A New iPad
By Charles Martin
As mentioned at recent SIG and general meetings, I got myself a new non-Pro iPad. Because this one will hopefully not be with me all that long, I opted for the budget model — 32GB of storage, Wi-Fi only. The cost locally seems to be around $450 plus tax (slightly cheaper in Alberta!). Best Buy has them for $10 cheaper, but I believe some local dealers will price-match that.
I had been quite surprised by how much I missed my previous iPad, so I was really happy to get this one. There are some small differences (which I’ll enumerate momentarily), but overall this thing is the perfect replacement for anyone who has an older original iPad, iPad 2, iPad (third-gen), or “The New iPad” of 2014 (fourth-gen), and way cheaper than those were as well. Another bonus is that this new one is physically very, very similar to the iPad Air (slightly thicker than the iPad Air 2, however), and so if you have old accessories that fit those (and these can often be found cheap at London Drugs, by the way!), they still work.
In addition to being a bit thinner and lighter (and I do mean just a bit), the 2017 iPad’s screen is back to the super-glossy non-laminated style of the iPad Air. All iPads are kinda glossy, but the iPad Air 2 (and the iPad Pro models) use a different technique that cuts down on the glare. The fact that this one doesn’t is generally not an issue for me (since I use it at home a lot, where I have indirect lighting), but outdoors or in cafes et al this can require some adjusting to find the best angle for avoiding the glare. The screen itself is brighter than before (now up to 500 nits of brightness), and I find that helps a lot.
Other than that, this iPad is pretty much what you’d expect: it’s a bit faster, battery life is terrific, and it can handle I’d say 80 percent of a typical person’s computing needs with ease. Throw in a Bluetooth keyboard and a stand/case for use at the cafe, and you’re up to 85 percent of a normal-use case. I think the release of iOS 11, coming this fall, might raise that up to 90 percent — but beyond that you may want to consider an iPad Pro model, especially if you want to use the amazing Apple Pencil.
If you’re on a budget and don’t want an iPad mini, this is the model for you. Many of you may find that it can replace your Mac for what you do with it, once you add on a keyboard. If you need something where you can use the Apple Pencil, you’ll need to budget for the iPad Pro. Bear in mind that the 32GB of space won’t be good for holding a huge amount of media (other than music), so you may wish to opt either for more storage (it’s $100 more for the $128GB model), or rely more on cloud services (commercial or personal) to store your media, which you then simply access “on demand” and which stream to you rather than taking up valuable space on the device.
If you already have an iPad Air or Air 2, there’s no need to upgrade to this. It’s a bit better, but not so hugely better that you’ll immediately notice. If you have something older than that, it may be time for you to upgrade. For new buyers — this could end up being the cheapest and yet best “laptop” you’ve ever owned. If you need me, I’ll be in a coffee shop, happily typing or surfing away on mine.
©2017 Charles Martin
Photo credits: Apple (iPads), Shawn Blanc (toolsandtoys.net) (keyboard)
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