Being an iPad fan that likes to get the best value for money, I think that it’s very important to take a good look at Apple’s newest iPads before buying one as it’s pretty easy to be misled into thinking you’re buying something more powerful. For this reason, this article will take a look at Apple’s latest offerings and what you should be wary of!
What are Apple’s new iPad offerings?
Earlier today, Apple released two new iPads via press release that partially took the Apple community by surprise.
Apparently, Apple is not done with $499 iPads… maybe because their iPad Pro line-up is too expensive
This is because it was expected that Apple was going to release a new entry-level iPad @ $329 (potentially with a 10.2″ screen) and a cheaper iPad Mini. However, the rumours were wrong and instead of getting two entry-level offerings, we got two mid-range offerings which may not be as fascinating as they might seem at first glance, especially in regards to the larger model.
In a nutshell, the newly released iPads are:
The new iPad Air which is just called “iPad Air” since calling it “iPad Air 3” is probably not cool enough for Apple. Spec-wise, we’re looking at:
Apple A12 chip with 3GB RAM (one of the less evident compromises)
The A12 chip is the SoC found in the iPhone XS/XR; the 2018 iPads that bend have a much more powerful A12X chip
A base storage tier of 64GB like all currently sold Apple products with the exception of the iPad 2018 and iPod Touch 6th generation
A 10.5″ screen, 0.8″ larger than previous iPad Air models
Once upon a time, 7 and 8-inch tablets were all the rage. Now, they aren’t and I certainly doubt that the new iPad Mini will popularise them again
An 8MP rear camera and a 7MP front camera
Support for the 1st generation pencil and 10.5-inch Smart Keyboard
A headphone jack surprisingly
Lightning connector (no USB-C for these)
A base asking price of $499 (€550-570 for those of us in Europe) for the 64GB/WiFi-only model
The new iPad Mini because apparently, numbers are out of fashion. Spec-wise, it’s pretty similar to the new iPad Air with:
Exactly the same CPU, storage tiers and cameras
Support for the 1st generation Apple Pencil although there’s no Smart Keyboard connector/support
A 7.9″ screen
A headphone jack
A base asking price of $399 for the 64GB/WiFi-only model
All in all, it could be said that they’re semi-significant updates to existing product line-ups and it seems that Apple is back to mid-range iPad pricing.
The compromises that make the new iPad Air not quite the iPad Pro 10.5 successor that some are claiming it is
The spec-list above, some websites and promotional material from Apple (“Power isn’t just for pros” slogan for example) have made many people think that the new iPad Air is a direct successor to the 2017 10.5″ iPad Pro.
If you want a high-end iPad without shelling the money for an iPad Pro, a refurb/used iPad Pro 10.5″ might be the way to go!
However, that’s not quite true as it’s missing out on a couple of key features compared to the 10.5″ iPad Pro that might not be so obvious at first glance:
The new iPad Air’s screen refreshes at 60Hz rather than 120Hz (ProMotion technology in Apple terms) like the 2 year-old iPad Pro 10.5″.
This means that screen movement isn’t as fluid and that may not give users of the iPad Air 2 or iPad 2017/2018 an instant sense of improvement
Unlike all iPad Pro devices, the new iPad Air doesn’t have quad speakers (two speakers at the bottom and two speakers at the top) but only has stereo speakers like other recent iPads.
The new iPad Air most probably has 3GB RAM rather than 4GB found in the 2 year old iPad Pro 10.5″
This may cause some features in iOS 13+ not to support this device and going forward 3-4 years, some more-demanding games may require 4GB rather than 3GB of RAM.
CPU-wise, the new iPad Air (Apple A12) boasts better single/multi-core performance than the 10.5″ iPad Pro 2017 (Apple A10X). However, the A12’s GPU scores significantly less in Geekbench’s GPU test (21.8k vs 29.5k)
Camera-wise, the Pro has a 12MP camera with an LED flash (quite useful as a flashlight) but the Air only has an 8MP camera without flash and optical image stabilisation.
All of the above also applies to the new iPad Mini
Taking into consideration all the small but meaningful compromises that this new iPad Air has, it might be a better idea to opt for a refurbished/used iPad Pro 10.5″ if you can find one at a good price if you want a higher-end iPad.
On the other hand, you should probably look into getting an iPad 2017/8 if you don’t want to spend much as they’re quite a bit cheaper and offer pretty decent performance for the price. Finally, if you want a smaller iPad, you should take a look at Apple’s new one because the Mini 4’s aging A8 CPU will probably not be enough for many years!
N.B: No, Wololo isn’t transforming into an Apple-centric website. I wrote this article in order to clear up misconceptions that might be rising about Apple’s new iPads so that you can make the best purchase decision! After all, most people interested in hacking their devices also opt to choose wisely when buying new hardware.
I'm a girl that's liked technology from day 1. Mostly interested in the PSVita/PSP scene but I've always modded my stuff when it's possible, that is :)Contact me via DM at @KawaiiAuroraA on Twitter if you have any questions/concerns about my articles or if you have any article requests.