Should you buy the new entry-level iPad for music making?

Welcome back: the fourth-generation iPad has returned.
Welcome back: the fourth-generation iPad has returned.

When Apple launched the iPad Air in October 2013, one slight surprise was that, rather than retaining the previous iPad with Retina Display model in the range and selling it at a lower price, it chose to make the ageing iPad 2 its entry-level tablet option.

However, the company announced yesterday that the 2012, fourth-generation Retina model is making a comeback, replacing the iPad 2 and offering not only a better display, but also the more powerful A6X chip, 1GB RAM (as opposed to 512MB), higher-resolution cameras, and a Lightning connector.

With prices starting at £329/$399 for the Wi-Fi only model, this certainly represents a better buy than the iPad 2 if you want to make music. It'll give you better performance - particularly if you're using multiple apps together via Audiobus or Inter App Audio - and should be a bit more future-proof, too.

However, there is a sticking point: the only iPad with Retina Display you can buy has 16GB of storage, which isn't an awful lot once you start installing music making apps, importing samples and recording audio. As such, if you want a sub-£400/$500 iPad, we'd recommend going for the 32GB iPad mini with Retina Display, which may have a smaller screen but also has the benefit of being powered by the latest A7 chip.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.