Many people expected new iPads to drop at Apple’s Spring Event on March 25th. Surprise, Christmas came a week early. As expected, Apple dropped a new full size iPad and a the first iPad Mini in years. Also surprising is they enhance the lineup between the $329 6th generation iPad and the nearly $800 iPad Pro. Let’s take a look at what Apple brought to the table.
iPad Air 3
Returning to the lineup is the iPad Air. In its current iteration, the tablet has made itself larger and more premium taking the 10.5” form factor of the previous generation iPad Pro. So, is this an iPad Pro with a more midrange name? Not quite. As other has pointed out, it doesn’t have the premium screen, quad speaker setup, or X version of the A-series SoC. It does gain as A12 and retain the smart connector from its pro lineage however and can use existing 10.5” accessories. It also also has support for the first generation of Apple Pencil.
Along with a return of the iPad Air, there’s a return to the familiar $499 price point. While its not a bargain like the $329 model, that’s a fair price for this much iPad.
iPad Mini 5
While the return of the iPad Air was seen as unlikely, the 7.9” iPad Mini returning from the dead was unimaginable. Yet, three and a half years later, here we are. Essentially the new Mini is a scaled down version of the new iPad Air minus the Smart Connector. Because of this, it actually comes in $70 More expensive than the iPad 6. It also has Pencil support. Like the Great White, there hasn’t been a whole lot of evolution since the original retina model.
What’s Not So Good
The lack of 4k video on the three lower models of iPad baffles me. The less advanced and now discontinued iPhone SE had it. I can’t imagine the difference in sensor prices are that much to restrict what, even the lower echelons, is a premium product to 1080 video.
With the iPad Pro moving upmarket in late 2018, a door opened for the return of the iPad Air and iPad mini. To me, this actually makes a lot of sense. If it doesn’t make sense, to you, the $329 iPad still offers a lot of value at a year old