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New iPad Air and iPad Mini (apple.com)
236 points by adarsh93 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 383 comments

Apple's product naming is confusing.

Does anyone know what "Air" means?

I thought it used to mean smallest and lightest. But on the Mac the "MacBook" is smaller and lighter, and on the iPad we have the smaller iPad Mini, and the "iPad" is smaller and only 14 grams heavier.

From the MacBook Air line, we understood the definition to be "it's the cheap one", but that doesn't apply to the iPad line where it costs more.

So what does "Air" mean? It's there to "pad out" the product line? :/

It means Apple needs the ghost of Jobs to come back and clean out the product line again.

I'm especially confused because I thought the iPad Air and "standard" iPad were different generations of the same product family, and the Airs were called that because they were much thinner than earlier models. There's never been a (current-gen) "iPad" and "iPad Air" at the same time. But now there are, and based on how their web site organizes them it seems like they are considered different families.

It's really simple:

iBook became MacBook then derived MacBook Air, a thinner version

iPod derived iPod Mini, a smaller version

Ergo iPad Mini is smaller than the iPad while iPad Air is thinner than the iPad

But the iPad Air is thicker than the iPad Pro. And the MacBook Air is thicker than the MacBook.

I think Apple are now simply using Air brand name on midrange devices.

iPad Pro > iPad Air > iPad MacBook Pro > MacBook Air > Macbook

Thinner makes sense for the iPad, I hadn't noticed that.

The current MacBook is thinner than the MacBook Air released after it though. The fact that they're different screen sizes muddies the comparison a lot though.

I think in this case it suggests that this device is somewhere between a traditional iPad and a MacBook Air. The leading photo portrays it with the keyboard attached, which is a little more laptop-y than your usual tablet promo photo.

I'm 24 years old, work in software. Neither I nor any of my friends uses a tablet for work or pleasure. I guess I know a couple of people who have Surface Pro's, but that's about it. I'm wondering if the appeal of these begins when you get older? Seems like a lot of the market for these is people who are 50+, but I'd like to know if any people under 25 are interested in them.

I got my first iPad a year ago, suspecting I wouldn't use it for anything (and I'm nowhere close to 50). Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong. It's now my primary device for:

- Reading and annotating books and papers in PDF format (academic research has never been easier, I use a stylus too)

- Mounting to a tripod and recording video (e.g. professional presentations, with a lapel mic connected -- again, screen size makes it far better than a phone for reviewing a take)

- 3D anatomy app (whether you're working on massage therapy, posture, etc. -- nobody uses printed anatomy books anymore. Phone too small, laptop doesn't have touch)

- Playing video games (same games as on a phone, but so much better on the larger screen)

- Watching TV/movies while traveling (you can do it on a flight on a laptop, but it's hard in an airplane seat -- this is so much easier)

- Video calling (bigger view than phone, but more portable than my laptop)

- Doing light work in a coffee shop (writing, e-mailing, etc.) -- I pair it with the Bluetooth magic keyboard and do my work in Mail and Google Docs/Sheets -- it's way more lightweight than my laptop and just feels a bit more civilized than a big clunky laptop

It's honestly really surprised me how I can't imagine my life without my iPad Mini anymore. Turns out there really is a sweet spot between my phone and my laptop.

This is my story too. I am not in the Apple ecosystem (I use mostly Linux) and don't really buy tech gadgets (e.g. I use an old phone), but I got a cheap iPad for a long trip where I wanted a map with a long battery, expecting to not really use it much more than that. I have ended up using it a ton.

My activities are similar to the above, primarily consumption. I have been reading books on it despite having a kindle (I maintain my "no gadgets" position above -- it was a gift) because it is so convenient to be able to switch between a book and other iPad activities, like looking up something online.

I'll add that the screen is great, the battery lasts forever, and (as a programmer) I really appreciate the high software quality.

