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:
|Spec||iPad 2||iPad with Retina Display|
|Display||9.7-inch 1024 x 768 (132 ppi) color IPS LCD||9.7-inch 2048 x 1546 (264 ppi) color IPS LCD|
|SoC||Apple A5||Apple A6X|
|CPU||1 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9||1.4 GHz dual-core Apple Swift|
|GPU||Dual-core PowerVR SGX543MP2||Quad-core PowerVR SGX55MP4|
|RAM||512 MB DDR2 RAM||1024 MB LPDDR2 RAM|
|Storage||16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB||16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB|
|Camera||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|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDROptional: 3G HSDPA, 2G cellular EDGE, assisted GPS||WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0Optional: 3G transitional LTE, assisted GPS, GLONASS|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, magnetometer||Accelerometer, ambient light sensor, magnetometer, gyroscope|
|Battery||6,944 mAh||11,560 mAh|
|Price||Launch: Starting $499Post-2012: Starting $399||Launch: Starting $499Post-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.