The in-between iPad gets a new Mac-level chip, a zooming Center Stage front camera and optional 5G. The Air has mostly caught back up to the iPad Pro.
‘m surrounded by iPads. My family uses them all the time. Personally, I alternate between iPad and laptop. So it has been, so it shall be. I’ve wanted the iPad to be a Mac tablet for years. The iPad has crept incrementally closer and with now the same M1 processor as the mac book air but that still doesn’t mean your iPad is now a Mac.
It does, however, mean that the latest iPad Air has a very, very nice processor and that it’s lovely and speedy. It has the same design as the iPad Air revamp in 2020, and the redesigned iPad Mini last fall. But what are that speedy processor and the more iPad Pro/iPad Mini-like design (larger screen, less bezel, USB-C, Pencil 2 support) worth to you?
The middle iPad in Apple’s lineup has come at a weird time. The entry-level iPad and iPad Mini were refreshed last fall, and the year-old iPad Pro, which has the same M1 processor as this but costs more, came out a whole year ago. This makes the Air the best high-end iPad for its price. And if you’re looking to treat yourself to an excellent iPad that feels future-proof for a while, at least as far as its processor goes, this may seem like the choice.
But it’s not that simple. The 10.2-inch iPad really does a lot of the same things, for a lot less money. Its screen’s a bit smaller, the A13 processor is less powerful, perhaps, and yes, it has a Lightning port, not USB-C. But it works with keyboard cases, it uses that first-gen Pencil and it’s all pretty much fine. That basic iPad still probably makes the most sense for casual users. As for portability, it’s nearly the same size (with more screen bezel).