Apple's vanishing iPad

Call it the featherweight KO'ing the heavyweight. On the first day of sales, the 312-gram Mini knocked the 652-gram fourth-generation iPad into quick obscurity.

An untouched supply of the 'new iPad' (top) on Friday at a major U.S. retailer in Los Angeles.   iPad Minis (bottom) were, however, selling. I wonder: were customers even aware there was a gen 4 iPad?
An untouched supply of the 'new iPad' (top) on Friday at a major U.S. retailer in Los Angeles. iPad Minis (bottom) were, however, selling. I wonder: were customers even aware there was a gen 4 iPad? Brooke Crothers

The iPad we know and love seemed to vanish yesterday.

Call it the featherweight KO'ing the heavyweight. On the first day of sales, the 312-gram Mini knocked the 652-gram fourth-generation iPad into quick obscurity.

I knew there was a problem when I had to explain to people asking me about the iPad Mini that there was also this thing called the gen 4 (gen 3.5 may actually be more accurate) iPad.

And some stores weren't exactly aware of the new iPad either. A sales rep at a certain large U.S. retail store (which will go unnamed) in Los Angeles gushed about the iPad Mini but was stumped when I asked about the gen 4 iPad.

"You know, the one right in front of you," was (more or less) what I had to say.

Though I like the Mini, I'm partial to the fourth-generation iPad for, among other things, reasons I reported on yesterday.

It's the first iPad to get Apple's A6 chip -- in this case a turbocharged version called the A6X -- and every step the iPad takes toward laptop-class processing power has got my attention.

But I'm in the minority. The problem, of course, is that it looks the same as the gen 3 iPad, except for the Lightning connector.

There are other minor improvements too. The front-facing FaceTime camera has been upgraded to HD 720p video. The 4G/LTE iPad also works with a wider range of international carriers.

None of that appears to be enough to get people's attention, though.

And it's not going to get easier for Apple. With the Nexus 10 tablet, Microsoft Surface, and the crush of tablets and hybrids coming from the Windows 8 crowd, Apple is going to need to make a bold statement with the next 10-inch class iPad.

Until then, we have the incredible invisible iPad.

Lest we forget, the gen 4 iPad also went on sale yesterday.
Lest we forget, the gen 4 iPad also went on sale yesterday. Apple
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)
10 gloriously geeky highlights from 2014 (pictures)
2015.5 Volvo XC60: updated tech, understated design
Busted! CNET readers show us their broken devices (pictures)
Take a closer look at the BlackBerry Classic (pictures)