"Watching TV/movies while traveling (you can do it on a flight on a laptop, but it's hard in an airplane seat -- this is so much easier)"

I have a Macbook Air and even with that, doing anything on an airplane seat is a gigantic PITA. The iPad is a breeze. I wanted to upgrade to the 11 inch but now will upgrade to the 10.5. Definitely worth it, just for travel.

That's really not my experience. Since I always take notes when watching videos, I find being without my keyboard an absolute pain. I tried once to bring both my laptop and my tablet out on a short trip. I just used the tablet for an hour throughout the whole trip before I decided to just use the laptop for everything. It's much more productive, especially with window managers such as xmonad.

Also when I'm on my tablet browsing news etc., time flies by really quickly without me having got a lot of things done. IMO if you're using an electronic device, you should aim for maximum productivity. Otherwise it's easy to engage yourself in low-quality activities without paying much attention.

Similar story here. I won my first iPad in a office raffle. I was going to sell it since I figured I'd never use it, but my kids screamed bloody murder so I kept it and I found that I used it all the time, especially for reading documents and news.

Which 3D anatomy app do you recommend?

I use Complete Anatomy, free install/preview.

The full content is ~$45 downloadable, but if you sign up without buying, you'll eventually get some promos in your e-mail -- I wound up buying it all for $10 during a back-to-school discount.


Why iPad and not any other android based tablet? My goes, you get more useful apps on iPad? But android shouldn't be that far.... Anything else.

In my experience -- I've owned two -- the android tablets all have the same flaw. Beyond the super-cheap build quality, android can't conserve battery while sleeping. I can leave my now-4 y/o ipad in my backpack for a week and it will lose perhaps 10%. My androids would be dead. Hence I never use them.

Oh, and because no-one uses android tablets, no one makes good apps for them. eg the nice pdf readers -- I use GoodReader -- are all ios.

Other than Amazon Fire's which are uber-cheap with terrible specs and no access to Google Play Android tablets sadly aren't a thing anymore.

What do you use for pdf annotation and citation management? I really like hosting my own data with zotero+webdav, but there basically is no interface. On the flip side, Mendeley has a ton of features, and works+looks great, but hosting is paid.

Mendeley also encrypts your PDFs so that you can't access them with other software.

Depending on what you want for PDF Annotation, Readdle's PDF Expert (as close to full-fledged Acrobat as you're likely to get on the iPad) or the intriguingly weird LiquidText are good options.

https://pdfexpert.com/ios https://www.liquidtext.net

It's worth getting over LiquidText's initial weirdness. I downloaded it and then didn't use it for half a year, but when I gave it a go with some PDFs I was reading, I was hooked.

Grabbing parts of a book out into the workspace is easy, and then you can quickly review your workspace of highlights and notes later for a refresher. Also, viewing two places in a single PDF is as easy as tapping and holding on two highlights in the workspace.

Liquid Text is one of the cleverest apps I have ever used. And PDF Expert also rules

I don't think there is a single good app that handles both. Mendeley has its own issues aside from being paid, and the PDF viewer feels subpar compared to even Preview. I have zotero just push new files to a dropbox folder and that can be accessed everywhere.

if you’re using Zotero check out Papership which is a pretty good iPad client. I haven’t run into a missing feature yet.

Also would recommend, if you want paid hosting, pay for a Zotero account with extra storage (run an academic group at George Mason University, aka the good guys). Don’t give money to Mendeley which is owned by Elsevier (definitely the bad guys).

Out of curiosity, what do you use for PDF annotation?

Not the OP here. I’m an outlier, I’ve been using ‚Devon Think‘ for many years and have multiple Databases of PDF to read and markup and other content syncing between multiple devices.

Is devonthink a good option for storing, searching and organizing plaintext? I often make a note while pn computer and save it within a dropbox folder. I have no good way of accessing these quickly on ipad and have wondered if devonthink would solve it.

I used to be a Goodreader user but I like PDF Expert better now. I'd recommend anything Readdle puts out, frankly.

Not the OP, but on my recent trip, I used Apple Books.

The big advantage for me was that I could visit travel websites with lists of things to do, save website as PDF, made annotations of places I wanted to visit.

