The new iPads: What you need to know

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Now that the iPad mini exists, why would anyone buy an iPod touch?

With the 32GB iPod touch priced at $299 and the 64GB model priced at $399$70 more than the entry-level iPad minisome people are wondering why anyone would go for the iPod touch. Thats a valid question. But Apple would sayand we would agree, for the most partthat the markets for the two products are very different.

Sure, the iPad mini offers a larger screen, but the downside to such a size is that it no longer fits in your pocket. The iPod touch, on the other hand, is still pocketable (4.9 by 2.3 by 0.24 inches, 3.1 ounces)a crucial feature for some people. The iPod touch also offers more storage for your money, and a true Retina display. As with many things in tech, huge and miniature both cost more, and the iPod touch is a marvel of miniaturization. If you want an iOS device with lots of storage and really long battery life that fits in your pants pocket, the iPod touchor the iPhone, of courseis for you. If youre willing to give up pocketability and a good amount of battery life in order to get a much larger screen, Apple now has you covered there in a couple of different ways, too.

The fourth-generation iPad

What are the differences between the fourth-generation iPad and the third-generation model released earlier this year?

On the outside, the only obvious change is that the latest iPad uses Apples new Lightning connector instead of the older 30-pin dock connector. (If you have older audio and power accessories, you can use them with the new iPad via Apples Lightning-to-30-pin adapters.) But Apple has also upgraded the new iPads cameras, as the new iPad includes a FaceTime HD (720p) front camera and a 5-megapixel (1080p-capable) back camera, in contrast to the VGA-resolution front camera and 960-by-720-pixel back camera on the iPad 2.

The other big iPad changes are hidden inside. First, the fourth-generation iPad features a dual-core A6X processor with quad-core graphics, a significant upgrade over the A5X processor in the third-generation iPad. The new version also has upgraded Wi-Fi circuitry: Apple claims that the fourth-generation iPad provides up to twice the wireless performance of the third-generation model. Specifically, the new iPad supports channel bonding, which means that it can use two adjacent bands of the wireless spectrum, allowing a theoretical doubling of the data rate. Channel bonding can work in the 2.4GHz frequency band, but youre much more likely to get its full advantages in the 5GHz band. (In fact, Apples own Base Stations, and many from other companies, dont support channel bondingalso known as wide channelsin the 2.4GHz range at all, so you benefit only when using the 5GHz range.)

Speaking of wireless, the new iPad also has upgraded LTE circuitry thats compatible with more carriers around the worldand with Sprint in the United States.

Has the price of the full-size iPad changed?

No. As usual, Apple has updated the iPad line but kept prices the same. This means that the entry-level fourth-generation iPad, which includes 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi, is $499. $599 gets you 32GB of storage, while $699 buys 64GB. If you want LTE cellular data, you tack on $130, for a total of $629, $729, or $829, respectively. The 16GB iPad 2not the third-generation iPad, which has been discontinuedis still available at $399 for the Wi-Fi version and $529 for the 3G cellular-data model.

This story, "The new iPads: What you need to know" was originally published by Macworld.

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