The hardware upgrades on the latest iPad ensure that it stays ahead of its rivals, but it's harder than ever to recommend, especially if you already own a 3rd-gen model.
The good: Upgraded hardware; high-resolution screen; excellent battery life.
The bad: As heavy as the previous version; performance gains limited to some apps.
The only surprise at Apple's unveiling of the iPad mini was the introduction of a new iPad. While there had been some talk about a new Lightning-compatible version, we had mostly dismissed the rumors as it seemed most unlikely for Apple to refresh its flagship tablet just seven months after its debut.
Apparently we were all wrong, for a 4th-gen iPad with a similar design as its short-lived predecessor was announced, with upgraded hardware.
In our review of the 3rd-gen iPad earlier this year, we remarked that the LTE connectivity on that tablet is limited to North America. It still uses a VGA front camera and didn't have a quad-core CPU like many of its Android competitors. Apple has addressed most of these issues in this surprise refresh of the iPad. It has even added dual-band Wi-Fi support..
In other words, the latest model remains the tablet to beat, with class-leading hardware. And yet, from our experience, it's hard to distinguish between the two iPads released this year. Perhaps we'll see more apps next year which can fully utilize the new A6X CPU on the latest iPad.