Selecting an Ipad Western Weekender

Selecting an iPad

The Western Weekender has asked me to do a selection of articles on topics of interest to their readers. I’m travelling soon so I have decided to update my iPad. Selecting an iPad can be confusing as Apple has expanded the range to include five variations. Apple has a model for almost every budget. Within the last year, Apple has introduced the iPad Pro Models, a new iPad Air model and revamped the iPad Minis. Here is what you need to know.

iOS

All iPads operate on the same version of iOS. iOS is the operating system that runs on both iPhones and iPads. iOS 12 is the current version at the time of writing with iOS 13 just announced. iOS is a great operating system for tablets. While I do prefer Andriod for my phone, Apple does make great tablets and iOS really excels on an iPad. Apple also ensures that your iPad will continue to get iOS updates for a number of years after you purchase the device. If you already own an iPhone, then using an iPad is functionally the same. 

Differences between iPad Models

  Mini Ipad Air Pro 11″ Pro 12.9″
Display size 7.9” 9.7” 10.5” 11” 12.9”
Storage 64Gb, 256GB 32 or 128 GB 64 or 256GB 64, 256, 512 GB, 1TB 64,256,512 GB, 1TB
Weight 300g 469g 456g 468g 633g

The most obvious difference in selecting an iPad model is screen size and weight. The three lower models have still had the traditional push button at the bottom of the screen. The Pro models have removed this, and use an upward swipe, allowing for more screen space. All iPad models have about 10 hours of battery life.

Some other factors you need to consider when selecting an iPad is whether you want WiFi only or WiFi with Cellular. The Cellular versions mean that you can add in a phone or data sim and get internet reception through your Telecommunications provider. Most Telecommunications providers (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone) will supply you an additional SIM card for a low monthly cost; it uses data from your phone plan. The iPads will auto switch between WiFi and Cellular as required.

iPads also come in different storage sizes, depending on the model. Apple does have significant price jumps between each model. In today’s cloud-connected environment, you need to think carefully, on the size you want as the price jump is large. If you think back a few years, the maximum memory on iPads was 256 GB, with models starting 16 GB. So if you have previously had an iPad and have never filled the memory, consider your future usage before you spend big on an iPad with a larger memory. My last iPad had 64 GB of memory and I never managed to fill it. Moving up to 256 GB memory for me is a sizeable increase.

The other changes worth mentioning is the Pro models have a standard USB-C connector for charging, the other models still use Apple’s proprietary connector. If you travel, bring the one power connector that fits both your phone and your iPad is an advantage. The Pro models also use the newer Apple Pencil (2nd Generation). They also have a faster processor, the A12x compared to the A12. They also use Face ID for security rather than the Touch ID on the three lower models.

The iPad Pro 11” is almost identical in physical size to the new 10.5” iPad Air. The difference being the button space on the iPad Air is converted to screen on the Pro. The 12.9’ model is large and is aimed at being a desktop replacement. You can purchase a full-size keyboard. It is a great solution for those on the road who do a lot of typing. This is a large tablet, so you may also find it is a bit cumbersome when travelling.

The latest iPad Air and iPad Mini models are compelling; they contain a fast processor, have a fantastic screen and are reasonably priced, compared to the Pro models.

iPad Options

When selecting an iPad you also need to consider the options and accessories avail for each model. All models have optional keyboards and pens.  The keyboard is responsive, doubles as a cover and if typing a lot is almost a necessity. If you are creating a lot of documents then the 12.9″ iPad pro is a great selection as the keypad is almost full size. If the iPad is used mainly for short emails, social or media consumption, then I would save on the cost of the keyboard, and buy your self a nice cover. Apple does charge premium prices for both the keyboard cover and the pencil.  There are many third-party solutions at more competitive pricing. Belkin and Logitec to name a couple.

If you use a drawing application the Apple Pencil is useful. They are expensive and are not required for general iPad usage. Remember that the iPad was designed to be used by fingers, so a Pencil is not a must-have.

Ways to get an iPad

There are several ways to get an iPad, purchase directly from an Apple Store or Apple Online. Purchase from a retail outlet like JB HiFi, The Good Guys, Bing Lee, Officeworks, Harvey Norman or your local IT Store.  Alternatively, get it on a plan from a telecommunications provider. Most providers will give you an iPad on a plan for 24 months, a little over the cost of a data plan. By way of example, Optus have an iPad Pro 11″ with 100 GB data for $90 a month over 24 months. That is $2160 compared with $1669 direct from Apple. That means you get the iPad interest fee an for an extra $20 a month you also get 100 GB of data. This is a great value. Telstra Vodafone and Virgin all have similar deals.

Regardless of how you get it, it is a sizeable investment. It is also an item that if dropped is likely to get a cracked screen. So get AppleCare as you will be paying it off even if you damage it. Applecare is Apple’s insurance and warranty extension. It will replace your iPad if accidental damage occurs.

I have just purchased an iPad as I’m away on holidays. Next week I tell you which one and whether I can use it as a laptop replacement while travelling.

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