x in order to match the A5X GPU capabilities such as Infinity Blade 2 or ran at full Retina resolution with 4x pixel count but with graphical effects turned down such as NOVA 3. With the A6X and the iPad 4, developers can now enable full graphical effects at Retina resolution which improves image quality over the iPad 3, but isn’t a lot of work since they are just rendering existing iPad 2 level quality at higher resolution.

    I’m not saying iPad 3 users should immediately upgrade to the iPad 4, since it’s rarely worthwhile trying to upgrade with every hardware generation, just that the advantages of the iPad 4 shouldn’t take that long to become apparent.

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