It synced seamlessly across all my devices along with annotations. I annotated on my iPad at the hotel, and traveled with my iPhone.

Notability is really nice for PDF annotation but not great for reading since it occasionally forgets your position in a book (although there is a bookmark feature). It’s very well optimized: I have over 500 notes in it, some over 1000 pages.

I use Goodreader (but I'm not the one you're asking). It works pretty well for me and syncs with a lot of services.

I know a few private charter pilots who are massively excited this morning. The iPad Mini is the only iOS device that is big enough to use at arms length, small enough to fit in a cramped cockpit, and approved by the FAA. They use a handful of apps during flight for planning, weather, approach data and whatnot. There has been a lot of fear among the local pilot community that the Mini would be discontinued. While the device might not be mainstream, for their admittedly specialized use-case, no other computer will do.

Yes, the use of iPads has had a huge impact on aviation. Fancy built-in devices that cost $25k-80k to implement in the cockpit can be replicated on an iPad, and the mini is the best fit. A lot of pilots were really bummed when it appeared that Apple had given up on the mini.

Of course, it can't be used as a primary instrument since it's not certified, but it's amazing paired with ForeFlight so you can see synthetic visualized terrain (you're stuck in clouds, and want to see where the ground is), you can see where other planes are in the airspace, their altitude and direction via ADSB-in, you can do flight planning on it and easily pull approach plates or pull up airport diagrams, it allows you to see the terrain profile of a planned trip much more easily than referencing the charts, and it can serve as a backup to your primary instruments if you have an electrical or vacuum failure in the plane.

Similarly, in the medical field, there have been some areas where the mini was a perfect fit for a doctor's pocket or certain devices, and they had a lot of custom apps and mounts so they could replace a lot of other types of devices.

Oh, hey, that reminds me. I also use mine with an external GPS (Dual XGPS) for charts while sailing and for topo maps with Gaia GPS when I need that kind of thing.

I'm 26 and the iPad Air and iPad mini do not appeal to me but I own an iPad Pro and I am enamored with it. I use the iPad Pro at my full-time job as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. I get a lot of mileage by taking notes on it in OneNote and preparing/reading documents from the other Office apps. I also use the iPad to listen to music with Spotify (my headphones have trouble connecting to my work PC). Outside of the office, I use the iPad as a second screen for my Windows Laptop with Duet (https://www.duetdisplay.com/), reading books, web browsing and more Spotify.

My major complaint with the device is the poor IDE support. I think I would love to be able to use it with Visual Studio Code as it is much easier to carry around than my laptop and I don't need the powerful laptop all that frequently. It has basically replaced all of the functionality of my laptop except for my development work.

Hope you find that helpful.

As a Surface Pro user it tickles me that Microsoft people are using iPads for the stuff the Surface was designed to excel at (no pun intended).

I really really considered getting a Surface Pro, but:

* no airdrop

* poor development environment vs mac's unix

* apple ecosystem (this one, I really hate)

So instead I bought an iPad pro. I wish Apple would make something more like the surface book 2.

If I got a tablet/laptop hybrid I wouldn't use it with Windows. Linux is a great development environment.

Ah true, didn't think about that.

Problems I can think about: I want to be able to switch easily to tablet mode or to draw, and it's probably better to stay on windows for that. I'm not sure how well linux is supported on the surface book as well?

It is true that pen support on Linux isn't perfect, but a friend of mine uses Xournal for his notes. Took a bit of configuring, but seems to work well.

It doesn't have any ink simulation and I'm not sure whether there are apps/drivers that support it.

I was very pleased to discover that Visual Studio Code has been ported to ARM64 Chromebooks, and runs just fine on my cheap little Samsung I bought a couple years ago. Along with the unix shell they've recently added to Chromebooks (without needing to go into developer mode), it's not a bad development platform for a lot of things.

Also, you can install Android apps, so if you have a stylus enabled machine, you can use good note taking apps like onenote or squid. Linux sadly still lacks a good handwritten annotation/note taking app (to my knowledge).

