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Complete Comparison on the current iPad lineup, a guide choosing the best one for you

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Current iPad Lineup

Apple recently at its March 8th Peek Performance Event revealed the latest iPad Air powered by its in-house M1 processor.

Apple’s iPad lineup currently includes four different iPad models, with the upper hand model having two different display sizes. The base models come with a starting price ranging from $329 to $1,099. And this variety makes it a bit confusing as to which model should be acquired.

Similarities:

Let’s move ahead to the depths of what each iPad holds. But before we move along with the comparison, there are similarities in all of the tablets, including the iPadOS, which is the formal split that was introduced by Apple a few years ago for its iPad’s operating system to replace the then used iOS, which powers iPhones.

A tablet-specific operating system focusing on optimizing and improving multitasking to increase the utility of iPads as office devices, including pinnable widgets and cross-app productivity tools like split-screen and speedy screen switching.

Connectivity

Speaking of wireless connectivity across all the devices, it is increasingly prevalent across all the devices where every model features dual-band 2.4/5GHZ Wi-Fi bundled with MIMO and optional cellular connectivity, except for the entry-level iPad, which lacks Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.

MIMO stands for Multiple-Input Multiple-Output, a wireless technology that transfers more data at the same time by utilising several transmitters and receivers.

Apple Pencil

Coming to the Apple Pencil, we see that each of the models holds the power to be compatible with using Apple’s Pencil. The only difference is that the second-generation $129 Apple Pencil works with the latest iPad Air, the small yet power-packed iPad Mini, and the giant iPad Pro. While the basic iPad embraces the $99 first-gen Apple Pencil.

Keyboard

Moving along to the keyboard compatibility, all iPads do work with the basic Bluetooth keyboards. However, the iPad, iPad Pro, and iPad Air are a step ahead by having Smart Connectors embodied in the chassis of the devices making them compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard. In contrast, iPad and iPad Pro hold the abilities and powers to move along working with Apple’s higher-end Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard Folio. Furthermore, all iPads are compatible with Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2, a touchpad device.

Standard iPad (9th Gen) 2021

Comparison

The Basic Entry-Level Apple iPad

Apple’s entry-level iPad pricing at $329 is a budget iPad. The recent upgrade in 2021 gave a boost to the processing power of this device. Though it is not as advanced as the other iPads, at this price, having an iPad with the A13 Bionic is a good choice to opt for unless you don’t need higher processing tasks to do on this tablet.

The standard iPad is powered by the same A13 Bionic chip that is used in the iPhone 11. In comparison to the iPad Mini that comes with the A15 Bionic chip and the M1 powered iPad Air and iPad Pro, the standard iPad trails behind in terms of Power.

The basic model comes with adequate storage of 64GB which can hold enough of your data, including games, videos, e-books and more. However, if you need extra storage space, a 256GB variant with a $479 price tag is a better option to choose.

Of all the current iPad versions, the standard iPad holds the most basic screen, embodying a Of all the current iPad versions, the standard iPad holds the most basic screen, embodying a 10.2-inch Retina LCD. It comes with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,620 pixels, for 264 pixels per inch. In addition, it’s missing the lamination and anti-reflective coating.

DCI-P3 is a feature that allows you to enjoy HDR to its fullest and the more DCI-P3 coverage the better. But lacking this won’t allow you to enjoy the extra colours HDR content can possess. However, the inclusion of Apple’s True Tone function, which changes colour based on surrounding light, is the sole substantial update to the current model’s screen.

Speaking of the cameras, the rear one is an 8-megapixel, which is the same as the previous version of the device. However, an upgraded 12MP selfie camera is massively better than the 2020 version. It supports Apple’s Centre Stage feature with a 122-degree field of view and has a better resolution than its predecessor, uses machine learning to automatically adjust the ultra-wide selfie camera to keep you in the frame when using any compatible video apps, such as FaceTime, Zoom etc., and even making calls much clearer and smoother with nearly the double resolution than the 2020 model. But it has a turndown of not supporting Face ID, which is exclusive to the legendary iPad Pro and, of course, the iPhones.

Conclusion

At a lower price of $329, you get a good-sized bright screen and other functionalities despite having the weakest processor and the least advanced screen in the lineup. It’s a wonderful pick if you want a multipurpose entertainment device for viewing movies, reading books and comics, browsing the web, connecting with pals, and even writing smaller and lighter texts and presentations. It may be a good choice for restaurants that need a bigger screen than the iPad Mini.

iPad Mini (6th Gen) 2021

The Small yet Power-packed Apple iPad Mini

The smallest among all, yet significantly loaded with more power and features than the basic entry-level iPad. If you feel like the other iPads are too heavy and bulky to fit into your pocket, here is the one you might want to own. Weighing around 0.6 pounds and less than a quarter-inch thick, it can likely be used single-handedly.

Even though it’s the smallest among all, it still comes with an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display featuring a sharp pixel density of 326 pixels per inch with a 2,266 x 1,488-pixel resolution. Though it lacks the ProMotion technology present in the iPad Pro, it includes the same P3 Wide Colour and True Tone features in a completely anti-reflective coated laminated panel.

With its A15 Bionic processor, the iPad mini outperforms the standard iPad. It sports a 12-Mp ultra-wide front-facing camera enabling FaceTime with Centre Stage feature to intelligently frame your face.  On the rear, it embraces the same 12MP camera equipped with a True Tone Flash and a Smart HDR.

Speaking of connectivity, it supports Wi-Fi 6 and is 5G enabled on the cellular variant, which comes at a base price of $649 for the 64GB variant and $799 for the 256GB variant. Instead of the Lightning ports, it offers a USB-C connecter, however, it only supports USB 3.1 Gen and Display Port, while lacking support for Thunderbolt or USB4.

