Apple's iPad 2 vs 4th Generation iPad with Retina Display

Apple's second generation iPad has been around for over three years. First announced on March 2, 2011, the device went on sale just over a week later, replacing the original iPad. However, despite the release of third and fourth generation iPads and the launch of the iPad Air, the iPad 2 remained available through Apple's website. Even when the iPad 4/fourth generation was discontinued last fall following the release of the iPad Air, the iPad 2 lived on. That changes today, though, as Apple has formally announced the return of the fourth generation iPad and the discontinuation of the iPad 2.

The iPad with Retina Display is now Apple's entry-level iPad and is priced at $399 for the WiFi-only 16 GB model. This is compared to $499 for the WiFi-only 16 GB version of the iPad Air. So how does the new entry-level iPad compare to the old entry-level iPad in terms of specs? Check the table below for a side-by-side comparison:

iPad 2
iPad with Retina Display
9.7-inch 1024 x 768 (132 ppi) color IPS LCD
9.7-inch 2048 x 1546 (264 ppi) color IPS LCD
Apple A5
Apple A6X
1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9
1.4 GHz dual-core Apple Swift
Dual-core PowerVR SGX543MP2
Quad-core PowerVR SGX55MP4
16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB
16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB
0.7-megapixel, 720p HD still and video, 30 fps, 5x digital zoom/0.3-megapixel VGA
5-megapixel, 1080p HD still and video, 30 fps, 5x digital zoom/1.2-megapixel
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR
Optional: 3G HSDPA, 2G cellular EDGE, assisted GPS
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
Optional: 3G transitional LTE, assisted GPS, GLONASS
SensorsAccelerometer, ambient light sensor, magnetometer
Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, magnetometer, gyroscope
6,944 mAh
11,560 mAh
Launch: Starting $499
Post-2012: Starting $399
Launch: Starting $499
Post-2012: Starting $399

If you're wondering why Apple has decided to get rid of the iPad 2 after letting it live through so many updates, you're not alone. One of the prime suspects is the 30-pin connector, which isn't present on the iPad with Retina Display or any of the current generation Apple products or accessories. Introduced two years ago, the Lightning connector has to completely replace the 30-pin dock connector at some point, and it looks like the discontinuation of the iPad 2 might be a sign that Apple is moving things in that direction. Apple still sells the 8 GB iPhone 4S with the 30-pin dock connector, but with the introduction of an 8 GB iPhone 5C, even the iPhone 4S's days could be numbered.

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • doomtomb
    Looks like it's finally time to sell my iPad 2. It was a good run.
  • ethanolson
    I liked the Gen2 iPad much better than the Gen1. It had a better shape and feel and it hardly crashed. I was crashing the iPad 1 a couple times a day at works and a couple times a week at best. The iPad2 crashed on me maybe a total of 4 times ever... and it had much better performance.
  • StarBound
    My first Apple device and a very worth while product. I replaced mine last year with the Air once I felt the leap was far enough. Now my ipad 2 has a home with my brother but he loves it and at the same time I miss the shape and feel of the ipad 2. The Air feels like a cheap piece of plastic and even the new iOS feels cheap when looking at it. A far cry from the once sleek and glossy look that distinguished Apple from the rest.