Apple is the top maker of tablets worldwide. In fact, this entire market was moribund until the iPad debuted in 2010, and since then it has grown steadily. Apple accounted for 57% of the world tablet market last quarter.
Until recently, Apple made just 9.7-inch tablets, but it recently introduced a smaller model. Many of its models depend on Wi-Fi for internet acess, while other have 4G or 3G cellular-wireless.
When people go out to get a tablet from Apple, they generally think "I want a iPad." It's a little more complicated that that, though, as there are more options than you might realize.
Apple recentlty introduced its fourth full-size tablet. This has a 9.7-inch touchscreen with a 2048-by-1536 "Retina" resolution -- which means the pixels are so small they can't be seen with the device held at a normal distance from the eye.
At its heart is a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, which is twice as fast as its imediate predecessor. Like all of Apple's tablets and smartphones, there's no removable memory card slot.
A version with 16GB of storage is $500, moving that up to 32GB adds $100, and going all the way to 64GB brings the price to $700. Adding 4G to this brings each of these up $130.
Despite the size change, this model has the same screen resolution and processor as the older iPad 2, so already-existing apps will run on it.
It comes with a 5 MP rear-facing camera, and a front one for video chatting. Apple promises its battery will be good for 10 hours of use.
As with all of Apple's tablets, there is a range of configurations, and the price depends on how much storage capacity is pre-installed. The 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions cost, $330, $430, and $530, respectivly. Adding 4G costs $130 extra.
Although the third-generation tablet from Apple has now been supplanted, refurbished units are still around. While not new, these have been thoroughly checked by Apple, and they offer very good deals for those looking for a bargain.
The main difference between the thrd- and fourth-generation models is the speed of the processor. The newer model is considerably faster. Still, it not like its predecessor offers poor performance. And it has a 9.7-inch Retina display, 5 MP camera, and much more.
A refurbished iPad 3rd-Gen with 16GB of storage is $380. The 32GB version is $470, and the 64GB one is $580.
Rating Average: 9 out of 10
#4 Apple iPad 2
Apple contunues to make the iPad 2 to give those who want a full-size iPad a less-expensive option. This device has a 9.7-inch screen, but at a lower resolution than its successors: 1027 x 768. Its processor isn't that different from the one in the iPad 3rd-Gen.
There are just two options for the iPad 3: a 16GB Wi-Fi only model is $400, while a version with the same amount of storage and 3G cellular-wireless network is $530.
Rating Average: 9 out of 10
#5 Apple iPad 1
Those looking for a tablet with good performace to surf the Web or read email might consier picking up a used first-generation iPad. Although a bit obsolete now -- Apple has stopped offering system software updates -- it still can handle basic task with aplomb.
There' no way to get one through a regular retailer, but there are countless units listed on auction sites like eBay. Just be sure to not pay too much.
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