iPad 2, 3, 4
Following the iPad was no easy feat, but Apple launched the iPad 2 just 11 months after the release of the original iPad and enjoyed a similar title as a leader of the ‘post-PC’ era. Unlike the iPad, the iPad 2 had a camera on the rear as well as the front, and boasted a range of improved features including; a thinner, lighter case, faster processors and system-wide mirroring support. The change in operating system to run one akin to the new iPhone and iPod touch models meant users had access to most iPhone/iPod touch apps, not just iPad-specific apps, and this in turn improved the iPad’s versatility and inter-device interplay. This new generation had a unique, custom-built, improved 1 GHz dual-core Apple A5 system, and was originally available in flash memory sizes 16GB, 32GB and 64GB (though 32GB and 64GB were later discontinued).
While many retailers and critics name this new generation as the ‘iPad 3’, Apple has never referred to it with such a name, though they do highlight the iPad 3rd Generation as being significantly more powerful than the previous two. While the iPad 3 may look remarkably similar to its predecessor, it has incorporated a range of new features including; a retina display to improve the visual quality, an updated processor for better graphics and an upgraded 5 megapixel camera (the ‘iSight’) on the rear of the iPad. These updates allow for improved social networking, internet browsing and photo and film viewing, and though this new generation is also nearly 60g heavier than the previous model (and thicker too) it is still significantly slimmer and lighter than the original iPad. The iPad 3 can also boast a range of ‘firsts’; it was the first iPad to support the now infamous ‘Siri’, to be 4G enabled, to have 1GB of RAM on top of the flash memory, and featured a new custom-built dual-core 1 GHz Apple A5X system for the fastest processing yet.
The iPad 4 (known as ‘the iPad with Retina Display’) was released. The iPad 4th generation share the same housing as the 3rd generation before them, but works with a faster processor, faster wifi and an improved ‘iSight’ camera capable of shooting higher quality videos. All 4th generation models come equipped with 4G, and a ‘lightning port’- a replacement for older generations dock connector port. Aside from these improvements, the specifications of the iPad 4 are largely similar to the iPad 3, except the iPad 4 is available with a flash memory of 128GB and runs on an improved dual-core 1.4 GHz Apple A6X system, custom-built for the improved processor and wifi speeds.
The similar dimensions shared by the iPad 2, 3 and 4 opened a new market for tablet cases and covers. The new generation iPads all support a cover system known as ‘smart-covers’, where the iPad clips in to a hard-backed case with a front to protect the screen. These fronts covers open and close like a book, and automatically wakes the iPad when it is opened and sets the iPad into standby when it is closed. This technology has led to the development of many different iPad cases and styles, and the iPad’s transportability has led to an increased demand for cases and covers that provide suitable protection.