It may be that a few years ago the iPad was, in a way, a kind of side-plan for Apple, a device that had to be offered (Apple was not going to not offer tablets like its competitors) , but it was not the protagonist.
However, this concept has changed considerably: while iPhone sales are now showing a slight decline, sales of Apple tablets continue to soar.
Probably not just because of the rise of remote working during the pandemic, tablets have been in high demand. iPad sales increased by almost 50% in the second half of 2020 and in the first quarter of 2021 alone, they will generate 7.8 billion in sales for Apple.
Tablet is more popular than laptop
If you calculate users’ daily usage time – from Instagram to Netflix to Zoom – the iPad has probably overtaken the laptop for many people, and not just as a “couch computer”.
Many also use an iPad instead of a MacBook when working in the office. Along with an Apple keyboard, an iPad is an effective mobile companion, especially for meetings. There are also many, many students who have been able to survive homeschooling with the help of their iPads.
We’re not saying an iPad can always replace a laptop. Its suitability for the job itself depends on the nature of the tasks you need to perform: a tablet is great for daily text reading and video chatting, but less useful for producing and typing content. In our opinion, the laptop or desktop computer with a full-size keyboard and mouse is still unbeatable in this regard.
In part, the popularity of the iPad is probably also due to the weak competition from Android, as well as a good Software device management. Although the Android platform has caught up in this respect, Apple scores points with a clear model policy and long device support.
Samsung may have a real competitor with its Galaxy tabs, while Microsoft, with its touch-enabled devices, will likely put more pressure on Lenovo and HP laptops.
What to expect from Apple’s new iPads
Update cycles for iPads are similar to those for iPhones: we usually get an all-new iPad design, like the iPad Air or Pro, followed by several years of minor updates (better processors, better displays, etc). Not much has changed on the iPad Pro since 2018, so a design update might be in order.
Perhaps Apple’s most popular iPad is the iPad Air, which is more powerful and modern than the standard model. An update is long overdue, and if all goes well, a new version with a faster chip should be released in the spring. We can expect the A15 or the M1 (although the M1 and M2 will probably be reserved for the iPad Pro models).
You’ll also probably have to do without the iPad Pro’s HDR display and mini LED, as you have to keep your distance from much more expensive models; Unfortunately, this also applies to promotional technology.
However, a better front camera with ultra wide angle is expected in the follow-up model. The new wide-angle feature might seem like a useless gimmick, but it’s a big plus for video conferencing. 5G is also to be expected, a new design no. Still, the Air is expected to once again become the best-selling iPad model after the update.
Thanks to the inclusion of the fast M1 chip that Apple already uses in the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac mini and 24-inch iMac, the current iPad Pro is a real powerhouse. If there is no delay, an update should appear in the second half of the year.
The design of the current iPad Pro was last updated in 2018, so a new design could be coming. Apparently Apple is planning a glass-backed case to enable wireless charging, like with iPhones.
MagSafe support for the iPad is also reportedly in the works. However, Apple will probably avoid going with something like the MacBook Pro, where Thunderbolt and MagSafe are available as their own ports. Charging other devices from the iPad may be possible.
However, you will have to do without a faster chip like Apple’s M1 Pro or Max, the heat development of these chips is too high for an iPad. We suspect that improved battery life will also be on the agenda.
It might be the cheapest iPad model, but it’s still solid tech at an entry-level price. It’s not just bargain-hunting consumers buying this model, Apple is also targeting the education sector, where it needs to maintain a bargain tablet offering.
In this market, there is strong competition from cheap Chromebooks, so a low price is essential if Apple wants to continue playing here. For educational institutions, Apple sells the iPad for the low price of $299.
To stay profitable despite the low price, Apple is likely to ditch the expensive display technologies and stick with the home button and Touch ID for the next model.
Apple can also reduce production costs by using older cases, modules and chips from older iPad models. And by keeping the 4G modem, Apple can save money, since it costs a fraction of the 5G model of the iPad mini.
Not in vain the iPad is still popular. The design is a bit dated, but it offers great performance and it’s the best value for money. In 2021 it even got the ultra-wide camera with Center Stage as seen on the iPad Pro and iMac, and you get double the storage space of the 2020 iPad.
A slightly improved successor won’t be available until late 2022 or even early 2023. However, the current chip crisis could cause delays in this regard. Apple even had to push iPad production back to late 2021 to have enough chips for its most profitable iPhones.
The launch of a new small iPad mini was no surprise in 2021, the small form factor for some tasks comes in handy. Plus, it’s a great size for little hands and a popular choice for kids.
Since the last update, the iPad mini has one version ahead of the iPad Air. Its price is also higher than that of the iPad. With so much up-to-date technology and elaborate design, the small iPad is no bargain. But you get what you pay for in terms of innovations like 5G.
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