By Frank Ling
If you are in the market for an iPad, Apple has made the task a bit easier by cutting down its selection of models to just three basic ones. We’ll go over these and find out what the difference are, and which one may be the perfect fit for you.
The iPad mini
This little guy is Apple’s answer to Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, which are also excellent small tablets. But if you want to take advantage of the Apple ecosystem full of hundreds of thousands of apps, programs, and games, the iPad mini may be just what you are looking for.
In essence, the iPad mini is a scaled-down iPad that has a display screen size of 7.9-inches as opposed to the 9.7-inch display of its big brother. The iPad mini behaves, operates, and functions just like the bigger iPad.
However, unlike the larger iPads and the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7, the iPad mini does not have a high definition display, which may be a deal breaker for some. The basic iPad mini comes with 16GB of internal storage. There are also 32GB and 64GB versions with LTE capability.
The size of this unit is what the entire buzz is about because it is easier to handle, and lighter. If portability is what you are after in an iPad, the iPad mini may be the perfect fit for you.
The iPad 2
The second generation of the iPad improves upon the original with increased processing power, front and rear HD cameras, and expanded internal storage. The screen size is 9.7-inches and is in standard resolution. The late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, believed that this screen size provided the optimal experience for tablet users.
The larger screen is ideal for viewing movies, playing video games, reading, surfing the Internet, checking emails, and listening to your favorite tunes.
The iPad 2 comes in either black or white and is available only in a 16GB configuration.
For those who want an entry level iPad, the iPad 2 is the one to get.
The new iPad
This iPad is the third generation of the device and was released in March 2012. Although it is more recent than the iPad 2, the new iPad is no longer listed on the Apple Store website and has been replaced with the fourth generation iPad Retina. However, the new iPad can still be purchased as a “refurbished” item.
The new iPad’s main differences from the iPad 2 are its HD Retina display, storage memory options of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, and improved camera resolution to 1080p.
iPad with Retina display (iPad 4)
The fourth generation iPad was released on October 23, 2012, just a mere seven months after the launch of the new iPad. The iPad with Retina display or more commonly referred to as the iPad 4, is the latest refresh of the iPad line.
Improvements feature an improved and faster processor, LTE connectivity, and new iOS6 system software. In all other aspects, the iPad 4 incorporates the same features as the new iPad.
For those who want the most up-to-date version of the iPad, the iPad4 is the way to go.
You can’t go wrong
Apple is the company that first introduced the tablet computer and has never looked back as it continues to be the number one tablet manufacturer in the world.
The different versions of the iPad differ slightly in performance, resolution, and features, but are all worthy choices for your selection.
Because the iPad 4 and the iPad 2 are only separated in price by only $100, and if your budget can allow for the extra cost, the iPad 4 may be the better choice.
The iPad mini is a bit more problematic because it doesn’t offer an HD display. However, it is almost a certainty that Apple will release a Retina HD version of the iPad mini in the future, so if you are willing to wait till next year, an improved iPad mini will be available then. But if the lack of an HD display isn’t a deal breaker, the smaller iPad mini will offer a great experience in a less bulky package.
In the long run, the iPads featured by Apple are all excellent and you can't really go wrong with any of them.
Frank Ling is the National Technology Examiner for Examiner.com. He is a writer, professional photographer, and video editor. One of his all-time favorite jobs was working at a large video game publisher as a QA trainer for testing game software.