It’s been six years since I’ve gotten a new iPad. But I might be tempted to spend big bucks for one of the two new iPad Pro models rumored to be announced at the Apple Spring Loaded event on Tuesday.
I have an original iPad Mini circa 2012, and I received my Apple iPad Air 2 in 2015. It’s the one I use most these days and it’s served me well. The volume button stopped working a few years ago, but it still functions with AirPods or using the volume slider in the settings app. I once went to the Genius Bar to ask about repairing the volume button, but the technician told me that repair wasn’t possible and that the only option was to buy a new device. I opted out of that option.
SEE: Apple iPadOS: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic free PDF)
Each time a new iPad has been revealed at the many Apple events over the past several years, I catch myself eyeing the new tablets and oohing and aahing a bit over the cool new features. But the price tags always give me pause because the 4th gen iPad Air, released in September 2020, starts at $599, and the latest iPad Pro from 2020 starts at $799. I can’t fathom spending hundreds of dollars on a new iPad when the one I have does everything I need it to do, which by now is mostly reading books on the Kindle app.
Even a couple of years ago I was still using my iPad Air 2 for watching the latest on Netflix and playing an occasional round of Candy Crush. But now, Candy Crush doesn’t interest me, and I stream videos on my iPhone 11 Pro Max. My iPhone’s 6.5-inch display is sharper and better to watch the latest episode of “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” than the 9.7-inch display of my dated iPad Air 2.
It’s never a sure thing what will happen at any Apple event, but ZDNet’s Jason Cipriani said that two new iPads will likely be revealed, in the 11-inch and 12.9-inch models that have become standard.
I’ve thought a lot about what it would take for me to buy a new iPad, and here are the five features that matter most to me:
iPad Pro wish list #1: A sharp display
ZDNet’s Ciprani said that the new 12-inch iPad Pro might have a Mini LED display, although he cites a Bloomberg report that said Apple suppliers are having issues producing enough of the panels for the new iPad Pro and that could mean that not many of the larger iPads will be available at first.
iPad Pro wish list #2: A faster processor
This one seems very likely. ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes said that the devices will have an A14X chip that is equivalent to the M1 chip in the newest MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini. These are the processors that Apple designs and has Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. produce. Sure, having a super fast processor isn’t that necessary in an iPad, or an iPhone for that matter, as Kingsley-Hughes points out, but compared to the dated iPad I currently use, it would make a remarkable difference and the extra speed would help future-proof the new iPads.
iPad Pro wish list #3: A new connector
While the USB-C connectors are a definite upgrade from the Lightning connector on my current iPad, the rumors are encouraging that the iPad Pro models will have a Thunderbolt port. As Bloomberg notes, this kind of connector will make it easier to connect external monitors, hard drives and other peripherals, and it will sync data faster.
iPad Pro wish list #4: Longer battery life
It’s always about the battery life. My old iPad with it’s 27.3 watt battery lasts two to three hours, which is enough for most tasks, particularly as I’m only really using it for the Kindle app. But having a solid battery that could last for non-stop streaming for 12-plus hours would be a fantastic feature on any new iPad. Once we’re back to flying to Europe, that would mean no charging necessary on most flights. The latest iPad Pro, the 4th generation released in 2020, has a 36.71-watt-hour rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. Maybe it’s just a pipe dream, but if something longer lasting comes along, I’m interested.
iPad Pro wish list #5: New Apple Pencil
It’s been three years since Apple released a new Apple Pencil. It’s a cool accessory, but with Samsung regularly updating its S Pen, Apple needs to step up and do the same. The first Apple Pencil came out with the original iPad Pro in 2015, so with that three-year refresh schedule, it’s time for a new version. While I’m dreaming, it would also be a nice bonus if the Apple Pencil came with the iPad, and not as a separate $129 accessory.