Apple Drops iPad 2, Brings Back iPad 4

Apple unceremoniously put the iPad 2 out to pasture on Tuesday when it replaced the entry level model with the fourth generation iPad. Apple had offered the iPad 2 as a lower priced option to the iPad Air at US$399, and now it's offering the previously discontinued iPad 4 at the same price point.

Apple's new entery level tablet: The fourth gen iPadApple's new entery level tablet: The fourth gen iPad

For $399, you can now get a 9.7-inch iPad with Retina Display, 16GB RAM, Apple's A6X processor, faster graphics, a 5 megapixel front-facing FaceTime HD camera, a rear-facing camera that can capture 1080p video, and a Lightning connector instead of the older 30-pin Dock Connector. The 16GB model with cellular data support costs $529.

Apple had been offering the iPad 2 as its entry level iPad for some time, and it was surprising to see it stick around with the launch of the iPad Air and Retina iPad mini. Retiring the older model in favor of the fourth generation iPad is great because it makes Apple's low end offering more competitive against Android-based tablets, and is a better overall value because it offers more horsepower than the iPad 2.

The fourth generation iPad should be available in stores today and is already showing up on Apple's retail website.