Let’s try to make sense of Apple’s muddled tablet lineup.
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Apple’s iPad series has become both more interesting and more complex than in recent years. After launching the 10th generation iPad and the M2-powered iPad Pro in October, Apple now sells three of his tablets in the 11-inch lineup. These tablets share almost the same design, but there are important differences regarding internal components and accessory support. His 10.2-inch iPad from last year is still on sale, but appears to be targeting a different market than its eponymous “next-gen” successor. The iPad mini still does its job.
You’re not alone in deciding what to buy. The choice isn’t as clear cut as it used to be, so here’s an analysis of the pros and cons, detailing how they compare to help make your decision a little easier.
Tips from Engadget
Suitable for most people:
iPad (9th generation)
Perfect for one-handed operation:
Great for power users:
iPad Pro 12.9 inch
Suitable for most people : iPad Air
Of the six iPad models currently on sale, the iPad Air is the most universally appealing. I gave it a 90 rating earlier this year.
It shares the same sleek, comfortable design language as the iPad Pro, but is less expensive and features a bright, sharp, and precise 10.9-inch display framed by thin bezels and flat edges. It has a USB-C connector similar to those found on MacBooks and many other non-iPhone devices, and although it doesn’t have a Thunderbolt connection like the iPad Pro, the Air can be easily charged using the same cable. Using it with other gadgets is a plus.
Apple revamped the Air earlier this year with the M1 system-on-chip, the same silicon found in his entry-level MacBook Air. This isn’t Apple’s latest SoC, but it’s still powerful enough for just about any task it can do, and it’s a growing number of his iPadOS features dedicated to M-series chips. Like the 11-inch iPad Pro, the iPad Air is also compatible with Apple’s best accessories, including the 2nd generation Pencil and the (great) Magic Keyboard. These add significant costs to your bottom line, but for digital artists and prolific writers, they’re there.
The middle of Apple’s iPad lineup is somewhat crowded. If you need more than the Air’s standard 64GB of storage, you can also upgrade to the 11-inch iPad Pro, which starts at 128GB and features a better 120Hz display and M2 chip. (The 2021 iPad Pro’s display is also excellent.) The new 10.9-inch iPad isn’t bad either, but its non-laminated display and lack of accessory support make it hard to sell unless you see a big discount. . While not cheap, the iPad Air offers Apple’s best price/performance ratio.
Best budget: iPad (9th generation)
If you can’t afford an Air, or don’t use your tablet much, it’s perfectly fine to buy a 9th generation iPad instead. Starting at $329 for the 64GB model – typically available for less than $300 – it’s the most budget-friendly way to iPadOS. Its hardware is clearly downgraded from the model above, but it still has all the features you need.
Last year he gave the 9th generation iPad a score of 86. This is the only “current” iPad that follows Apple’s old design language.
It’s only slightly thicker and heavier than the 10th-generation iPad and iPad Air, but with wider bezels, there’s only enough room for a 10.2-inch display. Like the 10th generation iPad, this screen isn’t laminated and tends to be dazzling, but it’s just as sharp. The bottom bezel houses the home button, which also houses the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, and the device charges via the Lightning connector instead of USB-C. The speakers don’t sound great either, but it’s the only iPad that still has a headphone jack, and the 12-megapixel front-facing camera is decent (although it’s not sideways like the 10th generation iPad).
The 9th generation iPad runs on Apple’s A13 Bionic, his same SoC used in the 2019 iPhone 11 series. It’s not as smooth or future-proof as the M1, but it’s fast enough for the occasional task. As for first-party accessories, the tablet supports Apple’s first-generation Smart Keyboard and Pencil stylus. They’re not as convenient as the company’s newer options, but at least they’re there.
Ultimately it comes down to price. The 9th generation iPad is the most affordable model in Apple’s lineup, and these savings go a long way toward covering that problem.
Best for one-handed use: iPad mini
That’s exactly what the iPad mini sounds like:
A small iPad. At 7.69 x 5.3 x 0.25 inches, it’s the shortest (7.69 x 5.3 x 0.25 inches) and lightest (0.65 pounds on the WiFi model) of all current iPads, with an 8.3-inch display that’s more comfortable to use and can be operated with one hand.
Last year, we gave the iPad mini an 89 rating. Its design is closely based on that of the iPad Air.
Square edges, thin bezels, no home button, Touch ID sensor on the power button, stereo speakers, a rugged camera, and a USB-C port. The display is technically sharper, but otherwise offers the same maximum brightness, lamination, anti-reflective coating and wide color gamut. It does not have a “Smart Connector” that connects an Apple keyboard, but it supports the second generation Apple Pencil.
The Mini runs on Apple’s A15 Bionic SoC, which is the same one we’ll see in the iPhone 13 phone in 2021. It’s technically faster than the chip in the 10th generation iPad and a step behind the M1. but powerful enough for most tasks…or a laptop-quality M2.
The Mini has a suggested retail price of $499 for the 64GB model and $649 for the 256GB model. That’s a lot, but over the past few months we’ve seen both his SKUs available online for up to $100 less. If you want a particularly small tablet that you can put in your pocket, use in one hand, or treat like a high-end e-reader, this is the only option Apple sells and the best in its size range. It’s a tablet.
Best for power users: iPad Pro 12.9-inch
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is in unique territory within Apple’s tablet lineup. Prices start at $1,099 for 128GB of storage, $100 more than the M1 MacBook Air. Change. Style Productivity. But the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best tablet-only hardware Apple makes.
We gave the latest iPad Pro an 87 rating in November. The display here is brighter than the Air, with a refresh rate of 120Hz (the Air caps at 60Hz). However, the 12.9-inch Pro’s display is an upgrade over the 11-inch model. It’s the only iPad to use a mini-LED backlight, resulting in higher peak brightness, better contrast, and an overall more realistic image. Photo. Plus, the Pro runs on Apple’s new M2 SoC. This isn’t a huge upgrade over the M1 in real-world use, but it does offer more performance in the future.The iPad Pro has the same 12MP rear camera as the Air, but with a 10MP ultra-wide-angle lens. and an LED flash (and a LIDAR scanner for AR apps). Meanwhile, the 12-megapixel front-facing camera can shoot in portrait mode. Plus, the Pro features a faster Thunderbolt USB-C port, more robust speakers and Face ID support. The latest update now detects when the Apple Pencil is placed over the display and previews possible inputs. The 1TB and 2TB models double the RAM from 8GB to 16GB (at a very high cost). It also works with Apple’s best accessories.
If you plan to use your iPad more intensively for work, the 12.9-inch Pro’s wider display should make it the most comfortable option for all-day laptop-style use. You’ll need to add a keyboard to get the most out of it, but if you’ve spent that much money on your iPad to begin with, it might not be a big deal.
Like the iPad mini, this is a niche device. It is very expensive and its large size makes it less portable than other iPads. Some creators have made it work as a laptop replacement, but for the most part, iPadOS makes multitasking and other computing tasks more complicated than his similarly priced MacBook, and last year’s model. It’s also a minor upgrade from his. As a tablet, the 12.9-inch Pro is still very powerful.