If the new 3rd generation iPad’s pricing is a bit too high for your liking, the iPad 2 is still available (see our review here), and is still a very good deal. Even though it is only available in 16GB capacity, the $400 price tag is good enough to keep the competition at bay.
But Apple has not simply taken the “old” iPad 2 and decreased the price – they are actually using a new, more efficient chip design in the “new old iPad 2”. While the exterior looks exactly the same, the built in Apple A5 processor is built on a new, more efficient 32nm manufacturing process, which has significantly increased battery life. The actual chip is smaller, but still contains the exact same number of transistors, but it needs less electricity to keep going.
This means that the “new” iPad 2 gives around 20% better battery life, depending on the task at hand. In fact, Anandtech found that the newer processor of the iPad 2,4 (as its official codename is called) runs 720p video at a full 15 hours, compared to 13 hours for the previous iPad 2. Just for interest’s sake – the iPad 3rd generation can “only” hit 11 hours.
The 32nm manufacturing process also makes the new chip run a little cooler than before. Apple has not used this new process for the iPad 3, but it gives an interesting look at what future Apple products might be more capable of – so expect this better battery life in upcoming iPads and iPhones.
But right now, if you are not bothered with the new Retina display in the 3rd generation iPad, you might want to make sure you can get hold of the newer “iPad 2,4”. The problem is that it is very tough to spot. In fact, when it is inside the box, you will not know whether or not it is the new version. However, if you power it up, you will see it ships with iOS 5.1 and you will need to load a utility like GeekBench to see whether it is indeed the iPad 2,4. Hopefully retailers in SA will keep track if they do carry the latest iPad 2.