Should I buy an iPad 4 or wait for iPad 5?

Should I buy an iPad 4 or wait for iPad 5?

We help you decide whether to wait for Apple to release a new iPad or buy an iPad now

Apple's iPad 4 is set to celebrate its first birthday in November, which means it's almost time for a brand new iPad to come along. Here, we ask whether or not it's worth buying an iPad 4 or waiting for Apple to release the iPad 5 later this year.

New design

Since the iPad 2, we've not seen much in the way of a design change for Apple's tablet. However, with the iPad 5, that could all be about to change.

According to speculation, Apple is planning to redesign its iPad with the next-generation, taking cues from the design of the iPad mini.

If leaked images and anonymous sources are to be believed, the iPad 5 will be thinner and lighter than the iPad 4 with thinner side bezels too.

Therefore, if the size and weight of the iPad 4 bothers you but you still want the 9.7in display, waiting for the fifth-generation iPad is going to be your best option. Plus, if you prefer to have the most up-to-date tech, it's going to become more obvious that you're using an older model when the new one launches.

Long wait?

We're already well into August, so we don't think the iPad 5's unveiling is far off. It's been predicted that the next iPad will have a September or October launch, so even if we don't see it until October, you've only got a couple of months to wait.

Therefore, if you're not in a major rush to get your hands on an iPad, waiting for the iPad 5 to launch is not going to leave you twiddling your thumbs for too long.

What new features will the iPad 5 bring?

In addition to the external design changes, the iPad 5 will probably have some improvements under the hood too.

This could include a new, battery boosting processor, a better camera, and maybe even a new vibrate mode.

At the moment, the fourth-generation iPad is powered by an A6X processor, but Apple is rumoured to be working on an A7 processor for its iPhone 5S, which could also be used in the iPad 5.

As for the camera, the iPad 4 has a 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera and a 5 megapixel rear camera, so an improved camera could definitely be on the cards.

The price

At present, the iPad 4 will set you back between £399 (for 16GB WiFi only model) and £739 (for 128GB WiFi + Cellular model), and we think the iPad 5 will probably be priced similarly. Currently, though, Apple still sells 16GB models of its iPad 2 for £60 less than the equivalent fourth-generation iPad models.

So, we think that Apple is likely to drop the iPad 2 from its lineup when the iPad 5 is released, but that it will probably continue to sell the iPad 4 (or iPad with Retina display as it's officially known) at a cheaper price.

However, we would question whether the £60 saved makes up for the fact that the iPad 4 will be a year old and will have the older, heavier design. If you can afford that extra £60, it'll probably be worth forking out for the newer model when it is released.

If you're worried about the price tag, it might be worth considering going for an iPad mini instead. The current iPad mini starts at £269 for the WiFi only 16GB model, but one of the downsides is that it doesn't have a Retina display.

It's been suggested that Apple could release a new iPad mini with Retina display alongside the iPad 5 later this year, but there hasn't been a significant amount of evidence to support this theory. Plus, the Retina display could add to the cost of the iPad mini.

When the iPad 5 does launch, it's likely lots of iPad 4 owners will take to auction sites such as eBay to sell their old iPad and buy the new one. Therefore, if you're not worried about owning a second hand model and are more conscious of the price than the design, holding out for the iPad 5 but buying a used iPad 4 could be worth considering.

See also: Should I buy a refurbished iPad?

iOS 7

iOS will soon be getting an update, possibly as soon as next month. This means that the iPad 5 is likely to ship with iOS 7 installed, so you'll get its new user interface and features when you buy the tablet.

That said, older iPads will also be able to update to the new version, so if it's iOS 7 that will help you make your decision between buying an iPad 4 (or iPad 2, iPad mini) or waiting for the next-generation model, you may as well buy the iPad 4 now. Of course, you won't be able to use the new iOS until it is release to the public, though.

For a closer look at iOS 7 check out our preview and first impressions of the upcoming update.

If you've just taken a look at our preview and don't like what you see, that could be another deciding factor for you to consider. If you get the iPad 5 with iOS 7 installed on it, there's no easy way to go back to iOS 6. So if you really, really don't want to be using an iPad running iOS 7 then you'll want to consider buying an iPad now. If you don't update your software, though, you might not be able to download certain apps from the App Store, or get access to new features or bug fixes.

So, should I buy an iPad 4 or wait for the iPad 5?

Overall, the iPad 4 is a brilliant tablet and a popular one too. However, a new design, camera improvements, and a more powerful processor could make the iPad 5 stand head and shoulders above previous iPad models.

Therefore we think that, unless it's vital that you have an iPad before October, you should hold off and wait for the unveiling of the iPad 5. We think you'll risk feeling disappointed when you see the iPad 5 shown off later this year if you only purchased yours a mere month beforehand.

See also:

Should I buy an iPhone 5 or wait for iPhone 5S, iPhone 6?

Should I buy an iPad mini or iPad 4?

Microsoft Surface RT tablet vs Apple iPad: The verdict

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