How much RAM is in that thing? 4 GiB? I hope you turned swap on...

2gb, I think. Might be 4. It runs fine, though. A text editor, even with lots of features, is less load than a browser session for a complex website. Likewise, local node.js servers aren't very expensive.

Visual Studio Code is a browser session for a complex website. I've had the OOM killer kick in on moderate C compilation loads -- well below what I subject my Linux daily driver to. I've even seen OOM when running Emacs for a long enough time on Termux on my cellphone.

In general, any long-running environment that can generate a lot of garbage presents a risk of triggering the OOM killer, especially when you have to share your development environment with effectively a whole 'nother OS. Enabling swap helps mitigate that risk.

> I use the iPad Pro at my full-time job as a Software Engineer at Microsoft.

This surprises me. I'm not an engineer, but the main pain point for me with the iPad Pro is the crappy UX of Google Drive. Is there a huge difference between the Google suite and the MS suite on the iPad? I'm legit looking for a PC laptop right now because I need something to work on emails and Drive-type work, at the coffeeshop, and my MacBook Pro is not enjoyable to type on.

Microsoft does a great job with its ios apps. Great ui, sync using other services like dropbox if you want, lots of updates, great apple pencil support, etc

Using office apps on ipad went a long way to turning around my opinion of microsoft.

Could self-host code-server[1], or use their commercial version.

[1] https://github.com/codercom/code-server/

for a software develop what is the material difference between a pro and and air? the higher refresh rate of the pro?

I got the Pro for two reasons: the screen-size (for use as a 2nd laptop monitor) and because the pencil was only supported by the Pro when I bought it.

I don't use the 2nd screen as much as I thought I would though and there is a good chance any of the other iPads (which are all smaller) would have been better for me. Hard to tell exactly what size has the max utility. Smaller isn't better necessarily because my iPhone can do pretty much all of the same stuff but is too small to be useful. A good heuristic might be "large enough that the keyboard is comfortable".

A12x vs A12. 120 refresh vs 60. Pencil gen 2 vs gen 1. More RAM in pro. Quad speakers in pro.

that's just listing off the specs page... what do those thing provide to a developer who may not be maximizing the pros potential?

I'm 33 years old, work in systems engineering. I use my tablet (ipad Pro 9") as an auxiliary device for pleasure and a little bit of work. It does the following, and does them well.

* Spotify player at home. Gets passed around to friends during a get together.

* Fancy annotator - I use the Apple Pencil to draw directly on pictures or even create from images scratch by sketching it out.

* Books - I have several epub purchases that live in Apple Books app. I can read those books on ipad while I'm on the go, or on Mac while at work.

* Netflix watcher while flights - I download some stuff before getting on a plane.

* Youtube by the kitchen - Great for watching cooking related videos while in kitchen.

* Look at photos directly on it, or cast the picture to Mac Mini(my HTPC).

* Notes - I use Apple Notes as my main note taking application on Mac. I rarely find need to handwrite something.. in English or in my native language. Quickly take the ipad out to do just that and continue seamlessly on my Mac.

I think the mileage of use of iPad depends on the user. I for one cannot stand development work, or even writing scripts on the thing. Yes, I have tried/played Pythonista and the bunch of apps in ios.

I am a ‘cloud’ engineer, and I find great use in pairing my iPad with an Apple Bluetooth keyboard, and then running shells in Terminus or Google Cloud Shell.

I wouldn’t code on it, but for running scripts and checking servers — I can travel without my laptop.

I think you may be biased by your career. I work in IT too and I don't have a tablet either, but most people not in our field that I know rarely use a laptop (even less a desktop) anymore. Some don't even own one. They do all their computing on tablets and phones.

There's a lot of market for kids too. Our 4yo has an ipad mini and our 12yo has an ipad pro. By the way, the 12yo loves to draw and the ipad pro + apple pencil is the first digital system she actually enjoys. She has a laptop too which she uses when she has to use specific software for school or do intensive writing, but otherwise most of her computing happens on the ipad.

