The iPad 2 bids us adieu

(Photo: Flickr / William Hook)The home screen on the iPad 2.

Apple said it's replacing the iPad 2 with the iPad 4 that features a Retina display with a 2048-by-1536 resolution. The 9.7-inch iPad 2 was first introduced in 2011 while the iPad 4 made its debut in late 2012.

The iPad 4 has got an A6X processor, a 5MP iSight camera and a FaceTime HD camera. It has support for LTE cellular networking (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile); 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support on both 2.4GHz and 5GH and Bluetooth 4.0.

The iPad 4 is available only in the 16GB configuration. With and without wireless networking, the Retina iPad comes at the same $399/$529 price as the iPad 2, and is definitely the superior machine.

The iPad 4 is a faster product for the same price, and features better support for iOS 7. A few features unavailable on the iPad 2 such as AirDrop, Siri and video sharing will work on the iPad 4.

Despite its "age," the iPad 2 was a popular product. Analysts believe it was likely bringing in  a decent profit margin at its price of $399.

Phasing out the iPad 2 also standardizes a second line of iOS devices on the Lightning connector, making the iPhone 4s the lone holdout in Apple's line-up. That gives accessory makers another reason to move away from the legacy 30-pin dock connector.

The iPad 4 is less than eighteen months from its launch. Despite its being superseded by the iPad Air last year, it's still probably a more expensive device to make than the iPad 2 was.

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