Is the iPad 4 Worth Buying?

Lori Blom asks:

Do you think the iPad 4 is worth buying?

iPad Fourth GenerationThe fourth generation iPad (more simply called the new iPad) is a great step up for owners of the original iPad who would benefit from the lighter body and Retina display. iPad 2 owners may even find the boost in performance and graphics useful for more intense 3D gaming and on-tablet video editing. Beyond that, the reasons to upgrade from the third generation iPad are very few.

Is the new iPad worth buying? That depends on what your needs are. You could save some money and buy the iPad 2, which is still being produced and supported by Apple and is more than capable of running the vast majority of the 150,000+ tablet-optimized apps available on the iTunes App Store. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the iPad 2, especially since the current iOS version runs just fine on it.

If using the front and rear facing cameras is your thing, then you might find the third or fourth generation iPad to be a better choice. Optics have improved considerably between the iPad 2 and the latest iPad, which features a 5 megapixel iSight camera on the back and a 720p front-facing camera.

Let’s say you’ve never owned an iPad before, and just want to know if the new iPad is worth picking up. If you feel that you need a tablet, then it very well could be. The iPad has a considerably larger tablet-optimized library than Android at this point. Things might change, but for right now it’s hard to deny just how easy it is to find an app to fit a variety of needs without sacrificing an interface made for the screen you’re using.

For most people, however, a tablet computer remains more of luxury than a necessity. Business professionals who use tablets instead of laptops at meetings and while demonstrating products and services to clients might find it a very wise investment. For most home users, it’s simply a novel way to experience and create content. Even then, an iPad mini (which is basically a smaller iPad 2) will more than fit the bill. In fact, an iPad mini also gives you Siri at a much lower price than the third or fourth generation iPad would. A 7 inch screen is actually preferable to many users, so consider that before throwing down ~$500 on the full-size iPad fourth generation.

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.