Apple has this interesting practice of using a handful of features to differentiate parts of each product line. For the Mac, it’s SSD storage and CPU. For iPhone, look at CPU, display quality, camera, and SSD storage.
What about iPad? Yep, Apple treats iPad to the same methodology, fully and wholly unchanged with the new iPad models introduced this week. Out with the old, in with the new, but not a single bargain, and a line of tablets that doesn’t even bother to follow iPhone pricing methodology.
Apple kicked to the curb the old 10.5-inch iPad with an older CPU and replaced it with a new iPad Air model starting at $499 but running this year’s A12 Bionic CPU. Not the A12X Bionic CPU in the new iPad Pro models, either.
Also back for an encore is the iPad mini. Gone is the old model, not updated in years, replaced with a new iPad mini with the aforementioned A12 Bionic CPU. Both new models arrive without Face ID and still rely on the now entry-level security in Touch ID. Neither iPad Air nor iPad mini are entry level iPads. That title remains with the $329 iPad, though it, too, keeps Pencil support.
That’s right. iPad Air and iPad mini come with faster chips, a Retina display with True Tone, and Apple Pencil support. Otherwise, same old same old, but new.
Only Apple can pull that off, folks.
Apple claims iPad mini is three times faster than the previous iPad mini, thanks to the faster CPU– the same one found in the new iPhone models. iPad mini comes in the standard models; three different colors, and price is differentiated by Wi-Fi and Cellular, and SSD storage capactiy, 64GB vs. 256GB.
iPad Air is priced at the same as the original iPad, circa 2010. $499. The display is larger at 10.5-inches and comes with True Tone and P3 Wide Color Gamut, Pencil support is included with Touch ID, but the backside camera is 8MP and the selfie camera is 7MP, though both take 1080P HD videos. Oh, there’s also Pencil support and an option to use Apple’s old Smart Keyboard (not the Smart Keyboard Folio available for iPad Pro).
While it’s a good thing to see Apple update older products, the differences remain confusing to most customers with price being the lead differentiator. Both iPad Pro models come with more of everything and even the least expensive is twice the price of the entry-level iPad model.
After that, SSD storage is a key component to price differentiation at most customers will have little understanding of CPU differences, and since evert iPad now works with one of two Pencils; one for less expensive iPad models, and one for iPad Pro models– both named Pencil– the only other differences are in the display and most of us would be hard pressed to tell the difference between each.
All the iPad models in the line today look and work much like iPads from yesterday, other than Pencil support for iPad mini and faster processors.
To keep the purchasing process simple, buy what you can most afford, and that includes the most storage. iPads are built like tablet tanks and last for years, so the newer, faster, CPUs are welcome even if the price is anything but aggressive.