The Muddled iPad

Last week Apple updated its iPad line, as rumors had suggested. It wasn't a flashy prerecorded event or a live keynote. With some press releases and an update to their store, the "new hotness" was unleashed. But unlike many new products, this lineup is... confusing.

For years Apple has gone with a Small, Regular, and Large iPad lineup. The mini was a niche item that dedicated people liked. The iPad without a suffix was for "normals" and the Pro was the one with the big screen. Then the waters were muddied by the iPad Air sticking around to float wherever it needed. Last year Apple redesigned the Air with its newer design language and it looked great. Logically it made sense for that to slot into the "normal" place and move on.

With the updated lineup, there are SIX!! models to choose from. Even worse: the pricing and feature omissions make none of these an obvious choice. Some support only the original Pencil accessory. Some don't have Pro Motion 120hz displays. Some will run the upcoming debacle of Stage Manager. Some are there simply for the price point.

Dan Seifert at The Verge talks more about this and the new 10th-generation "normal" iPad.

At its core, this iPad is an excellent tablet with fast performance, reliable battery life, and a vast library of optimized apps to make use of its large touchscreen.

But along with those upgrades comes a higher price: the 10th gen iPad starts at $449, $120 more than the previous model, and can be kitted out to over $1,000 with storage, cellular, and accessory upgrades. This is for the entry-level iPad with no qualifier after its name, the one that you buy for casual use, kids, schoolwork, travel, and content consumption — it’s not really a device to replace your laptop with.

Apple seems to be aware of this conundrum because it’s still selling the ninth-gen iPad for $329, a much more palatable and accessible price for the many people just looking for a basic iPad to do basic iPad things.

The Verge

When looking at what MacRumors points out with the lineup, it is quite clear that Apple seems to be lost when it comes to the iPad. It's not a computer but it's growing out of a pure tablet-media-consumption phase. Apple wants to price it accordingly but for what you get, the jump to a Mac Mini or MacBook Air is quite small with more bang for your buck. In the end, Apple is either making due because of increasing chip costs and a supply chain still recovering from COVID demands, or they are lost at sea with a bulging lineup that is ripe for culling.

Either way, Apple needs to get focused.