updated 09:22 am EDT, Wed October 31, 2012
Lightning connector, short release cycle come under criticism
Reviews for the new, fourth generation iPad have gone online. Though for the most part reviews were positive, reviewers considered the tablet as more a minor refresh rather than a major leap forward that is usually expected of an Apple release. The faster processor and better screen were welcomed, though the short time between the last two iPad launches, excluding the iPad mini, was a concern.
CNET's Scott Stein was quick to suggest to readers that the quick update schedule worked against existing iPad owners, asking "Should owners of the now 'old' third-gen March 2012 iPad be upset? Should new buyers be wary?" and answering yes to the first and no to the second question. While the faster A6X was praised, he suggested that the speed increase brings what was expected to arrive with the third generation. "This is the iPad 3S, so to speak." The almost-halved boot time and improved handling of graphically-intensive apps were a visible sign of the A6X at work.
Engadget's Tim Stevens echoed the processor improvements, claiming "The new iPad skips directly past its predecessor's Ludicrous speed and goes directly to Plaid." The new 1.2 megapixel FaceTime HD camera on the front was a "solid improvement." The rear camera "took pleasing shots" at a faster rate, though not improved by much, and the lack of Panorama and HDR modes was lamented.
The upgraded screen, despite being the same size as before, has seen praise. Sophie Charara of Stuff said of the 2048x1536 resolution Retina display "Hold it up closer to your eyeballs and you'll see just the merest hint of blockiness around the edges of graphics (and you'll also look like a lunatic)." Praise was also heaped onto the technology behind thumb recognition, even with the larger form factor. "It's less of an issue here becuase the iPad 4 has a sizeable physical bezel, but you can quickly see how badly Android tablets fare in this respect."
The Lightning connector, generally seen by reviewers as the main externally-viewable change between the third and four generation iPads, came under a fair amount of criticism. "The new connector means that any docks, cables, or accessories you had for your iPad are now useless without a $29 adapter that's currently all but impossible to find anywhere" said David Pierce of The Verge, before reminding readers that Apple has its reasons for using the connector.
Reviewers in general praised the new iPad, although it wasn't considered as much of an upgrade as a refresh of an existing product. Writing for Slashgear, Vincent Nguyen claimed "The third-generation iPad arguably didn't need refreshing; in fact, if Apple hadn't opted to change to Lightning, it could realistically have held off changing its largest tablet until early 2013, as per its typical yearly refresh cycle."