Apple’s iPad 4, also known as the iPad with Retina Display, is still sold on the Apple Store for $399. And while its features and price tag are probably tempting, there are some good reasons why you shouldn’t buy the iPad 4 right now.
Two years ago, Apple announced the iPad 4, its fourth-generation 9.7-inch iPad and a device that arrived in surprising fashion to replace the iPad 3 that had launched earlier in the year. While Apple’s iPad 4 shared some things in common with the iPad 3, it tacked on a few improved features including a new A6X processor, Lightning dock standard, and more.
Last October, Apple killed off the iPad 4 in favor of a lineup consisting of the iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina Display, iPad mini, and the iPad 2 in the company’s cheap $399 slot. Earlier this year, Apple revived the iPad 4 from the dead and killed off the iPad 2. Apple’s fourth-generation iPad now sits at the $399 spot, $100 below the iPad Air.
We’ve also seen several iPad 4 deals emerge in the last few months as we depart from summer into the fall. Retailers are trying to make iPad 4 as attractive as possible in the face of the numerous cheap Android tablets that litter the landscape.
They are tempting offers for a powerful slate but they are offers we think you should avoid, at least for the time being. In fact, we suggest avoiding the iPad 4 altogether as we head deeper into the year and closer to the holiday shopping season. There are a few reasons for that and we want to share them with you right now. Here’s why you shouldn’t buy the iPad 4, Apple’s forth-generation iPad, right now.
iPad Air 2
Let’s just get this out of the way real fast. If you can afford it, there’s really no reason to buy the iPad 4 over the iPad Air. The iPad Air’s specs are better but more important, its design is more compact which means that it’s far more portable than the iPad 4. In our opinion, the iPad Air is worth the price of admission and you would be wise to check it out now, and after this month’s festivities.
Last week, John Paczkowski of Recode proclaimed an October 16th launch date for the iPad. He wasn’t specific about what will be announced at the show though it looks like the iPad will be one the stars of the event. OS X Yosemite and new iMacs are also expected to join the iPad, or iPads, at Apple’s second fall launch event.
For several months, we’ve heard about an iPad Air 2. We’ve seen a number of iPad Air 2 rumors and leaks including information from well respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo believes that Apple has an iPad Air 2 release up its sleeve for the holidays. This is the same man who accurately predicted most of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus features ahead of time. He also made accurate predictions regarding the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display. His information is solid.
If Apple is launching a new iPad Air 2, it’s probably just a few weeks away. In other words, it’s probably worth holding off on a purchase. If that’s not enough, consider its potential specs.
iPad Air 2 specs will supposedly include the company’s brand new A8 processor that arrived alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus earlier this month. The new processor would deliver improved performance. It’s also supposed to come with Touch ID fingerprint technology, the same tech found inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 5s.
We’ve also heard that it may feature a new 8MP rear camera, come in three colors including gold, silver, and space gray, just like the iPhone, and that it could have an anti-reflective display. Here is what Ming-Chi Kuo had to say about the iPad Air 2 in early September:
In light of limited development resources and the fact that iPad Air contributes more to Apple’s sales and earnings than iPad mini, we think that only iPad Air 2 will see a major upgrade in specs this year, including anti-reflective coating for the cover lens, full lamination for the touch panel, a gold-colored metal casing, an A8 processor, Touch ID/ fingerprint recognition and an 8-megapixel rear camera. iPad mini may be upgraded with fingerprint recognition, if any.
So maybe the imminent release date and rumored specs aren’t enough, consider this. We could potentially see the older iPad Air take the $399 spot away from the iPad 4. That’s no guaranteed, we could see Apple stick with the iPad 4 at $399, but we think it’s probably worth it to find out. Again, the iPad Air, the current iPad Air, is a far superior tablet.
It also looks like Google is prepping for a tablet release of its own. Nexus 9 rumors suggest that it will arrive alongside Google’s official Android L release and rumors are pointing to an arrival sometime in the next few weeks. Interestingly, this new Nexus tablet will apparently land in between the iPad mini and iPad Air in terms of size.
The HTC-made Nexus 9, which could replace the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 as Google’s flagship Nexus tablet, is rumored to have an assortment of high-end features on board including:
- 8.9-inch 2048 x 1440 Full HD display (4:3 aspect ratio)
- NVIDIA Tegra K1 Quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM (64-bit)
- 16/32GB storage configurations
- Android 4.5 or 5.0 (L Release)
- 8 Megapixel OIS rear and 3 MP front camera
- New design
- HTC signature front facing speakers
If the price is right, and it could be, it will position itself as an intriguing challenger to the iPad mini and iPad Air, especially if Apple fails to refresh the former with new features this fall.
It’s expected sometime soon, this month to be exact, and it would be wise to hold out on a purchase until Google’s able to formally announce its highly anticipated challenger to both iPads.
iPad 4 Deals
Even if none of this pans out, by waiting a few weeks, you’ll open yourself up to more iPad 4 deals. We’ve already seen several emerge this year and with the holidays and Black Friday coming up, we imagine that retailers will offer some incentives. This is a device that’s now two years old and it could use all the help it can get. We expect to see some of these deals emerge in late October or early November.
The only reason to buy the iPad 4 right now is if you’ve found a deal that you can’t refuse. We haven’t seen too many of those emerge just yet so at this point, you’re probably better off waiting a few weeks for Apple’s latest change to the iPad lineup. It should pay dividends for all of you prospective iPad 4 buyers out there.