New iPad vs iPad 2: spot the differences

Mon, 19 Mar 2012, 10:15am

New iPad

As an iPad 2 owner, I spent last night covering the 'new iPad' launch and wondering if I'd wake up this morning and feel disappointed with my purchase, especially as Apple has now cut the price of the old model.

At least I managed to get a 32GB iPad 2, as now it's only available as a 16GB version, albeit at a reduced price of £329 for the wi-fi-only version (£429 if you want 3G).

New iPad

Anyway, I've been trawling through Apple's website comparing tech specs between the old and new models (OK, I'm a geek) and now the dust has settled on last night's hoopla, the comparison makes interesting reading.

So here's a breakdown of the key differences:

New iPad                                          iPad 2

A5X processor, with                          A5 processor
quad-core graphics, 2x faster              

Retina display

2048 x 1536 resolution at                 1024 x 768 pixel resolution at
264 pixels per inch (ppi)                    132 pixels per inch (ppi)

iSight 5MP camera with                  Back camera with 720p HD
HD (1080p) video recording              video recording

241.2x185.7x9.4mm (HWD)             241.2x185.7x8.8mm (HWD)

Weight 652g                                       Weight 601g

Wi-fi and 4G                                       Wi-fi and 3G

Bluetooth 4.0 technology                  Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR technology

Voice dictation

Video stabilisation

Up to 10 hours web surfing on          Up to 10 hours web surfing on
wi-fi, 9 hours on mobile data (4G)     wi-fi, 9 hours on mobile (3G)

New iPad

Now our intrepid News Ed Joe, who was at last night's launch and managed to get his hands on the new model (above), reckons that Retina display is a big improvement over the old one. And in America at least, 4G capability will make mobile browsing much faster.

But here in the UK we're stuck with 3G for now. And given that I've already been able to upgrade my iPad 2 (and Apple TV for that matter) to iOS 5.1, I reckon I'm not missing out on that much.

The new iPhoto for iPad app looks pretty cool, and I can download that for £2.99 which I may well do. Otherwise, my trusty 'old' iPad 2 does everything I want it to, streaming music over AirPlay, syncing with iTunes Match/iCloud, giving me one of the slickest interfaces around and 720p video which is good enough for me on something with a 9.7in screen.

Oh, and I can now delete images from my Photo Stream, which is handy.

So I won't be joining the queue at my local Apple store on March 16th. You'll have to wait for the official What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision verdict on the new iPad (coming soon), but for now I reckon that price cut on the iPad 2 still makes it a pretty enticing proposition.

Joe Cox writes...

Well, Andy may not be convinced by the new Apple iPad but having had the chance to get hands-on with Apple's new baby at the UK press launch on Wednesday night, I can't help thinking he's kidding himself.

I too was underwhelmed at first as we listened to the announcement. Most people were expecting more than 'just' a better screen and a faster processor.

Yet, think how crucial those two aspects are to the iPad experience. We'll of course be bringing a full review very soon but from first impressions the quality of the screen marks a big improvement.

This won't just impact on any video you watch but on viewing web pages, playing games, enjoying apps, taking and editing pictures, reading text, eBooks and newspapers... pretty much everything we love about the iPad will in time look that much better. Sounds good, no?

And of course thanks to that quad core processor, it'll all work faster, too. Again: browsing, editing, reading, flicking, scrolling, loading, all now faster. Are you sure you're happy with your existing iPad?

It's in our – and almost certainly your – tech-addicted nature to want the latest and greatest technology, whether it be a TV, pair of speakers, AV receiver or indeed a tablet. We'll be bringing you our final verdict on the new iPad very soon but my hunch is the improvements, albeit few in number, could make all the difference.

Read all about the new iPad in our extended news story.




Thanks for a good piece that perfectly illustrates a key point - Andy reads about the specs and decides he doesn't want one, Joe has handled one and thinks he may be wrong. 

It reminds me of the iPhone 4 launch/release - people reading the specs decided they weren't going to upgrade until they clapped eyes on mine - retina display and faster chip clinched it for them. The experience is everything - no-one at What HiFi would recommend buying any hifi kit without trying it first.

I know that different folk will take different things from this article - as for me it wil be my first iPad partly because my needs and the capability of iPad + iOS have converged and parrtly because of the golden rule of Apple purchases 'never buy the first iteration, consider the second (it will be what the first one should have been) but definitely go for the third'.  

Mine should be with me on Friday - I'm sure I'll be thrilled 



You have made a mistake in your article.


Its only the graphics that are faster in the Ipad3 over the Ipad2 - and only 2x faster, not 4x.


The GPU has changed from a SGX543-MP2 to an SGX543-MP4 (both clocked at 250Mhz).

The CPU is still only a dual-core (2x Cortex A9 running at 1Ghz) - same as before.


Quite right AnotherJoe, duly corrected.

Yep it seems that there will be no 4G on the iPad for just about the whole of Europe.


due to the frequencies used for 4G in the states are the same/similar to 3G in Europe.

Nads, our understanding is that all new iPads will have 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) capability built in, even though there's currently no 4G network in the UK and we won't have one until 2013.

4G LTE will give speeds of around 73Mbps when you're on the move, as opposed to the 100Mbps of the 'full fat' 4G spec. Current 3G has to offer a minimum of 0.2Mbps, though often will be much faster than that.

Andy. It has already been reported in Sweden that it is not compaible with the European 4g frequencies. The US frequencies are used by the 3G system in Europe.  Not sure how it will all work out but I would not be holding my breath.

Well all we can go on for now nads (as we haven't been able to test it) is that the Apple UK website is advertising the new iPad as 'wi-fi + 4G' with Vodafone, Orange, O2 and 3 logos alongside and saying "connects to the internet over wi-fi and 4G mobile data networks".

UPDATE: Just spotted this on The Guardian website:

"The new iPad also includes superfast LTE connectivity for mobile broadband, though the wide range of frequencies used throughout the world, and Apple's focus on the US, means that the first models will apparently not be compatible with LTE frequencies allocated for the UK."

Completely agree with last comment. Good work Andy!

What an excellent piece.  Everything I wanted to know without any filler or hype.

Thank you very much.

I guess its one of those things, if you get to use a new iPad for any length of time and go back to an iPad 2 you would feel the difference but if its the other way around you kind of wonder what the hype is about.