Apple has just announced a revised version of its 9.7-inch iPad tablet. The 4th-generation iPad retains the high-resolution Retina Display and 5-megapixel iSight camera that debuted back in March, but it has swapped out the 30-pin dock connector for Apple's new Lightning port that appeared on the iPhone 5 last month. It also features a new A6X processor with twice the graphics performance of the outgoing A5X. Despite the upgraded performance, the 4th-generation iPad is still rated for up to 10 hours of battery life.

The Lightning port features a much smaller connector that can be used in any orientation. Of course, this also means that new iPad owners will have to replace all of their current accessories if they are upgrading from an older model. These changes are not a huge surprise — it was rumored last week that Apple would be doing just so.

Apple is also expanding the iPad's LTE support, with new compatibility with Sprint's LTE network in the US and EE's network in the UK. The iPad's FaceTime camera has also been updated to an HD unit for improved video conferencing.

If you'll recall, Apple similarly refreshed the iPad 2 part-way through its life cycle with a more efficient processor that extended its battery life over the initial version. The 4th-generation iPad will cost the same as the previous generation, with the Wi-Fi model starting at $499 for a 16GB version and the LTE model costing $629 for a 16GB version. You can pre-order the updated iPad this Friday, with Wi-Fi versions shipping on November 2nd. Apple says that the cellular version will be shipping a few weeks later.


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