While I was complimentary of Apple’s new iPad Pro and iPad Mini when they released Monday, I certainly wouldn’t call them Earth-shattering new devices. They weren’t meant to be. They are the middle-tier of the lineup and that’s not something you usually get very excited about. However, if we use the 5th Gen iPad as a guide, sometimes mundane but reasonably priced sells very well with everyday consumers.
Ever since the first iPad Pro was released, Apple’s tablet lineup have been kind of a jumbled up mess. You had models that were too close together in price and specs, like the iPad Air 2 and original iPad Pro. You had the iPad Air 2 on closeout while Apple was selling the new 9.7″ iPad Pro. The two tablets looked exactly the same and were only separated by Pencil support and a few other specs.
There are few surprises in the tech world today, but we got a small one today. Apple’s online store went down in the early AM, and low and behold, we have new iPads ahead of Apple’s event one week from today! Apple threw us another change-up by going back to the name it seemingly left behind a few years ago, releasing a new iPad Air.
Last week, Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities predicted that Apple will release a new 13″ MacBook Air with a lower price tag sometime in the second quarter. I find it interesting that a device many of us thought had been left for dead in the wake of the super-thin MacBook a couple of years ago still proves its worth in their product lineup. That is some remarkable resiliency, especially in the fast-moving tech world.
At one time it was the latest and greatest. The MacBook Air was the super-thin, super-light premium laptop that all comers were judged by. Now, it seems that it will be further confirmed in its role as the low-end value option in Apple’s laptop lineup. However, with the right combination of upgrades and concessions, it could still have one more good run before finally heading off into the sunset.
This is certainly ground that has been covered in MANY articles, both before and after the release of the new 10.5” and 12.9” iPad Pros, and for plenty of reason. Apple’s marketing has placed the iPad Pro squarely in the conversation as a primary computing device, and encouraged this kind of examination. However, because the conversations tend to center around those of us in the Apple blogosphere and the tech community at large think, they usually focus on the iPad as a laptop replacement for US as “power users,” rather than more typical users.
I am a huge sports fan, and have been since I was a child. I played a few when I was younger, and I still watch just about any team sport you can think of in some amount today. As we head into the middle of Spring, College Baseball is going strong and the Major Leagues had their Opening Day just a week ago. As such, it felt right to break out a little National Pastime parlance to describe Apple’s newest addition to the iPad family.
Well, my prediction early last month that the iPad Air line would be retired was half right. The name is now gone, but I thought at the time that Apple would shift to an all Pro iPad lineup this Spring. However, thanks in part to the comments of several users of non-Pro iPads, I came to see how short-sighted that opinion was, and how many potential users it would leave behind.
Thankfully, Apple is a lot smarter than I am. As such, a lower-cost tablet still endures, just with a different name and a little different shape. However, this wasn’t all that went down yesterday. Apple made a few interesting, if low key moves, and changing up the Air 2 was just one of them. Here are a few of the highlights and interesting details from yesterday’s news.
I wouldn’t have heard about this latest update to the Logitech Ultrathin Magnetic Clip-on Keyboard Cover for iPad Air if it weren’t for Tools and Toys. The premise is still the same: it’s an aluminum cover that matches the iPad, with a nearly full-sized Bluetooth keyboard on the interior. It’s not a case you’ll take around for protection, but rather a sleek all-in-one typing package for writers on the go.
The new hotness comes in the form of a new tilting iPad dock that enables flexible viewing angles, and a terribly clever hidden magnetic latch. Previous versions of the cover had the magnetic latch hang loose while not in use, as it does on the iPad’s Smart Cover, but this latest version feels like something pulled out of a Tesla Model S. The latch is there when you need it as a cover, but tucks back into the body of the keyboard while you type (check out the Logitech website for a preview).
That said, previous versions of the Ultrathin are now on sale as a result. They used to retail for $100, but they’re now on Amazon for about $70.
Over recent days I’ve started seeing early talk of new iPads expected this late this year and in early 2015. Apple Insider has a report up, citing an analyst (Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI) with a respectable track record on these sort of subjects, that talks about some expected features for new iPads that are now on the horizon.
The highlights so far, at least for the next-gen iPad Air, seem to be:
— A new A8 mobile processor
— A Touch ID sensor as the new iPhone 5s has
— An 8 megapixel rear-facing camera
The Apple online store currently has iPad Air refurbished models available at nearly $100 off. Here’s the details:
— The iPad Air 16GB WiFi refurbished model is available at $419 – $80 less than the new price.
— The iPad Air 32GB WiFi refurb model is an even better deal. It’s priced at $509, which is $90 less than the new price.
— There are also 64GB and 128GB iPad Air models shown on the refurbished page – at over $100 off their new prices – but those are both listed as out of stock right now.
Apple’s refurbished iPads come with the same 1 year warranty as a new iPad, and with a new battery and outer shell and all the same accessories as new models. I’ve bought refurbished mobile devices from Apple in the past and had just as good an experience as with brand new products.
If you’re after a good price on a very nearly new iPad Air, it’s well worth taking a look at the Apple refurbished pages for them.