February 24, 2024
iPad Air 4
Andrew Martonik / Digital Developments

Whereas there have been rumors that Apple would reveal a brand new iPad mini through the “Scary Quick” M3 Mac occasion on October 30, that by no means got here to fruition. The truth is, now we have but to see any new iPad fashions come out this 12 months, which is relatively peculiar.

Whereas we’re having a break between iPad releases, I believe it’s time to replicate on how a lot of a large number the lineup is and the way Apple ought to rethink simplifying the portfolio. Whereas iPads are nonetheless among the many greatest tablets you should purchase, there’s additionally lots that ought to change in 2024.

The issue with iPads at present

Apple iPad Air 5 with flowers.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

In the mean time, Apple sells the next iPad fashions on its web site: the iPad mini, iPad Ninth technology, iPad Tenth technology, iPad Air, 11-inch iPad Professional, and 12.9-inch iPad Professional. That’s six whole fashions with 5 completely different sizes, 5 completely different processors used, two completely different charging ports, and help for a mishmash of equipment. And that’s simply the iPads themselves.

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Now, let’s check out the Apple Pencil lineup, which is the stylus accent that’s used for all iPad fashions. Now we have the unique first-generation Apple Pencil, second-generation Apple Pencil, and the brand new Apple Pencil USB-C. Then there are the keyboard equipment: the Magic Keyboard, Magic Keyboard Folio, or simply any outdated Bluetooth keyboard you could have already got.

For the common one that isn’t a techie, they’re in all probability going to be overwhelmed by all of the obtainable decisions for iPads and must ask somebody extra educated for a suggestion based mostly on their wants — and even probably do their very own analysis through shopping for guides.

An iPad Mini standing in tent mode.
Adam Doud / Digital Developments

One of many causes that the present iPad lineup could also be a bit complicated for some individuals is the truth that there are two commonplace iPad fashions which are being bought on the identical time: the Ninth-gen and Tenth-gen iPads. When Apple launched the Tenth-generation mannequin, it didn’t discontinue the Ninth technology. As a substitute, it saved it round because the “funds” iPad, which can be the one iPad with the House button and that also makes use of a Lightning port relatively than USB-C.

There’s additionally the issue of iPad fashions which are similar to one another, just like the iPad Air and the 11-inch iPad Professional. They’re about the identical dimension (10.9 inches versus 11 inches) and have the same construct with flat edges. The iPad Professional has an M2 chip, twin digicam system, Face ID, and a ProMotion show, whereas the iPad Air has an older M1 chip, one digicam, no ProMotion, and Contact ID within the prime button.

For most individuals, the iPad Air might be the higher choice because it’s $200 cheaper ($799 versus $599). However if you happen to’re going to get the iPad Professional, the 12.9-inch model has the higher show between the 2 sizes anyway. I like my older 11-inch iPad Professional from a number of years in the past, however even I admit that the present one is in a little bit of an odd place now.

The equipment aren’t any higher

The iPad Pro (2022) sitting in the Magic Keyboard.
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

Even when somebody determines which iPad is correct for them, there’s the complicated suitable accent lineup as nicely.

It was a bit simpler when there have been solely two Apple Pencils, however now now we have three as a result of Apple determined to randomly introduce a brand new Apple Pencil with USB-C. It’s a mash-up of the second-generation aesthetic, but it surely pairs and expenses through USB-C in the identical manner the primary technology makes use of Lightning. Nonetheless, it has fewer options than each the first- and second-generation fashions. However hey, it’s the most affordable one! That has to rely for one thing, proper?

The iPad (2022) with an Apple Pencil plugged into it using a USB-C cable and adapter.
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

On the keyboard entrance, Apple has the next: the Good Keyboard, Good Keyboard Folio, Magic Keyboard Folio, and Magic Keyboard. All of those keyboards are compatible with sure iPad fashions, with some solely engaged on older fashions, so you must just remember to get the one that’s suitable along with your present iPad.

The most cost effective choice is the Good Keyboard ,which begins at $159, but it surely’s just about only for older iPads. The Good Keyboard Folio, which is extra for current-generation gadgets, begins at $179.The Magic Keyboard Folio is $249, and the top-of-the-line Magic Keyboard is $299. These aren’t low-cost equipment and will certainly add to the whole value of whichever iPad mannequin you ultimately select.

Apple must simplify the iPad line

The back of the original iPad.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

When the iPad initially debuted in 2010, it was easy: there was simply the iPad. It remained the one iPad mannequin till Apple added the iPad mini in 2013, then the iPad Air in 2014, and at last the iPad Professional in 2016. Since then, we’ve had 4 variations of the iPad, with the sizes altering occasionally to replicate smaller bezels and no extra House buttons.

Whereas having completely different iPad fashions is good, it’s turn into convoluted and unnecessarily sophisticated, particularly when Apple retains the earlier technology mannequin alongside the brand new one (Ninth- and Tenth-gen iPad) and has a number of sizes for one mannequin.

I believe it’s time for Apple to trim the fats just a little as soon as the following iPad refresh comes round. Do we actually want two commonplace iPad fashions? Is there an actual want for an 11-inch iPad Professional when there’s the iPad Air, or vice versa? Did we actually have to have a 3rd Apple Pencil choice? No, no, and no.

Apple ought to return to the times when its lineup of gadgets adopted a easy rule: much less is extra.

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