The all-new iPad 10 was released yesterday, along with updated versions of the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. This brings the total number of iPads now available to a fairly impressive total!
There are two points of view one could take on this matter. Apple’s argument would be that the company now offers a model to suit every need, while a certain Apple co-founder might have been discovered drawing a 2×2 grid about now… Apple’s argument would be that the company now offers a model to suit every requirement.
The current lineup of iPads
What does Apple’s iPad line-up look like in light of the most recent changes? Even if it is not entirely clear which order to put them in, let’s try doing it in price order first and see what that provides us…
• iPad 9: $329 • iPad 10: $449 • iPad mini: $499 • iPad Air: $599
• The iPad Pro, 11 inches, starts at $799 • The iPad Pro, 12.9 inches, starts at $1,099
Let’s keep to the basic models for now, even if things have the potential to become considerably more complicated once we begin taking into account the various specifications.
In the past, things around here were much easier. If someone were to seek me for guidance, I would initially pose a few questions before directing their attention to one of two poles. Buy the iPad’s base model if all you need it for is basic functionality, you don’t mind using a device with a smaller screen, and you don’t have a pressing requirement for any of the Pro model’s capabilities (but with more storage). Purchase the iPad Pro 12.9-inch model if you require one or more of the Pro capabilities, if you desire a large screen, and if you have the financial means to do so.
The introduction of the iPad 10, on the other hand, makes the iPad 9 appear to be somewhat dated…
If opting for a more contemporary appearance is something that justifies the additional cost, then this would be the option that makes the most sense. A consumer who is interested in purchasing an iPad for the first time will likely not place a great deal of importance on the improved specifications and the more aesthetically pleasing screen that come with the more expensive model.
This model is also the only one available to purchase if you want the front-facing camera to be located in the correct position.
You’ll need to be sure that you want the smaller size, as it costs an additional $50 compared to the iPad 10. That is, quite literally, the only justification that can be given for the purchase of this model.
This is the point at which things start to get complicated. The majority of people who read 9to5Mac are likely already aware with the idea of spec creep. You start by considering the most fundamental version of something, and then you tell yourself that you could have features X, Y, and Z for an additional cost of $n. However, if you are willing to pay $n more, then you could go up to the next model for just $n more on top of that and… And this goes on.
If someone can persuade themselves to spend an additional $110 on the iPad 10 rather than the iPad 9, then you need to start considering whether or not an additional increase of $150 for the iPad Air could make sense. Which, to some extent, it does and also does not…
Okay, you will be receiving an M1 chip, but for the most part, this will not be significant. You will have improved compatibility with accessories, which may be important to you if you plan to purchase an Apple Pencil (2nd generation as opposed to 1st generation) or keyboard (choice of Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio). In addition to having a superior display (P3 rather than sRGB), you will also have anti-reflective coating, which is a very little improvement that can have a significant impact.
Is that really worth $150 to you? Is it worthwhile to spend almost twice as much on it as we did on the iPad 9 when we first started looking at it? Only you can decide.
iPad Pro, 11 inches in size
What do you think about upgrading from the iPad Air to the iPad Pro with 11 inches of screen real estate? This is perhaps where things start to become more evident. I’d say that you’ll know if you need the Pro features because they come under the category of “you’ll know if you need them.” M2 chip trumps M1 chip. ProMotion. Ultra Wide cameras. Thunderbolt/USB 4. ProRes support. Extra space for storing things. You probably do not require any of that if you are a typical consumer who is not very interested in watching videos.
12.9-inch Pro Display
And this is where things start to get a little messy: you might need the Pro features and want a bigger screen, or you might just want a bigger screen. Because there is no iPad model that is comparable to the iPhone 14 Plus, customers who desire only a larger screen will be need to pay for all of the additional capabilities that come with the iPad Pro in order to have it.
What action would Steve recommend?
Okay, this question is meant to be taken in jest, as it is based on all of the things that people are quite certain would never have occurred during Steve’s lifetime. However, upon the Apple co-return founder’s to the firm, he is infamous for having told them that their Mac line-up was a disaster and for having drawn a two-by-two grid consisting of consumer and professional products as well as desktop and portable ones. He stated that the company need “four terrific goods” in order to be successful.
Even if Apple is still in the process of determining exactly what the four models of its iPhone line-up should be, this is, of course, what the company does these days with its iPhone line-up.
The challenge that we have is how to reduce the present lineup of iPad devices down to just four different options. The argument that there should be “something for everyone” could be successful here, in my opinion. I can assure you that no matter which models I suggested getting rid of, there would be vehement pushback in the form of comments arguing that at least one of the models in question is flawless. Indeed, this is the case for them.
In addition, Apple no longer makes decisions these days by “flying by the seat of its pants.” Every model is offered because there is financial data that demonstrates it generates more revenue for the company than if it were eliminated and clients were forced to select between the next level up and the next level down. If the model were withdrawn, the company would lose money.
My co-worker Zac Hall came up with a tongue-in-cheek list of the reasons why each model exists, and to tell you the truth, the serious version that I would come up with wouldn’t be that different from his!
iPad 9: $329
Apple needs to offer a more affordable model in this price range. Additionally, if you are planning to purchase an iPad for your children, it is not practical to spend any more than this amount on it.
iPad 10: $449
Many individuals are willing to spend extra money to achieve a more contemporary appearance. This model will eventually become the $329-or-so variant as a result of gradual price reductions brought forth by declining production costs over time.
iPad mini: $499
The sole advantage is its compact size, but if you want a mini iPad, that’s exactly what you’re going to get. Additionally, the iPad mini has accomplished an incredible amount of success in the business sector. Electronic notepads for wait staff, electronic warehouse inventories, simple Internet access for airline ground crew and cabin crew, and just about anything else you can think of are all possible applications of this technology.
iPad Air: $599
Since these are really the only reasons why the typical iPad user would consider the Air, it would honestly make more sense for Apple to offer improved accessory compatibility and anti-reflective coating on the iPad 10, as these are the only features that differentiate the iPad 10 from the iPad Air. This would be the model that I would exclude from the selection if I had to choose just one to do so.
The 11-inch iPad Pro costs $829.
As was previously mentioned, pro customers will require one or more of the pro capabilities, and they will gladly pay for those features.
iPad Pro with a 12.9-inch display costs $1099.
Likewise with the characteristics and/or the dimensions. From a customer’s point of view, an iPad 10 Plus would be an excellent choice, but the reality is that a sufficient number of people are ready to pay a premium for the larger size, which means that Apple will keep all of that additional revenue.
Therefore, no matter how hard I try, I can only actually eliminate one model from the lineup, and even then, only if a handful of the characteristics from that model are transferred to the iPad 10.
Where do you stand? Which would you eliminate, and why would you do so? Who’s up for the challenge of filling in a 2×2 grid? Leave a comment below and let us know.
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