The iPad 3 vs. The iPad 4: Why You Should Upgrade Now

Yesterday I wrote an article detailing the reasons why it’s a bad idea to upgrade to Apple’s fourth generation iPad if you already own a third generation iPad, but there are some reasons that might make the upgrade worthwhile, so I wanted to revisit the issue today.

First of all, if you currently own an original iPad or an iPad 2, this is the time to upgrade. The fourth generation iPad is the iPad that Apple wanted to release last March, but the company didn’t have the supplies ready and was unwilling to delay the new tablet for several months.

While the third generation iPad was a stopgap, much like the iPhone 4S, the fourth generation iPad is an important update. This version of the iPad is a significant upgrade from all of Apple’s previous tablets, and with the ultra fast A6X chip, it will be a viable device for years to come.

If you currently own the third generation iPad, the decision on whether or not to upgrade now is a lot more complicated. As I mentioned in my previous article, the A6X processor in the fourth generation iPad will not result in a significant performance boost when it comes to games and apps, because developers still need to calibrate their apps to be playable on all current Apple devices.

What the A6X processor will get you, however, is longevity. When the fifth and sixth generation iPads are released, this fourth generation iPad will still be able to play the latest games without a problem. If you were wondering, the jump from A5X in the third generation iPad to A6X in the fourth generation iPad is ultimately a big improvement, and if you want an iPad that’s going to last, an upgrade might be worth it.

Additionally, if you are the kind of person that likes to have the latest and greatest Apple device, then this fourth generation tablet is that must have product. It’s twice as fast (in regards to both CPU and graphical capabilities), has a better FaceTime camera, faster Wi-Fi, and improved LTE.

You don’t need to upgrade at this point, but if you have the money, the fourth generation iPad is unquestionably better than the now discontinued third generation iPad. The third generation iPad will still do everything that you need, but the fourth generation? It will do it better.

There is one situation where the upgrade is worthwhile, if not necessary. If you live in a country with LTE that was unusable on the third generation iPad, upgrading to the fourth generation iPad will finally give you access to faster speeds.

If the iPad is your only computer, it may also be worth it to upgrade for the improved Wi-Fi, and if you use your iPad regularly for FaceTiming with family, you’ll see better results with the newest generation. The HD front facing camera is a big improvement.

The decision of upgrading from the third generation to the fourth generation iPad isn’t clear cut, and will come down to your personal preferences and what you need from a tablet. In most cases, it’s probably not necessary to upgrade, but for the few of you who do want to upgrade, the fourth generation iPad is a great device.

On the plus side, if you do want to snag Apple’s newest iPad this Friday when preorders go on sale, there are a lot of options for selling your older iPad. I checked Craigslist in my area, and the 32GB Wi-Fi tablet is selling for about $400. That means it would only cost about $200 to pick up a new one.

You can also use a buyback site like Gazelle, which is currently offering $300 for the 32GB third generation iPad in good condition. That cuts the cost of a new tablet down to $300, which is a lot easier to swallow than $599.

As for me, I’m still undecided. I have a third generation iPad, but I like to have the shiniest toys on the playground. At the same time, I’m miffed at Apple for doubling the processing speed seven months in, so I’m not sure if I want to throw my money at the company or not. Luckily, there are a few more days to think it through.

If you have a third generation iPad, do you plan on upgrading to Apple’s fourth generation tablet? Why or why not?

About Juli: Contact me via Twitter: @julipuli

  • araczynski

    work bought my ipad3 about 3 months ago, so no, not going to happen :) i’ve never had to buy an ipad myself, but when they finally get around to including a 128gb version, i just might (ipad5?6?)

  • Captain ZADL

    I’m on the every other year cycle of replacement. This release is cool, but by the time my iPad 3 feels really old and busted, this one will be also tarnished with age.

  • Eng. Jorge Santana

    I sold my ipad 3 64 lte on ebay for 680$ and will upgrade. This ipad 3 will plummet in price. with tax i payed almost 900$ and could not sit still and let the thing be worth less than a ipad mini in a few more months. Also the speed of the ipad 3 because of the taxing retina display was like an ipad 2 and this new ipad 4 actually has the muscle to move the amount of pixels retina display requires at blazing speeds. IMHO the ipad 3 wont be able to play the ipad 4 specific coming games with retina resolution textures instead will run the games with ipad 2 resolution textures meaning it wont look as good as ipad 4…

  • nadking

    I just picked up an ipad 3 thinking it was the 4, dumb mistake but for me it is an easy return and will only cost me $50 more. I don’t care about the faster processor but do care about the connector. It is certain that AAPL will roll out a number of new products in the future with the new connector and I don’t want to have to fiddle around with adaptors.

  • Yana

    I don’t know about apple care but best buy replaced my broken ipad 3 for a ipad 4 :)