With the iPad 4 and iPad Mini hitting South Africa, there are now four different iPads to choose between when shopping this holiday season.
Although the iPad 4 is set to replace the iPad 3, there are bound to be a few units of the older model that still need to be sold.
Apple has indicated that the older iPad 2 would still be sticking around for a far lower price than its more fully featured siblings, though it is slightly more expensive than the iPad Mini.
For all intents and purposes the iPad Mini is an iPad 2 with a smaller screen, better cameras, and Apple’s new “Lightning” connector.
The iPad Mini Wi-Fi + Cellular models also support Long Term Evolution (LTE), which may one day work on Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C’s new LTE networks (though it is unlikely to at launch).
|Specifications||iPad 4||iPad 3||iPad Mini||iPad 2|
|Display||9.7″ Retina (2048×1536) IPS||9.7″ Retina (2048×1536) IPS||7.9-inch XGA (1024×768) IPS||9.7″ XGA (1024×768) IPS|
|Rear camera||5MP||5MP||5MP||0.7MP (960×720)|
|Front camera||1.2MP||VGA (0.3MP)||1.2MP||VGA (0.3MP)|
|Dimensions||241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm||241.2 x 185.7 x 9.4mm||200 x 134.7 x 7.2mm||241.2 x 185.7 x 8.8mm|
|Weight||652g (Wi-Fi) / 662g (Cellular)||652g (Wi-Fi) / 662g (Cellular)||308g (Wi-Fi) / 312g (Cellular)||601g (Wi-Fi) / 613g (3G)|
|Chipset||Apple A6X||Apple A5X||Apple A5||Apple A5|
|Processor||1.4GHz dual-core||1GHz dual-core*||1GHz dual-core*||1GHz dual-core*|
|Graphics||PowerVR SGX554MP4*||PowerVR SGX543MP4*||PowerVR SGX543MP2*||PowerVR SGX543MP2*|
|Battery||11,560mAh* (42.5Wh)||11,560mAh* (42.5Wh)||4,440mAh* (16.3Wh / 16.5Wh?*)||6,930mAh* (25Wh)|
|Mobile data (when supported)||42Mbps HSPA+ and LTE (700 / 850 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100)||42Mbps HSPA+ and LTE (700MHz / AWS)||42Mbps HSPA+ and LTE (700 / 850 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100)||14.4Mbps HSPA|
|SIM type||Micro SIM||Micro SIM||Nano SIM||Micro SIM|
|Specs marked with a * are from iFixit’s teardown of the devices, not official spec sheets|
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that the iPad Mini tablets with cellular data support take nano SIMs, which are even smaller than the micro SIMs Apple products used previously.
This means you’ll either have to risk trimming your existing micro SIM, or get a new SIM card from your mobile network operator.
Considering that the equivalent iPad Mini model is between R700 and R800 cheaper than the iPad 2, it is difficult to recommend the larger tablet PC. Unless you really want the larger screen and can’t afford the more expensive iPad 4, the iPad Mini is just better bang-for-buck.
If you can find an iPad 3, it may be an option to get an iPad with a larger screen that offers a significant improvement technology-wise over the iPad Mini.
However, it’s worth keeping in mind that the LTE capabilities of the iPad 3 are unlikely to ever work in South Africa due to the frequencies supported by the device.
Should cellular data connectivity not be a concern, then a Wi-Fi-only iPad 3 could be a great way to get an “iPad with Retina display” for a lower price than the slightly better specced iPad 4.
The table below summarises the prices at which the various iPad models are being offered in South Africa.
|iPad model||iPad 4||iPad 3 current||iPad Mini||iPad 2|
|16GB Wi-Fi + Cellular||R6,499||R5,899||R4,799||R5,499|
|32GB Wi-Fi + Cellular||R7,499||R6,899||R5,899||N/A|
|64GB Wi-Fi + Cellular||R8,599||R7,799||R6,999||N/A|
Another way to buy an iPad is on contract, or through your bank.
Some stores that sell iPads also offer them on MTN or Vodacom contracts, while Absa is advertising a 0% interest deal when buying an iPad on your credit card’s budget facility.
Be warned, however, that the fine print of this deal states that the interest will revert to normal on Freedom Day next year (27 April 2013).
First National Bank, Standard Bank, and Absa also all now have deals that let some of their customers buy iPads and other smart devices at lower prices.
These typically require you to enter into some kind of contract with the bank, so be sure to read the fine print carefully before selecting a deal.