Last week Apple updated the standard iPad.
You know – the one with ‘big’ bezels, a Touch ID-enabled home button, and no Apple Pencil 2 support.
I think it remains the best iPad money can buy. And yes, I’m conscious that I recently described the iPad Air 4 as the best iPad I’ve owned.
But that doesn’t make it the best overall. In fact, there’s nothing within the current iPad lineup that can beat the sheer bang-for-buck delivered by the regular iPad.
Now, it comes with an A13 Bionic chip, ultra-wide angle front-facing camera, and True Tone screen. What’s more, it could be the perfect device for you.
1. You’re not interested in the fancy stuff
Face ID, smaller bezels, and 120Hz variable refresh rate screens are lovely things. But they don’t make a measurable difference to your every day life.
The bare essence of an iPad does – in whatever form it takes. Providing you can still log in securely and interact with iPadOS, the fancy stuff doesn’t matter for a huge number of people. It’s why the regular iPad (now in its ninth generation) is Apple’s most popular iPad. It’s for people who simply aren’t bothered about the features that differentiate the models above it.
I’ve got an eighth generation iPad in my studio and I use it all of the time; I don’t think twice about picking it up ahead of the iPad Air – and I love the fancy stuff!
2. It supports two awesome accessories
I know people aren’t keen on the term ‘laptop replacement’ when it comes to the iPad, but I suspect that, for most owners of the base version, that’s exactly what it is.
Add a Smart Keyboard and connect a mouse or trackpad, and you have a brilliant little traditional(ish) computer which just happens to be the best tablet on the market, too.
Then, you’ve got Apple Pencil support. And for as much as I’m not keen on the original version’s quirks, it still does the job. The fact that the regular iPad is compatible with both of these accessories means it isn’t unnecessarily or unfairly hampered in any way – that’s quite a rarity for Apple.
3. It’ll do the same stuff as an iPad Pro
The 12.9” iPad Pro starts at £999. It comes packed with a brilliant camera system, massive XDR display, and Apple’s desktop-class M1 chip.
But it runs the exact same operating system as the £319 iPad. They both do the exact same stuff. And because iPads are so far ahead of themselves and iPadOS when it comes to raw power, regular users won’t notice any difference in performance between the two devices.
I can’t think of any other computing category like this. If you spend £999 on a laptop, it is going to be noticeably quicker and more performant than a £319 laptop.
Not so with the iPad. The cheapo version has access to the same apps as its big brother, and won’t feel any different during day-to-day use.
4. The design is still lovely
It is. I really like the design of the cheapest iPad.
It’s light, thin, and still available in that lovely gold colour.
Yes, the bezels are big, but that’s actually a benefit; I’ve always felt slightly unnerved about the ever-decreasing size of the margin around the iPad’s screen. We need something to hold onto.
The regular iPad doesn’t look old-fashioned – it looks like an iPad. And that’s a very good thing indeed.
5. It costs just £319/$329
Second-hand or refurbished units to one side, this is the cheapest entry point into the iPadOS ecosystem.
The regular iPad is an absolute bargain. On the latest episode of the Eight of Sixteen podcast (which will land in subscribers’ podcast apps tomorrow), my co-host Rob revealed that he’d probably pick up one of these devices without question if he ever found himself in sudden need of an iPad.
Me too. What a device this is for the money!
If you’ve got the regular iPad, or you’re thinking about buying it, I’d love to hear from you.
What swung you in the direction of this device? Why didn’t you spend extra on the iPad Air or iPad Pro? Get involved in the comments!