While there has been plenty of press about the iPad mini, not many blogs seems to be paying attention to the faster, full-sized fourth-generation iPad that was announced at the same time. Chris Foresman at Ars Technica took on the challenge of running the new iPad through its paces, and found that although the device has “processing power to spare,” not many apps currently take advantage of the speedy A6X processor’s capabilities.
The review found that the exterior design is virtually identical to its predecessor, with the sole change being the replacement of the 30-pin Dock connector with the new Lightning connector. But it’s the interior components that make the new iPad the powerful top-of-the-line beast that it is. As noted in the post, the front-facing camera now shoots 1.2 MP still images (720p video) and the LTE radios in the cellular-capable models now work in most countries with LTE service.
Foresman notes the GPU in the device’s A6X system-on-a-chip has been supercharged by using four Imagination Technologies SGX543 GPU cores running at a faster clock speed. Ars used Geekbench 2.3.6 to compare the fourth-generation iPad with its predecessor, and found that the score more than doubled from 758 for the third-generation to 1,770 for the fourth-gen device.
Not many games or other GPU-intensive apps are optimized for the A6X, however, and the bottom line from Ars is “we feel most current iPad 3 owners don’t need to rush out and upgrade to an iPad 4.” What’s your take on the “need for speed”? Do you plan on waiting for the next generation iPad, or have you already purchased or ordered a fourth-generation device?