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What will the future be for iPad?

With so many to choose from, it’s hard to know what iPad to pick

iPad

Amid all the furore of last week’s Peek Performance event, one of the bit-part players is feeling almost unloved. Given a new lease of life, with some new features and colours, this iPad deserves its moment in the sun. But I have been wondering, is iPad now confused? There are now four model ranges from which to make your choice, and they do tend to overlap a fair bit.

What’s new then?

Firstly, the Air has had a course of steroids and been supercharged. The boffins have given it the M1 chip. In case you were wondering, yes, that is the same chip that is in the MacBook Air, iMac and of course, the iPad Pro. It also has a 12MP ultra-wide, front facing camera with Centre Stage. It has 5G too – if that is your bag! Furthermore, it has a 10.9 inch liquid retina display with True Tone and P3 wide colour. It is available in five colours, one more, a purple, being added last week. And all this is yours for £599.

If there is a continuing complaint with Apple, that lives until now, it is how miserly they are with storage. The £599 model comes with a mere 64 GB onboard, and honestly, in 2022, that just is not good enough. I want to start a petition here and now that ALL manufacturers should start at a base of 128 GB. Yes, I know there are plenty of cloud storage solutions, but we should not have to be looking over our shoulders, day one of purchase, hoping we don’t fill our devices up. Not only would 128 GB give you plenty of space for most of your files, but of just as much importance, it will give headroom for the operating systems which are becoming ever larger.

That camera I mentioned earlier should not be lightly dismissed. Not only is it now the 12MP ultra-wide camera, but the way it deals with all lighting conditions is stunning. It will deal not only with bright outdoor conditions, but also, well lit indoor environments as well. For a camera with such a small sensor, it really is remarkable. If online conference calls are a part of your workflow, this iPad will be a dream come true for you. A great camera and decent microphones make this tablet a champion for online chat.

With all that said, though, for performance and price, the iPad Air is hard to argue against. But, you still have to make the decision as to where to spend your money. For £749 you could get an iPad Pro, which runs the same M1 chip, or £479 will buy you an iPad Mini. The way it sits so close to iPad Pro is odd. For just one-third more, you can get your hands on the base model Pro. But, does it gain you much? The Air is giving you the same display as the 11-inch Pro, same USB-C connector and offers you the same 8 – core CPU and 8 – core graphics. The more I look at it, the more value this tablet seems to represent. Most owners hold on to their tablets for some time, generally over five years. So, to avoid buyer’s remorse, it is important to take on board all of these factors.

To confuse matters still more, let’s not forget that there is also the iPad third generation too. OK, so you don’t get the M1 chip and the camera is not as good, but at a staring price of £329, you have to admit, that is a pretty attractive choice too.

The Air is not perfect. I have mentioned the 64 GB of storage. Also lacking is the option for expandable storage as well. Why, oh why, can’t Apple give us an SD card slot on any iPad? Hell, I’ll buy the storage Apple, to go along with the iPad I have just bought, but just give me the slot – please!

More than we need?

With the M1 chip, we now have more power in this small, hand-held tablet than many productivity Windows machines. Much like the M1 Ultra, announced last week, we’ve more power than, quite possibly, we will ever need. iPadOS needs to catch up and then Apple need to give us apps to equal the power now on hand. How long until Apple’s native production apps such as Logic & Final Cut come to iPad? If a MacBook Air can handle them, it means these M1 iPads could too.

Apple, have been intelligent in the development of Apple Silicon. They start off engineering them for the laptops, then almost back-engineer the chips in to tablets and phones. All the development costs will have been reclaimed at this point, so it is profit all the way. Clever, very clever. As if to prove my point, just look at iPhone SE at last week’s event. The budget iPhone now runs the same A15 chip found in the current, flagship range of iPhone 13’s. Ingenious.

Support

As mentioned, many tablet buyers will keep a hold of their tablets for years to come. This may be an important decision in your choice of tablet. Apple, historically, support their hardware for a much longer time than their android counterparts. All part of the beauty of making both the chip and the tablet. With Apple, you can expect support for probably six or seven years in terms of OS upgrades, etc.

Not only will you get years of support from Apple, but also you will have the most immense array of accessories from which to choose also. With the smart connector on the Air, just like the Pro, you will, for starters, have access to perhaps the best accessory – The Magic Keyboard. With that attached, you have portable, powerful computing sitting comfortably on your lap.

Spoilt for choice

So, as you can see, Apple give you a big bang for your buck with iPad these days. The trouble is, there is so much choice, and for much of that choice, it is tough to make a clear decision as to which of them is right for you. Is this what we now call 21st Century problems?

Where is your heart and credit card taking you? Did the release of last week’s Air tempt you, or are you a Pro user? The mini is sitting just to one side of me as I write this blog – just goes to show, we truly are spoilt for choice.

Good luck!

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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on March 15, 2022.

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