First review: The new Apple iPad for 2012

Apple’s new iPad may not be the most revolutionary change the company has produced, but it’s certainly an evolutionary update that will please anyone buying a tablet.


The latest refresh of Apple’s famed iPad line, “The new iPad” (as Apple is calling it) leaves most of what people love, while offering some much needed updates.

First up is the first thing that potential customers see: the screen.

Up to this point, all iPad screens have been 9.7 inch 1024 x 768 panels, but in the new iPad, Apple has quadrupled the pixels, increasing the clarity of the display dramatically. Here in the new iPad, you’ll find a 2048 x 1536 “Retina” screen, which with greater than 3.1 million pixels provides higher resolution than the two million-ish pixels offered by Full HD (1920 x 1080) televisions.

iPad 2 on the left, new iPad on the right: the difference under a microscope is very noticeable.

For the iPad, twice the horizontal and twice the vertical resolution means up to four times the pixels of the iPad 2 and many competitors. While the numbers may be confusing, all you really need to know is that there is a lot more visible detail on display, which has great benefits for ebooks and digital magazines. On-screen text is pin-sharp, even on web pages where you would normally need to zoom in to make the text legible.

Then there are the innards, with Apple moving from the dual-core A5 in the iPad 2 to the newer A5X, a processor featuring a dual-core CPU and quad-core GPU.

Wireless connectivity has been upgraded too, with WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n brought over from the previous generation, but Bluetooth moved to the new high-speed 4.0 standard. The top-tier iPad has also shifted from a 3G to a 4G modem, although in Australia, only dual-channel 3G (DC-HSDPA) is currently supported.

The much-criticised 720p rear camera that appears in the iPad 2 has been updated to a 5 megapixel camera with support for Full HD 1080p video capture. The front camera is the same VGA FaceTime camera from the previous model. The optics for the rear camera have been improved too, with an f/2.4 lens and a new infrared filter for more accurate colours.

New camera for the new iPad on the right, featuring a wider aperture than the camera on the iPad 2 (left).

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  1. It’s a pity they didn’t increase the memory.  The retina display will mean much larger file sizes for many apps and videos to take advantage of it.

    1. Probably was going to cost too much to jump to the next memory interval: 128GB. That’s double the current max of 64GB, and would probably make the iPad too close in price to the entry-level MacBook Air.

  2. Its not much of a revolution like the apple slogan promises. all makers are comeing out with better screens all the time, so no big one there. To be honest im dissapointed, apple seems to do things there way. All  iphones bluetooth want work like all the other makers out there because apple want let it. You cant send photo files or anything to any other bluetooth device, except there in car earpiece. Revoultionary B S

  3. Not sure what you mean. 4G speeds in America tend to be more in line with the 3G speeds on offer in Australia. 

    4G in Australia over Telstra is faster than the speeds Verizon 4G offers, although the experience can change based off where you are. 

    4G on Optus will likely use a mixture of two spectrums, but won’t be available until at least next year. Vodafone isn’t talking about 4G yet.

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