Software dev here, use my new iPad Pro in work all the time.

I originally bought one for home use, so I would stop using my laptop to watch Netflix/YouTube/Prime and then get distracted by work (too easy to flick over to an IDE or GitHub when an idea would pop into my head when at home).

The iPad works really well for this but I now find myself using it in work too for almost the same reason. Rather than bringing my laptop to meetings and then getting distracted (same as watching Netflix at home) I now just bring the iPad to take notes or look up stats/analytics online(most of the platforms we use have pretty good iPad UI support).

It's been great at properly focusing on meetings, now if I have an idea on a problem I just write it in a note and get on with the meeting rather than finding myself jumping to VS code and trying to work.

Are you sure the most common computer isnt a business desktop? What percent of people with office jobs, who are not in IT, sit at a desk all day?

Personal computing is probably phone first, work computing I would guess is still desktop, followed by laptop.

I'm 28 (just outside your demographic) but I have an iPad Pro 12.9" as my main driver and a 27-inch iMac at home. I am a software engineer by trade but I don't have time to do that outside of work so that's not a concern. I carry the iPad with me throughout my house and use it for just about everything. I also take it with me to the high school classroom where I volunteer teach computer science. All of their assignments are online so it's super easy to access them via the iPad. Could I replace my iPad with a MacBook Pro? Sure. But the iPad is smaller, has touch, and does everything I need. Not sure if this was the answer you're looking for but I figured I'd chime in.

OT but have you found a good case for that model?

I bought the Apple Keyboard cover. Covers both front and back (and includes a keyboard obviously). I've never been a fan of cases or covers (my iPhone has been naked since I purchased it) so I'm probably not the most qualified person to ask about cases :).

My 12.9 is perfect for reading and annotating music sheets. Bought an used one mainly for that. The large screen size is close to a regular paper.

I have a ztotop one for the new 12.9. Works well, a bit heavy, maybe 50% more than the official one. But an 8th of the price, and otherwise works beautifully.

I’m 42. My first computer was a ZX Spectrum+ back in the 80s.

I bought the first iPad the day it came out because I’m a(n Apple) nerd. I loved it, because it was amazing. Then for a while I fell out of love with it, because I wasn’t sure what it was for.

Now I work from home and this thing (10.5” Pro, previous model) is like my pet dog. It follows me everywhere. It plays music via AirPlay, it plays podcasts from its speakers while I’m in the shower, I text on it, answer calls, do most of my casual internet, do most of my casual notes (Bear, with the Smart Keyboard), calendar ... everything.

I sometimes look at this device and really think that in many ways, here we are. The future. I have this impossibly slim, sturdy, beautiful tablet, whose battery life is extraordinary, which does everything I could possibly want. It’s a little bit Star Trek.

Now, for proper work, the MacBook Pro on the desk upstairs plugged in to the 27” monitor is the way to go. But I type this to you from my kitchen bench as I make my girl her morning coffee, and that’s just fantastic.

Every house I know with children has an iPad, either shared among the kids or one per kid if they can afford it. My spouse lives in hers... she has a Mac, but rarely uses it.

I'm a power user. I have a battered 17" Macbook Pro that's nearly 9 years old now. I use it for programming, photo editing (mostly Lightroom), and audio recording/mixing (I've produced about ten albums on that Mac). But now it's time to retire it, and...

I'm very seriously considering switching to an iPad Pro for a primary platform. I recently tried Lightroom on my old iPad Air 2, and it's in some ways better than Lightroom on a Mac, thanks to the touchscreen. I'm going to do a recording project in Auria and see if I can get good results with my usual record mixing workflow, and see what I can do about a terminal window and editor for programming. But an iPad is a very appealing alternative to dropping $2500-3000 on another Macbook, when I don't know if Apple is serious about maintaining the product or not. If I can do all the things that I "need" a Macbook for on an iPad these days... well.

I prefer sorting photos in LR on my iPad Pro 11" vs. my 2017 MBP. Editing is fine, but I have so much LR muscle memory for the keyboard shortcuts I feel like I'm moving too slow.

