iPad Air vs. 4th Generation iPad – Should You Upgrade?
Over the weekend I purchased my iPad Air. The new version of iPad is actually a departure from the original design. But is it enough of a difference to upgrade from your 4th generation iPad? What about an iPad 2?
Differences Between iPad Air and iPad 4.
OK. First of all, I am going to start calling it iPad 4 as opposed to “4th Generation iPad”. Now that’s out of the way…
There are FOUR differences
- the iPad Air is about an inch smaller
- The Air is .43 lbs lighter
- The new 64 bit chip with M7 co-processor can make it run slightly faster and battery will drain slower
- stereo speakers built-in (but still pointing toward the back of the device)
I ran some simple tests between iPad 4 and iPad Air. The first was a reboot – both were slow in shutting down, iPad Air was first to boot up. Next was a simple battery test – Close all programs, reboot the iPad and open the Clock app. Let the iPads run for 45 minutes. You can see the iPad 4 dispensing more battery than the Air, but it really wasn’t much difference.
I opened certain programs to see how they loaded. PITFALL!™ by Activision opens with a graphic intro, so I used that to note the difference in load times. iPad 4 could keep up, but it was a small bit behind the Air.
Will 64 bit iPad apps Work on iPad 4 and Under? Thunking?
In the tech world, if we want a 64 bit app to work on a 32 bit computer, we would use a algorithm that would “Thunk” it down to 32 bit. The instruction set would try to interpret the 64 bit codes best as possible. The software would work but not as well.
So the question is – will there be 64 bit apps that won’t work on iPad 2, 3 or 4? The answer – yes. Eventually there will be some higher-end apps that won’t work on earlier iPads. Same thing with iPhone.
Don’t fret too much – true 64-bit apps will eventually saturate the market, but not for a while. In 2015 you will want to make a definite upgrade.
Only Disappointment in the iPad Air – the Camera
There was no upgrade to 8 MP or better camera. There was no flash filter option installed. There was no 120 fps slow-motion option added. It was the same cameras that produced the same pictures as iPad4.
If you are a photographer that uses an iPad to get test photos or show off wedding pictures to your customers, there is no reason why you would want to upgrade. If you are using your iPad to record video, the same thing goes.
Result – Should I Upgrade to Air?
If you have an iPad 3 or iPad 4 – No. Those iPads have enough juice to do what you need. Like I said with photographers there is no reason to upgrade.
If you have an iPad 2 – YES! For the $100 difference, the iPad 2 is just not worth it. Might as well buy an iPad mini (either generation) for they’re both going to be cheaper than an iPad 2.
What About iPad mini?
I am finally recommending the iPad mini for purchase. It has the Retina display and the A5 chipset. Along with it comes a size you can fit into your pocket. It will be perfect for those who need a larger screen than an iPhone but not as big as the Air.