Nobody Should By The New iPad… And I Do Mean Nobody

Yesterday, Apple released its latest version of the iPad. To be specific, I mean Apple’s entry level iPad which up until yesterday was a dated product. But because it was so cheap, it didn’t matter. Well, Apple updated it, sort of. But they seriously jacked up the price. And they did some stuff to it that really makes you scratch your head.

The net result is this: Nobody should buy this iPad.

That sounds harsh. But let me explain why:

This is nothing but a repackaged fourth generation iPad Air that has been crippled by Apple: Ignoring the fact that this looks exactly like the previous generation iPad Air, if you look at the specs of the fourth generation iPad Air, and the specs of this iPad, they’re very similar. But Apple clearly went through some effort to cripple it in the following ways:

  • Unlike the fourth generation iPad Air, the new iPad has a non-laminated screen that does not support P3 wide colour gamut. Plus there’s no anti-reflective coating.
  • Unlike the fourth generation iPad Air, the new iPad only supports the first generation Apple Pencil. And to add insult to injury, it needs an adapter to pair and charge the Apple Pencil because it has USB-C rather than Lightning. Not that you can get one of those adapters, or an Apple Pencil with the adapter in the box until November.
  • The price is much higher. This new iPad jumps from $449 Canadian to $599.

If I have to make a guess about why this was done, it would go something like this.

  • Apple likely tried to recycle the fourth generation iPad Air to make their new budget iPad because that design has been paid down and it should have kept costs low. Apple has done that with products like the iPhone SE which is based on the iPhone 8 with internals from more recent iPhones for example. And it’s worked for them in the past. But whether it was due to the current economic situation, or some other factors that were beyond Apple’s control, they clearly couldn’t hit the $449 price target. So they cut a bunch of corners to keep the price down. Even if it meant that this iPad was way less appealing.
  • As for the Apple Pencil situation, my guess is that this was done to keep the education market happy as they likely have a ton of generation one Apple Pencils lying around that they won’t or can’t throw in the bin. And they would also not be happy if they were forced to use the generation two Apple Pencil. Even if making that move would have been the right decision by Apple.

Now to be fair, they did update the following in the new iPad:

  • It comes with the A14 Bionic processor, which was in the previous generation iPad Air which should provide a bit of a speed boost.
  • They upgraded the camera hardware in a serious way going to 12 MP for front and rear. Which should provide better photos for those people who insist on taking photos with their iPad.
  • It now does up to 4K video and the front camera is now in landscape orientation and it supports centre stage. So that you don’t look weird on your next Teams or Zoom meeting.
  • It finally comes with USB-C.

But the main reason why I cannot recommend this iPad is the price. At $599 It starts to encroach into the territory of the current iPad Air at $799 Canadian. And that iPad is much faster with an M1 processor and support for the second generation Apple Pencil which makes it a much better buy because you get more iPad for your money. Conversely, the previous generation iPad which costs $449 Canadian is still available. Likely because Apple knew that the price of this new iPad would be an issue. Regardless, it is still a great buy. And it’s an even better buy if you grab it from Amazon who often carries it for less than Apple does. It’s a great value and one that you should consider if you need a new iPad and don’t need the horsepower of the iPad Air. Which to be frank, most of us don’t. Either way, this new iPad is a big miss by Apple. And you shouldn’t pay for their mistake by buying it.

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