  I'm 24 years old, work in software. Neither I nor any of my friends uses a tablet for work or pleasure.
We use Ipads for pleasure. It's more pleasant to browse the net on the couch than sitting at a computer.

It's more pleasant to stand a laptop on my lap on the couch than to keep gripping a tablet. And almost all the tablet cases are terrible floppy messes (especially Apple's with their weak magnets and poor angle choices)

This is the main reason I don't "get" tablets. They're just more uncomfortable to use for me. You have to keep holding onto it and you get gorilla arm vs using a trackpad.

I can see that if you're constantly gripping the tablet. I sit with it similar to how I would with a book or a magazine; I'm not actively gripping it, and it allows more posture variations than a laptop for me.

Therein lies the difference. If I’m on my ass, I’m horizontal. I only lay on the couch. Never sit.

Keeping in mind that most people sit on their sofas I'd say there's market for tablets then :P

This is why Microsoft's Surface line is great. I have the Go and the stand is wonderful. Plus it transforms into a tiny laptop by snapping on the keyboard.

The problem with the surface is that it is not good at "use it for 10mim, switch it off, and reuse it 30min later" kind of use case. It either goes to sleep then takes a while to wake up, or doesn't go to sleep and sucks the battery. It doesn't have the instantly on and available behavior that smartphones and non windows tablets have.

restore from soft shutdown is pretty quick, restore from sleep is very quick. The problem is that both still drain battery pretty quick.

Agreed. I have tried using a tablet on the sofa but I just find it a poor experience. If I need to write something I either need a case with a shitty keyboard which basically makes it a crappy laptop in form factor or I have to lose half the content to the on-screen keyboard.

I currently use a MacBook (the 12" model) and it is close to perfect for casual sofa browsing. It has a decent enough keyboard, a perfect trackpad, good screen and while not a huge deal I still prefer macOS over iOS. Even when I use macOS in full screen model so it acts a lot like iOS I still find just having a mouse cursor much nicer to work with over a touch screen. I think this is mostly down to how awful the new oleophobic coating is on the new iPad's (Pro included). I can't stand seeing all those finger print smudges over the screen. Drives me up the wall!

I guess I am just too used to a laptop form factor and can't get past my own mental blocks?

Mental blocks aside there are still plenty of physical blocks with using a tablet. I can't imagine if iOS was my only OS, I'd feel pretty trapped and constrained compared to basically complete freedom on mac OS.

I never hold the tablet - a Kindle is the upper limit of what I'm willing to hold.

At home my (coverless) iPad always sits on a 3rd party stand, so I simply put the stand on my lap. And maybe have a coffee in hand. And maybe a plate with a toast.

I'm pushing 38 and an executive and iPads of various generations (which I have refreshed yearly) have been my main working/travelling machine right since the release of the very first versions. I still have a i7 MacBook, a specced-out quad-core 2012 MacMini (with dual CinemaDisplays) and a trashcan Mac Pro, but somehow the iPad (currently in it's 11” iPadPro incarnation) is always my favourite tool both because of its portability and because of its focus. You'd be amazed what I can do locally on this machine: construct, symbolically solve, and make predictions based thereupon mathematical models being one of the things that surprise people most. Writing and locally executing Python code. Storing versioned copies of business plans.

Counter point: I am also 24 but in academia. A lot of people in our age group (and professors) use tablets (especially with styluses, iPad Pro and Surface). I guess it is field dependent. It is a blessing for managing stacks of research papers and taking notes. I got the new iPad Pro and installed some latex and jupyter apps, and with a decent terminal app, I can start working on my iPad. YMMV ofcourse.

I'm 70 and have an iPad Gen 3 (2012), an iPad mini Gen 2 (2013), and an iPad Pro (late 2018 Gen 3) + Apple Pencil Gen 2. I'm pretty sure if I were under 25 I'd be just as stoked about them — though prolly unable to afford them.

I'm 25 and work in software and I have found it to be a decent (not amazing, but solid) daily driver given you're willing to put up with some annoyances.

