The iPad Pro has all the horsepower you could ever want from a tablet and the Magic Keyboard adds a laptop-quality keyboard and trackpad to the equation. Anyone who has used them can tell you how capable they are. You would never catch me saying otherwise.
However, the price tag is a definite obstacle. We are talking about $1,098 for the base model 11” Pro and a whopping $1,348 for the base 12.9” Pro. And that doesn’t include the 2nd gen Apple Pencil, which adds another $129. That’s a lot of money, especially if the Pro isn’t your primary computing device.
I tried buying a Logitech Folio Touch for the 11” iPad Pro before my new iPad Air arrived last week. I knew that cases for the two should be interchangeable and that is true except for one not so little detail- TouchID. Many iPad cases cover the Power button with flexible material. Unfortunately, the Folio Touch for the 11” Pro does this, rendering TouchID on the iPad Air unusable.
Unfortunately, the model for the new iPad Air wasn’t in stock at any of my BestBuys yet, but I was able to get one shipped and it arrived last week while I was working out of town, so I started kicking the tires on it this weekend.
So who is the iPad Air for, exactly? The fast answer to this question is pretty much anyone who is interested in using a tablet. After a few days of kicking the tires and comparing the new Air 4 to the iPad Pro, I feel very confident in the opinion that it is the new default Apple tablet. It is the Goldilocks iPad- not too much, not too little. It’s just right.
My time with the iPad Air 4 yesterday was about getting set up and started with it. Today was about leaning into a few specific features to see how they work, as well as how they stack up with the iPad Pro. Specifically, I tested the new TouchID sensor, and did some real-world testing on the processor and the speakers.
I came home from working out of town to a new iPad Air. Unfortunately, after a long couple of days on the road, it didn’t make it out of the box. However, after a good and long night’s sleep, I got the new Air out this morning and got started.
I’m still waiting for the last of the applications from my iPad Pro’s backup to make their over as I start writing, but I’ve spent enough time with the new hardware to form some initial impressions.
We know for certain that preorders for Apple’s new 6.1″ iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will begin at 5 AM Pacific tomorrow in the United States and 29 other countries. Normally I would be sitting this one out and going about my day when 7 AM Central rolls around, but the rumor mill just keeps me hanging on.
And that game would be called bait and switch. Or maybe it’s just a little deck shuffling slight of hand. Either way, the iPad Air still isn’t here and if you believe the Apple rumor mill, it sounds like it won’t be here after today’s event, either.
In spite of the new iPad Air, there are still some good reasons.
I’ve seen where a lot of tech bloggers and Apple fans are talking about the irrelevance of the iPad Pro in the wake of Apple’s hardware announcement earlier this week. I get it, so much so that I’m buying a new iPad Air, myself. It has most of what the typical users would like from an iPad Pro at a much more reasonable starting price of $599. I think it strikes a great balance between performance and affordability and it’s also compatible with all the same accessories as the 11″ iPad Pro.
However, while it is true that the iPad Air is now encroaching on the territory of its higher-end sibling, I’m not ready to write off the Pro quite yet. Here are a few reasons why.
When the iPad Air 3 was released last year, I promptly picked one up, kicked the tires for a few days and reviewed it. While it wasn’t for me, I did like it enough that I recommended it to my father, who has enjoyed it since I handed it over.
I came away pretty impressed after my time with the Air 3 and thought that the new model was a good ideal on Apple’s part. There was far too wide of a gulf between the base model 6th Gen iPad, the smaller iPad Mini, and the iPad Pro before the release of the Air. The new model gave buyers a solid, full-size mid-tier option to think about with enough features and improvements to stand out.
The rumors of a new 10.8″ iPad Air with an iPad Pro-like edge-to-edge screen, USB-C and TouchID are really picking up steam now. They have been running hot and cold for several months now, with some reports indicating a release date near WWDC, to others calling for the device to be pushed to spring of next year.
Just in the last couple of days, the rumors have all started running in the same direction, giving me a little more confidence that this new iPad really is just a couple of weeks out.