There will be no iPad Air 3 update. No – the iPad Air brand is dead. Apple has done a full 360º and gone back to its roots; the latest iPad from Apple is known simply as iPad.
Sitting between the iPad Pro and iPad Mini, the new iPad is Apple’s way of simplifying its tablet lineup – it’s also a lot cheaper than before, creating a sort of mid-range tier inside Apple’s usually very expensive iPad lineup.
Apple’s iPad lineup now looks like this: iPad Mini (no idea who’s still buying these), iPad (a 9.7in iPad Air 2 replacement that’s cheaper than ever before, and iPad Pro (the big boy, the King, the most expensive and useful).
Apple hasn’t really done anything to the new iPad, other than lower its price, to attract any real attention. The actual launch of these new products, which included a 128GB iPhone SE, was one of the dullest product launches in recent history.
Apple updated the CPU inside the new iPad; it now runs Apple’s A9 chipset (the one found inside the iPhone 6s). This should present some modest uplift to performance over the iPad Air 2, but it will be nothing to get excited about.
Everything else is exactly the same; same memory, same cameras, same radios, same specs, same hardware. It even looks the same, though, according to Engadget, corners have been cut with the display.
“After a careful look at Apple’s iPad comparison page,” said the report, “we’ve found the new iPad’s Achilles’ heel. Its screen isn’t laminated to the glass and doesn’t have the anti-reflective treatment found on the screen of every other iPad. The iPad Air 2, by comparison, had a fully-laminated screen, which removes a visible gap between the display and the glass cover. If you’ve used a device with a laminated screen (which includes most phones out there now), the notion of going backwards there isn’t promising.”
And that’s about it, really. The big take away here is the price, which at $329 for the 32GB WiFi version and $429 for the 128GB model is just about as cheap as Apple has ever priced anything in its tablet stable.
Who’s The New iPad For?
Basically anyone that wants an iPad-like tablet experience, but doesn’t want to pay the BIG BUCKS for the iPad Pro.
The new iPad is positioned as the perfect option for casual users, those that like the surf the web on the couch. This isn’t for working on or doing anything too productive; it’s about browsing and consuming, not creating – that’s where the Pro model comes in.
This is the most egalitarian product I’ve seen Apple release. The pricing is pretty spot on and it will be very popular with punters that are looking for a cheaper iPad experience in 2017.
To be honest, though, I’d still probably get the iPad Air 2 given Engadget’s findings re: the display on this new iPad. But that’s just me.