I use the app Termius to allow me to SSH into a VPS and my home server and do development. I don't really do web development in my free time so I don't have to worry about the pains of not having a js console. I also develop almost exclusively in vim, so paired with the magic keyboard it's basically a very lightweight laptop.

It's great for Lightroom, with a dongle (everyone's favorite thing) you can connect your camera and upload RAW photos, then edit them with Lightroom and upload to your favorite site.

It's wonderful for Plex/Netflix/Hulu. Offline viewing is amazing, battery life is better than my laptop by far so it lasts long spurts where I can't charge it.

For creatives, there are some amazing digital art apps. My friend hypes up Procreate every time we talk about iPads (he's also 25/software and loves his iPad Pro).

And lastly, it's about $1k cheaper than buying a MacBook Pro (which I had previously). I was able to trade in my 2013 MBP and old iPhone and made the final cost about $300, which is much more palatable than the extra $1k or so I'd need for a machine that doesn't really need that much computing power.

Disclaimer: I do use a MacBook Pro for work (running VMs, development in vim) and it's definitely easier (has JS console, can do development without internet, can use IDEs that don't exist on iPad).

I'm wondering if the appeal of these begins when you get older?

I am 36, I had several iPads, but they always end up gathering dust in a closet. For work, I am several times more productive on a laptop, for occasional browsing, e-mail, etc. iPhones have become large enough. So, at some point I just sold my last iPad and never bought a new one.

My wife also has an iPad, but only uses it quite rarely. And when she does, she usually finds that she has to charge it ;).

Others have mentioned iPads as a kid's device. Our daughter (5) likes the iPad, and occasionally uses it to program her Micro:Bit. Other than that we've found that most iPad apps for kids aren't all that great, so we just prefer physical books, sketchbooks, paint, Lego, etc. She loves Lego and paper. She probably uses the iPad every month or so. She did get a Nintendo DS recently for playing games, though we do severely limit the amount of DS screen time though.

We are considering to buy her a NUC with Linux, just to tinker. My dad allowed me to poke his MS-DOS PC when I was about her age. I loved it and learned a lot. Since she likes her Micro:Bit a lot, I think she'd do well on some non-walled garden machine. No pressure though, we'll just put it there and see if she is interested or not.

I got a bonus roughly twice the cost of the iPad 2 64GB when it first came out, so I used half of it to buy it on a whim, no use case in mind at the time.

It's now my primary personal computing device. My day job has me in front of a desktop with keyboard all day. I have little to no desire to do things resembling work when I leave the office. My iPhone SE is too small to use for extended periods (but I won't get a bigger one as I want to be able to use it one-handed and hands wont oblige), so the iPad (now an iPad Pro) gets all my outside-the-office attention.

Reading, planning holidays & booking flights, budgeting, Netflix, whatever.

What do you use to budget?

I'm 37. I use my iPad at home for when I want to watch videos or look something up on the internet, but I don't want to get out my work laptop. I try to limit my laptop usage at home to actual work (or things that are work-like, such as managing personal finances). So my iPad is for casual browsing and news reading. I also have an iPhone, and which one I reach for at home depends on my whim.

I'm 40 and I have been using a tablet for maybe 6/7 years (iPad and Android, for my uses they are mostly interchangeable), after buying an iPad almost as afterthought and ignoring it for the best part of six months. Now I cannot imagine doing without.

For me it is mostly useless as a productive device (at best I use it to review some technical document on a plane or for minimal SSH work), but it's the best media consumption device I can imagine.

For web browsing and Netflix/Youtube/Twitch/Spotify client it has replaced my computer, and in many cases my TV.

Portability is the key, being able to carry it everywhere (bed, train, plane, kitchen, bathroom...) with minimal weight overhead, but still provide a decent screen real estate (unlike a phone) is priceless.

Have kids and you’ll suddenly understand what all the fuss is about. That said, if our kid had to pick between an iPad and an iPhone he tends to prefer the iPhone (we just don’t give him one!)

