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iPad vs. Apple Vision the fight is on!

This year I was going to buy an iPad Pro – but now I’m not so certain…

OLEd iPads coming this year

If you’ve read me for any length of time then you’ll know I have never owned an iPad. Well, that’s not strictly true – I did buy one of the very early ones in 2011 and I do have a couple of old iPad minis – but none of those was used regularly or for any kind of serious work.

I have never been able to properly understand the iPad or more importantly how it would fit into my daily workflow – but there again I have never owned an iPad that would let me work productively on it.

Maybe I’ve just not given it a fair crack?

Rumours are that the iPad will get a fairly big makeover this spring with larger OLED panels which got me thinking that it might be quite interesting for me to finally dip my toes in the iPad pond to see what I make of them.

Would the touchscreen, pencil and portability win me over? Would I find I could be even more productive with the flexibility that working on an iPad would offer?

Would iPadOS prove to be a professional solution or would I miss the desktop environment that I’ve always yearned for, defended and loved? There’s only one way to find out right…

My mind was pretty much made up that if the updates did come along then I’d buy one – but then the Apple Vision happened – which has made me question everything.

In the U.K. we are still patiently waiting for the headset to land on our shores, but if everything I’ve heard and watched is true this first iteration of the Vision Pro is an iPad on your face – it runs iPad apps and seems to lean very heavily into the whole iPad experience.

Thus my confusion…

Which way to jump?

We know that the Vision Pro is an expensive device. I assume that when it does go on sale here it will be about the same price in pounds as it is in dollars.

£3500 is a huge chunk of change – but the new OLED iPads are expected to be pricier as well.

Screen analyst Ross Young seems to think that we’ll be getting 11.1-inch and 13-inch iPad Pros with OLED panels – but this will come at a cost. The base model 13-inch iPad could start at £160 more. than the current offering.

If that’s the case then a 128 GB base model iPad Pro with 2nd Gen Apple Pencil and a Smart Folio keyboard could cost around £1800. Spec it up with some more meaningful storage – say 512 GB (who’d buy an iPad Pro with only 128 GB of storage after all) and then you are over £2000.

The keyboard is expected to get an upgrade this year which means that could be even more expensive. All in a reasonably spec’d OLED 13-inch iPad Pro could cost around £2200 – which is starting to put it within range of the Vision Pro.

Yes, I can do the maths – I know it’s still over £1000 cheaper- but would I regret buying the older tech iPad or would it be more sense, if I am already spending stupid amounts of cash to go all in and get the headset?

The iPad lineup has been confused for years – currently, there is the mini, the iPad, iPad Air and two versions of the iPad Pro on sale – but now things just got worse as its most fierce competition may oddly come from the enemy within…the Vision Pro.

The future for iPad?

If you are looking at one of the lower priced and spec’d models of iPad then the headset offers no proper threat, but those two Pro models now have reason to start looking over their shoulders.

These iPad Pros will be the first to use OLED which is bound to add to the iPad experience. Apple’s very specific requirements for the panels such as a very thin design which uses a tandem-stack design all add to cost which is the main reason we are expecting a price hike on the 2024 Pro model lineup.

The panels which will sourced from Samsung and LG will be much brighter than anything we’ve ever seen before on an iPad, be more energy-efficient and offer improved display longevity as well – which if you’re spending £2000+ is good news.

More goodies are coming to the iPad Pro than just the display improvements.

Wireless MagSafe charging finally makes its way to the two higher-end models and possibly even a glass back – similar to your iPhone. We’d also expect Apple to use the latest M3 Apple silicon in them as well, meaning these devices are going to be seriously quick and powerful beyond belief.

As mentioned the iPad Pro may also be offered with a newly re-designed or refreshed version of the Magic Keyboard as well which will be defined by a larger trackpad and refined mechanism.

Lastly, the camera is finally expected to be moved to the correct landscape aspect this year – making the iPad more user-friendly for FaceTime calls.

Taking lessons

Apple has raised the bar with the Vision Pro in terms of hand gestures. It’s obviously taken years to develop and must have cost a fortune too – which leads me to wonder if Apple could bring hand gestures in other devices – say the iPad – and possibly even Apple TV as well.

If the reports are true that the Vision Pro and iPads offer similar solutions then is it a stretch too far to think that iPadOS might take some of the best bits of visionOS? I only thought of this this morning. I know you could argue there is no way that Apple would want to devalue the Vision Pro and keep the hand gestures exclusive to that device – but equally, if the tech already exists it would help to get it into as many hands as possible to help develop it quicker for the exclusive Vision Pro users…enter the iPad!

The iPad Pros have long been searching for a USP – one big thing that could separate them from the rest of the iPad lineup and this could be it. You have to admit, it’s not as daft as it first sounded is it?

Still confused

So there was me convinced just a few weeks back that I’d finally get myself an iPad but now I’m confused all over again.

I think on balance if I buy either of the devices I will still plump for the iPad. It’s not purely the cost – both are stupidly expensive and it’s not as if I need either but I think as it stands the iPad would offer me more value.

The Vision Pro is tempting if only because of the extended Mac Display that it offers – which is without doubt one of the coolest features but I’m not sure how often I use it and there are more apps on the iPad – Spotify and YouTube for starters making it more complete.

One other factor that would sway my purchase is that I think I’d feel too self-conscious to wear the Vision Pro anywhere but at home or in the studio. I know it’s a great device to watch movies on – but I’d have to watch them alone which is the downer to that idea.

The Vision Pro has impressed me more than I thought and it has got me thinking…and made me realise just how similar the headset is to the iPad in what offers right now.

I love the idea of the latest and newest tech and I know it would blow me away…but if I’m looking to get any return on my money I think I should be sensible and go with the iPad – is that the right move do you think?

I mean I’m still not certain how much I’d end up using the iPad but I have a sneaky suspicion that I’d use it more than the Vision Pro – certainly in its first iteration.

I think the best way forward would be to order the iPad and book a demo of the Vision Pro when it arrives in the U.K. That way at least I will have experienced what it is like in Apple’s Spatial Computing world…and with the £1000 saved, I could almost afford another Studio Display to save me moving mine around so much.

One way or another I can see Apple still getting their hands on more of my money this year just like they always seem to…and that’s before iPhone 16 is even in sight!

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