With the recent release of a refreshed iPad Mini and the revival of the iPad Air, Apple has created quite the iPad lineup. The selection includes 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros, a 10.5-inch iPad Air, a 9.7-inch iPad and a 7.9-inch iPad Mini. So, which iPad should you choose?
Well, it generally comes down to cost, usage and preference.
If you’re looking for the latest and greatest most powerful iPad available with all the bells & whistles and cost is no object, you’re looking at the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1TB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular which will run you about $1,899 before tax. AppleCare+ coverage and any accessories (ex: Apple Pencil 2nd Generation, Smart Keyboard Folio) will be at an additional cost. However, if you’re looking for the least expensive base level option, you’re looking at the 9.7-inch iPad 32GB model with Wi-Fi only which will run you $329 plus tax. If you choose to splurge on AppleCare+ coverage, it will cost an additional $69 plus tax.
If you’re looking for a basic iPad for reading, listening to music, watching and streaming videos, using apps, playing basic games, surfing the web, general productivity and more while also balancing size, weight, performance and cost, the 9.7-inch iPad should suffice. With a starting price of $329 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi and $459 for a 32GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular, it’s not bad. There are a couple of key trade-offs. One is the chip. The 9.7-inch iPad features an A10 Fusion chip (used in the iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus) instead of an A12 or A12X Bionic chip. The other is the 1.2MP FaceTime HD front camera which is the lowest quality front camera offered across the entire current iPad lineup. Still, the 9.7-inch iPad offers a good value and is a viable option in the current iPad lineup.
7.9-inch iPad Mini
For those seeking ultra-portability while also balancing performance and cost, the 7.9-inch iPad Mini is worth consideration. Its small form factor makes it an ideal travel companion. It can fit easily in a small bag or even a wide coat pocket. With the recent refresh, it boasts an A12 Bionic chip, 8MP rear camera, 7MP FaceTime HD front camera and offers support for Apple Pencil (1st generation). The 7.9-inch iPad Mini is perfect for reading, listening to music, watching and streaming videos, using apps, playing games, surfing the web, productivity, design & creativity, taking photos & capturing videos and more. The 7.9-inch iPad Mini comes with a starting price of $399 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $529 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular.
10.5-inch iPad Air
Apple has brought the iPad Air out of “retirement” in the form of a brand new 10.5-inch model. The 10.5-inch iPad Air offers more viewable screen area than the 9.7-inch iPad while also weighing slightly less. It retains the same classic look & feel with home button as does the 9.7-inch iPad and 7.9-inch iPad Mini. The 10.5-inch iPad Air boasts an A12 Bionic chip and support for Apple Pencil (1st generation). It also features an 8MP rear camera and 7MP FaceTime HD front camera; great for capturing video, video conferencing & video calls. The 10.5-inch iPad Air is also great for reading, listening to music, watching and streaming videos, using apps, playing games, surfing the web, productivity, design & creativity, taking photos and more. The 10.5-inch iPad Air comes with a starting price of $499 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $629 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular.
11-inch & 12.9-inch iPad Pro
If you’re ready to make the leap to the top of the line in iPads, you’ll want to set your eyes on the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro is available in an 11-inch and 12.9-inch model. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros are for those who want and/or need power, performance and a premium feature set in a tablet-style form factor AND are willing to pay for it.
If you’re into high-end gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality, creative & design, audio & video production and so forth, the iPad Pro is the right choice for those power-hungry, performance-driven and memory-intensive apps. Both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros boast similar specs including a Liquid Retina Display with ProMotion technology and True Tone, Face ID (gone is the home button), the A12X Bionic chip, 12MP rear camera and 7MP TrueDepth front camera, Apple Pencil (2nd generation) support, USB-C connector and more. The 11-inch iPad Pro comes with a starting price of $799 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $949 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes with a starting price of $999 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi and $1,149 for a 64GB model with Wi-Fi + Cellular.
Keep in mind . . . the iPad Pro does not serve nor is it intended to serve as a laptop or desktop replacement. The iPad Pro and iPads in general can do a lot of great things that both laptops and desktops can do; but, there are still a lot of other things that just handle and work better on a traditional laptop or desktop.
AppleCare+ and Accessories
AppleCare+ coverage is available on all iPad models in the current lineup with pricing ranging from $69 to $129 plus tax. In addition, all iPad models include a variety of accessories available for an additional cost.
Wi-Fi Only or Wi-Fi + Cellular
Unless you use or plan on using your iPad on the road and don’t have trusted, reliable Wi-Fi access wherever you go, the Wi-Fi only model should suffice and will save you some money. However, if you think you may want or need cellular service now or in the future and are willing to pay extra for the capability (keeping in mind that you still need to pay for carrier service too), then go for the Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad models.
If you’re looking into getting, replacing or upgrading an iPad, check out Apple’s website for all the tech specs. There’s a “Compare” feature on the site where you can compare the iPad models side-by-side. I would also highly recommend that you visit a local Apple Store and get hands-on with the various iPad models to see what feels most comfortable to you. Obviously, cost and usage are key factors that will affect your decision but getting hands-on experience with the various iPads will give you an opportunity to see if the iPad model that you are considering truly is the best model for you.
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Apple Pencil (1st generation) - https://amzn.to/2U6AuNx
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