Conclusion

A smaller yet powerful iPad coming in at a basic price of $499 is a great choice for those who want a lighter and smaller iPad in their hands, especially for kids who wish to read comics, play games, watch videos. Well with supporting the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil it’s an awesome buy for the digital artists as well, especially the 256GB variant to store up their precious projects, priced at $649.

iPad Air (5th Gen)2022

The newest M1 powered Apple iPad Air

The recently launched M1 powered iPad Air shifts the scales firmly towards the Pro end, with significant developments putting it within touching distance of the pricier but more professional tablets in the iPad lineup. It already resembled the iPad Pro in style, with flat corners and a very slender frame surrounding the screen, but now with the new internal upgrades, it has improved far beyond the basic iPad and the iPad Mini.

Saying that the iPad Air and iPad Pro hold the same power as a desktop computer. The newest iPad Air uses an M1 chip, which is the same as the one used in the iPad Pro. The same chip is used in Apple’s desktops, such as the iMac and the MacBook Air. Incorporating an M1 chip is a significant improvement over the previous models holding an A14 Bionic mobile processor.

The Apple iPad Air’s display is a substantially unaltered 10.9-inch Liquid Retina LCD with a resolution of 2,360 x 1,640 pixels and a brightness of 500 nits. It also comes with the same P3 Wide Colour feature and a laminated display with an anti-reflective coating. Furthermore, the pixel density is the same as on the iPad Pro and the iPad Mini, which is 264 pixels per inch, but, the iPad Pro shines brighter than the iPad air.

A huge upgrade to the front-facing camera can be significantly noticed as it’s been upgraded from 2020 iPad Air’s 7MP to a 12MP ultra-wide sensor supporting the Centre Stage feature, which in comparison is identical to the baseline model iPad and the iPad Mini. Moreover, it lags behind the iPad Pro in terms of rear camera, which embodies dual rear-facing cameras. It doesn’t come with a Face ID and lacking this feature doesn’t even pull it down in terms of any other necessary advancements.

Coming at a starting price of $749, the cellular variant supports mid-band 5G. The iPad Air also supports Wi-Fi 6.

 Though the iPad Air lacks the Thunderbolt 3 and USB 4 support as you have in the iPad Pro, it sports a USB-C connector port which is twice as fast as the previous model’s USB 3.1 Gen 2 port.

Conclusion

If you want the luxury appearance, feel, and much of the performance of the iPad Pro without spending the most money, the iPad Air is a decent option. It’s significantly less expensive while yet maintaining a high level of quality. The iPad Air has improved accessories that are built for the most recent Apple add-ons. It’s by far the least expensive M1 gadget available in the market with a starting price of $599 for the 64GB variant and $749 for the basic 256GB variant.

iPad Pro 2021 (11-inch and 12.9-inch)

The Pro among all, Apple iPad Pro

Unveiled in early 2021, the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros are professional tablets. The iPad Air and the iPad Pro now come with the same processor, but iPad Pro’s better screen quality, colossal storage options, the vibrant camera makes every professional out there, especially the artists, designers, musicians, and editors demanding to have one. This distinction significantly explains the considerably higher baseline prices of $799 and $1,099 that the Pro models charge over the other models.

The iPad Pro powered by Apple’s M1 processor completely outperformed the other iPads in the market last year. However, the iPad Pro no longer holds that edge solely, as the desktop processor is also housed in the iPad Air. Nonetheless, the iPad Pro still tops by handling almost any processing work that’s tossed at it, and it also wins over the iPad Air with its smoother ProMotion display and dual rear cameras.

The only significant difference between the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro devices is their displays. Both the iPad Pro’s feature a Liquid Retina display, as well as Apple’s ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate, True Tone, and Wide Colour compatibility. However, the 11-inch version has a resolution of 2,388 x 1,668 pixels and the 12.9-inch version comes with a higher resolution of 2,732 x 2,048 pixels, with both versions having 264 pixels per inch as the pixel density. In addition, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a mini-LED backlight system that produces better brightness and precisely controls the light output of the screen for better contrast.

The iPad Pro cameras are equally outstanding. It features two rear-facing cameras, one with a 12MP wide-angle lens and the other with a 10MP ultra-wide lens that can record double the field of view, as well as a new LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) scanner that can detect distance and time-of-flight. It also supports the Centre Stage feature as well. Furthermore, the cameras can take 4K video at up to 60 frames per second, whereas the other iPads can only capture 1080p. The TrueDepth camera on the front is likewise 12MP, and it supports Face ID, 1080p60 recording, cinematic video stabilisation, and Smart HDR 3.

The iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Pro cellular models all feature 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 and enable mid-band 5G, but only the Pro supports millimetre-wave 5G. It’s speedier but has a shorter range than mid-band 5G, giving the Pro a tiny advantage in terms of wireless performance. The basic 11-inch cellular variant is priced at $999, while the 12.9-inch variant is $1,299. The iPad Pro also includes a USB-C connector with Thunderbolt 3, USB 4, and DisplayPort connectivity. That is a lot of power and versatility.

The different storage options available are 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB for both the variants, however the prices do vary. For the Wi-Fi only version of 11-inch variant the prices start from $799 -$1,899, and $1,099-$2,199 for 12.9-inch variant. The combined Wi-Fi + Cellular starts from $999- $2,099 for 11-inch variant, and for the 12.9-inch variant start from $1,299 -$2,399. 

Conclusion

Coming in two different sizes, the iPad Pro 11-inch and the 12.9-inch variant at base prices of $799 & $1099 are a great choice to opt for especially when it comes to storage. As the iPad Air also shares most of the features present in iPad Pro but if you can’t compromise on the rear camera quality, Screen resolution, bigger display, Face ID, Smart HDR 3, LIDAR feature, and 4k video recording.

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