So here is a personal question for you. For those of you looking to get an iPad for yourself or someone else this Holiday season, which one do you want? Now that we have a tiered tablet lineup that covers a full range of features, sizes and price points, which one best lines up with your priorities?
There aren’t any wrong answers here. It’s all about personal taste and your preferred spending level. That last point alone is going to make the current-gen 10.2″ iPad the most popular Apple tablet this Christmas. There have been numerous sales and specials on this model and they are still available if you need a last minute go-to for an Apple fan in your life. My local BestBuy still has the 32GB base model in stock at the $249 sale price. I’m sure most Apple Stores will have them, as well. With Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard compatibility, it’s hard to beat the sheer value of this model.
That said, if you are looking for more portable power, the iPad Mini is an excellent choice. My 13 year old daughter still swears by hers. For whatever reason, this model has not been featured in many sales this Holiday season, so $399 is still the likely barrier to entry. That does feel a bit steep in comparison with the sale price of the iPad. However, it does have an A12 processor, rather than the iPad’s older and slower A10, so you are getting extra horsepower with that extra cash.
If you need more power, but the smaller screen just won’t cut it for you, then the iPad Air is your huckleberry. It shares the same A12 chip as the Mini with a 10.5″ screen and, like the iPad, is also compatible with the first-gen Apple Pencil and the Smart Keyboard. The normal retail price is $499, but the 64 GB base model Air is on sale for $399 at BestBuy right now, bringing it in line with the Mini.
So who wants the Air enough for it to be worth $150 more? If you are running applications that would tax the processor, then you should consider stepping up in class. It also has a better screen, so if you are more discriminating about how things look on your devices, then I would suggest heading to an Apple Store and checking the Air out and directly comparing it to other iPads. The other thing to consider is that, thanks to the newer processor, the current Air will also be supported with iOS updates longer.
So what about the iPad Pro? That’s a pretty expensive gift. There are a few sales on the higher-end models right now, and what’s out there currently is mostly on the 11″ model. BestBuy has it at $649 at the moment, which will save you a cool $150. Still, why pay another $150 more than the Air to take the next step up?
It’s all about the features and how serious the person receiving the iPad is about using them. If you are giving an iPad to a serious art student or photographer, then the Pro is definitely the way to go. If they need a bigger, better screen, again, you can’t beat the 11″ and 12.9″ displays on the iPad Pro. If they will be using external storage or peripherals, then the USB-C port on the current-gen Pros is a must. A college student, especially an older, more responsible one, would benefit from the speed of the high-end iPad when it comes to taking notes, recording lectures and working on professional looking papers.
For those who are asking for or receiving an Apple tablet as a gift, the current-gen 10.2″ iPad is going to be the right choice for the majority of you. However, it’s great that the Mini and Air are there to fill that next tier for those who want something a little different and/or more powerful, but who aren’t interested in stepping up to the Pro.
The iPad Pros will likely be given or received as gifts the least during the Holidays. However, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is mostly a product of price, as $649 and up is a pretty hefty sum for a gift. However, for someone who needs its power and features, and iPad Pro the kind of gift you never forget.
So who is asking for an iPad this Christmas? Who’s giving one? Is it planned or a surprise? Did you maybe take advantage of the sales and pick one up for yourself? Whether you are giving or receiving (or both), I would love to know which iPad you are interested in. Feel free to reach out in the Comments section below or you can hit me up on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog. I would love to hear from you.