Apple dropped a bit of a surprise by updating its full-sized iPad to the 4th generation. The company didn't just add a Lightning connector and keep everything else the same, as many had suspected. Apple is branding this as a full update to the iPad line, but it's more akin to the jump from the iPhone 4 to 4S than a more significant upgrade.

A minor – but noteworthy – update

The new iPad sports the Lightning connector port

Apple updated the 4th generation iPad's chip to a new A6X chip, a variation of the iPhone 5's A6, only with quad core graphics. Apple claims that the A6X is twice as fast – with graphics also twice as fast – as the A5X in the 3rd gen. iPad. Apple boasts that the new iPad retains the same long battery life as its predecessor.

The new iPad also sports an updated 720p front-facing (FaceTime) camera, the same image processor from the iPhone 5, and dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi. It also makes the switch from the standard 30-pin connector to the new Lightning connector.

The 4th generation iPad (now branded on Apple's website as "iPad with Retina Display") retains the same external design from the 3rd gen iPad, and is available in the same pricing and storage configurations. Though Apple will keep it under wraps, it's likely that we'll still see a more significant (5th generation) update to the iPad next spring.

Source: Apple