The main change for the new iPad with Retina display (4th generation) is a shift from the previous Apple dock connector to the new reversible and easy-to-use Lightning connector. Lightning is also used on the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. Additionally, the newest iPad has the improved A6X processor, and more GPU power than the previous iPad with Retina Display.
We conducted several side-by-side real-world performance tests: launching apps, playing games, accessing settings, viewing photos, zooming and turning pages. In no case could we discern any difference in speed between the two versions of iPad with Retina Display. If anything, the screen display on the 4th generation iPad Retina seemed a little dimmer and less vibrant than that of the 3rd generation iPad, even on full brightness. It even seemed dimmer than the iPad 2.
In the time between testing the iPad with Retina Display last year and testing its new Lightning-enabled replacement, I’d hoped that more apps would take advantage of the Retina Display. Sadly, I was disappointed. If there are Retina-enhanced apps out there, either none of my hundred apps is included among their number, or I can’t really tell the difference.
Reading text on a Retina display is sharper, and similarly photographs show more detail, but in all, I’d say that unless you’ll primarily use an iPad for photography and eBook reading, it’s probably not worth the Retina version. The new iPad with Retina Display is only for those who don’t already have an iPad, and have an absolute need for the high resolution screen – photographers, salespeople and the like. It’s not worth an upgrade just for Lightning, and most people will find the iPad 2 fulfils their needs.