Apple quietly released a new iPad and chose to confusingly name it – “iPad”. This new 9.7-inch tablet is effectively replacing the iPad Air 2 but it’s not as thin, lightweight and feature-heavy. In fact, the new iPad is as plain and boring as it gets. What’s the deal here Apple? Where is the innovation and ingenuity? To simply put it this is the ‘iPhone SE‘ of iPads meaning it looks and feels exactly like an older device but is cheap and comes with better internal specifications. The new iPad costs $329 and this is the lowest price of any large iPad ever.
Let’s get the specifications out of the way first. The new iPad uses the A9 chip with an M9 coprocessor, a 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 retina display, Touch ID, an 8-megapixel f/2.4 main camera and 1.2-megapixel f/2.2 front camera. None of these are the best of what Apple has in its arsenal of tablet components but they are still pretty good for everyday use. This tablet uses a lightning port and does not come with the smart connector found on the Pro line of iPads.
If you take a look at Apple’s more expensive iPads (iPad Pro 9.7 and iPad Pro 12.9) they feature Apple Pencil compatibility, a Smart Connector, Smart Keyboard compatibility, laminated displays and the faster A9X processor. Of all the extras found on the Pro iPads, the real benefit you are most likely to experience is from the faster processor. Multitasking on the A9X chip was great but we are not so sure how it would work out on the A9 chip. In a previous article, I commented that an iPad simply does not compare to a true productivity machine like a laptop and instead the iPad acts more like a media consumption device. Based on that opinion, the iPad Pro and 2017 iPad are basically on the same playing field, only one costs double the other.
Think about it – people use tablets to watch YouTube videos or read the news. Kids use them to play games and sometimes, they are used to type up a quick email. Anyone serious about productivity uses a laptop or desktop computer and tablets act as that lazy device you reach for when the laptop is in the other room. Standalone tablets do not need incredible processing power or expensive productivity accessories. All they need are the accessories.
The price is the main reason why I think the 2017 iPad is the best tablet Apple has ever made. It has everything that a tablet user ACTUALLY uses and comes with none of the gimmicky marketing material of the iPad Pro line. No, the 2017 iPad is not the most cutting edge device. In fact, there is really nothing new, interesting or intriguing about the device at all. It is exactly what a tablet needs to be in its most basic form and because of that, I think it will sell like hotcakes.