Apple Formally Announces iPad 9.7-Inch “Update”

The Cupertino company calls it the most affordable 9.7-inch iPad with Retina display

Apple has formally announced its new $399 / €379 iPad that essentially replaces the second-generation model with a fourth-generation configuration sporting a Retina display, a faster processor, and better cameras.

Apple’s press release headline is somewhat misleading. It states (emphasis ours), “Apple Updates Most Affordable 9.7-inch iPad with Retina display, Improved Cameras & Enhanced Performance—Now Available Starting at $399.”

The reality, however, is that Apple hasn’t really updated anything in that iPad except for its price tag. Where it was once more expensive, the iPad 4 is now being sold for the same amount that would have netted you an iPad 2 yesterday.

The wording in the announcement sheds more light on the situation. The company confirms in the first paragraph that customers are not dealing with a new version of the iPad. The tablet is the newest version equipped with a Retina display prior to the iPad Air. Again, emphasis ours.

“Apple today announced iPad with Retina display replaces iPad 2 as the most affordable 9.7-inch iPad at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model and $529 [€499] for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. The fourth generation iPad features the amazing 9.7-inch Retina display, the Apple-designed A6X chip, ultrafast Wi-Fi, a 5MP iSight camera which also captures 1080p HD video, a FaceTime HD camera, and support for LTE carriers worldwide, all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.”

The specifications are certainly impressive and the company is now really giving competitors a run for their money. Few competing tablets out there offer this value for this price tag. Where do you put that Apple customers have over a million apps at their disposal, 500,000 of which are tailored specifically for the iPad.

The tablet comes pre-installed with iOS 7, Siri, iTunes Radio and everything that Apple’s mobile OS has to offer.

“Now for $399 customers can get iPad with a stunning 9.7-inch Retina display, fast A6X chip, and 5MP iSight camera, offering a dramatic upgrade in power, performance and value compared to the iPad 2 it replaces,” said Philip Schiller, the company’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

“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 also confirms that customers have downloaded more than 65 billion apps from the App Store to date.

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