Unpacking the New iPads from Apple

An apple laptop on a table. Text reads, unpacking apple's new ipads

Apple announced two new iPads today. This means that there are now five different models in the lineup and although that may sound confusing, it actually makes a lot of sense when you see how they all stack up against each other. So, let’s take a look at what you get for your money and break down the differences between each one.

iPad (2018) from $329

At the bottom of the price range is the 9.7-inch iPad that was released at Apple’s Spring Education event last year. It has been around for about a year now and has quickly garnered a reputation for being great value for money. It works with the 1st generation iPad Pencil, has a solid 10 hours of battery, and comes with a speedy A10 processor. It weighs about a pound and is available to schools for just $299, although it is often found online for as little as $249.

iPad Mini (2019) from $399

The iPad Mini 4 was the odd one out in the iPad lineup, at least before today. It went years without any updates and it’s $399 price tag looked increasingly ridiculous when compared to other iPads. Today’s announcement of the 5th generation iPad Mini looks set to redress that balance. It gains support for the 1st generation Apple Pencil, and has a faster A12 processor that supports the new neural engine. The 7.9-inch display is largely unchanged, but it did gain True Tone and a wider P3 color gamut. The front camera also got an update and now takes 7-megapixel photos, compared to 1.2 megapixels on the 2018 iPad and the iPad Mini 4. The rear camera can take 1080p video, a nice boost compared to the 720p video on the 2018 iPad, and storage starts at 64Gb vs 32Gb on the 9.7-inch iPad.

A person drawing on an iPad Mini with an Apple Pencil

iPad Air (2019) from $499

The new iPad Air marks a return to the $499 price tag that used to be the hallmark of Apple’s tablets. It has a 10.5-inch screen with True Tone and has the same A12 processor that you find in the new iPad Mini. Again, it supports the 1st generation Apple Pencil but it also works with the 10.5-inch Smart Keyboard, a full-size keyboard that never needs to be paired or charged thanks to the addition of a smart connector. Despite being larger than the 9.7-inch iPad, the new iPad Air is actually thinner and lighter. Like the iPad Mini, it has a 7-megapixel front camera and supports 1080p video recording with the rear camera. To all intents and purposes, the iPad Air is basically a larger iPad Mini that supports the Smart Keyboard.

The 2019 iPad Air attached to a smart keyboard with an Apple Pencil in front of it.

iPad Pro (2018) from $799

Last year’s iPad Pros, available with 11 or 12.9-inch screens, still sit at the top of the pile. They offer the maximum amount of performance you can get in an iPad. The Liquid Retina displays are the best that have ever been put into an iPad and they support both True Tone and Pro Motion. The 2018 iPad Pros have the same design as Apple’s latest phones, eschewing the home button in favor of thinner bezels and Face ID. They have the A12X processor and are compatible with the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil and the new Smart Folio keyboard. On the back there is a 12-megapixel camera, versus the 8-megapixels on the Mini and the Air, which can record 4K video. There is also a quad-LED True Tone flash and the ability to take the same Smart HDR photos you may already enjoy on the iPhone XS and iPhone XR. The front camera has a depth sensor to support portrait photos, portrait lighting, Animoji and Memoji. The iPad Pros also have a 4-speaker array, which is two more speakers than other iPad models.

The 2019 iPad Lineup

The names might still be a little confusing, but the pricing is clear. The addition of these two new iPads means that Apple hits just about every price point you could hope for so if you are in the market for an iPad, there is likely something here for everyone. There is also a good variety of screen sizes with everything from 7.9 to 12.9-inches available. In short, the iPad range feels more complete now. It spans lots of different use cases and will meet the needs of casual users all the way up to Pros who may be considering replacing their laptop with a tablet. Are you tempted?

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