Apple finally canned the iPad 2 in favor of a cheaper iPad 4.
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Apple altered its lineup of products a little bit on Tuesday. It retired the 2011-era iPad 2 and replaced it with the iPad 4 as the company's entry-level, full-sized tablet. The company also made a rare price cut, dropping the cost of the iPhone 5c by about $70 in an attempt to make it more appealing.
The iPad 2, which hit store shelves three years ago, aged fairly well. It was thin and light, offered good battery life, and did nearly everything its successors did. Perhaps its weakest feature was the low-resolution screen. Even with the 1024 x 768 pixel display, however, Apple sold vast numbers of the 16-GB model. At $399, the iPad 2 represented a good value. It was popular with educational customers seeking the app access offered by iOS in an affordable package.
Last October Apple introduced the iPad Air, which replaced the iPad 4 as the company's top-of-the-line tablet. The iPad 4 went away, but Apple continued selling the iPad 2 -- still at $399. It appears as though Apple's supply of iPad 2s finally ran dry. The company has officially retired the iPad 2. In its place, it brought back the iPad 4, which is a two-generation leap over the iPad 2.
"Now for $399 customers can get iPad with a stunning 9.7-inch Retina display, fast A6X chip, and 5-MP iSight camera, offering a dramatic upgrade in power, performance, and value compared to the iPad 2 it replaces," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior VP of worldwide marketing in a statement. "The iPad line sets the gold standard in mobile computing, and all iPads have access to the largest and best ecosystem of more than 500,000 iPad optimized apps from the App Store."
Apple is selling only a 16-GB version of the iPad 4, though it is offering an LTE variant for $130 more ($529). This is an incredible value, considering all the features of the iPad 4. Apple's 16-GB, WiFi only tablet lineup now looks like this: The original iPad Mini costs $299, the iPad Mini with Retina Display costs $399, the iPad 4 with Retina Display costs $399, and the iPad Air costs $499. Doubling the storage costs an extra $100 per increment, and adding LTE costs an additional $130.
If you're questioning the shared price point between the iPad Mini with Retina Display and the iPad 4 -- both of which cost $399 -- remember that the iPad Mini has superior innards. It has an updated processor, better cameras, and many other improvements that the iPad 4 does not.
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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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