Saturday, November 17, 2012

The best 10-inch tablet gets a little better

Biggest of all is the new processor lurking beneath: an A6X processor, replacing the third-gen's A5X. The previous iPad was no slouch in the performance department, but as we remarked when we reviewed the iPad in March, its speed gains weren't such a huge quantum leap compared with what we got from the iPad 2. The A6X speeds up the iPad back to levels you'd expect, and it handles Retina Display graphics even better. This is the iPad 3S, so to speak. Considering that the iPad still has the same price as before, starting at $499 for 16GB, it's an even better buy than it was seven months ago. The landscape's changed a little bit since March. Competing tablets have become more affordable. Windows 8 and RT tablets now offer an alternative set of products. None of these can touch the iPad. The biggest competitor, really, is that innocent iPad Mini, which could be the biggest little disruptor of them all, especially when it gets its own Retina Display. You may be concerned to buy this iPad: could Apple surprise us with more frequent updates instead of yearly cycles? I think that's unlikely. Plus, the important point is that this iPad is the best one. It's polished. It's improved over the third-gen model. If you were on the fence about buying one before, now's the time to go ahead and do it. And it's still a better product than the iPad Mini...this year, at least.

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