I personally have started using a surface for non-coding work and enjoy it for taking notes. It’s worth a try for that use case.

I have seen in-laws around your age using iPads extensively as their main device. I suspect if they were inputting more they'd get tired of not having a keyboard but it's mostly consumption, banking and such. I think a lot of people with an iPad and Apple Pencil would be very happy. It's just a different level of tech integration into their life than a videographer, writer, artist or developer.

I can fast forward you a bit over a decade. As a techie that is old enough to have grown with the industry from the very beginning, no tablets here except an older Nook. E-ink will remain the best for reading.

I do think there's benefit to the 2-in-1 form factor. Samsung is on the top the heap here. The 2019 Samsung 9 Pen[0] is the best of every world, it just hit the US market yesterday. The S Pen used in their 2-in-1 is as good as it gets today, being Wacom EMR based.

While I wouldn't bother with an iPad, I think there's a lot of value and use in this form factor for work. The Samsung Pen devices are the main thing that pulled me away from a Macbook.


One use case I haven't seen mentioned is note-taking. Apple Pencil is a truly amazing device. I use it at work all the time, especially in meetings. It's quieter than typing and because I don't have my laptop open, I'm much less likely to get distracted by slack, email, HN, etc. It's also slower typing, but that may be a good thing because it forces me to mentally organize/consolidate whatever I'm writing.

They are great for playing digital board games: Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Agricola, Colt Express, Patchwork, Twilight Struggle, Pandemic, Splendor, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, etc.

Though there is also something to be said for the eye sight factor. I'm in my mid-40s and my focusing just doesn't work as well as it used to. Its becoming increasingly difficult to do a lot of reading on a small screen like my iphone 8+.

1) they're great for certain kinds of graphic art.

2) they're great for various sorts of low-end creative work, like making films (think: for kids or adults to learn the basics of shooting and editing on a single device capable of making something half-decent, not pro-level)

3) Good as a writing terminal, given an external keyboard. Better than a laptop in a lot of ways.

4) The 12.9" pro's the best device I've seen for reading comics, by far.

5) iPads are easily the best devices I've seen for reading PDFs (lots of non-fiction books and papers)

6) in a lot of important ways, they Just Work, unlike most other computing devices. More so than macOS machines, even, by a good margin.

7) it's where edutainment and casual science software's at now. Want software for some not-super-serious stargazing? You'll want an iPad. Edutainment programs for kids (like the Math Blasters and Number Munchers and Microsoft Dinosaurs! of yore) are mostly on iPads. Swift playground, for that matter.

8) can be positioned to take up a lot less space on a desk than a laptop while in use—nice when you need that desk space for other things, like books or notebooks.

9) portable second monitor for your macbook.

I bought iPad 3 in 2013 (I was 25). I liked it a lot and spent almost all entertainment time with it: web, movies, books, games. I even used it for work a little bit (to present design to customer). Unfortunately with iOS 7 release it turned to potato and I never used it since then, except for occasional PDF reading (I'm reading epub from phone, but for PDF big screen is a must). I waited for that announcement and I expected them to update cheap iPad. I would buy it. But I'm not sure about that iPad Air, it costs too much and I probably won't buy it.

Actually funny thing is, it's iPad that led me to Apple ecosystem. I liked iOS a lot and then my old phone broke, so I had to buy new. When I realized, that I can buy iPhone 4S and have the same iOS that I'm using on iPad, it was almost a non-brainer and later I bought Macbook, because it felt pretty natural to keep using Apple product and I wanted to develop iOS apps. I shifted from macOS recently (Apple does not make any computers I would like to buy), but I'm still using iOS on my phone and I like it.

I'm 35 and this is what I use mine for:

- Blink Shell and Mosh to do light coding in vim, remote scanning etc on my desktop at home while I'm away from home

- Effects processor in my music production/dj setup

- Paint/sketch in procreate

- Reading books

- Watching movies/series while traveling

- Control my Sonos setup

- Browsing the web obviously

So to answer your question; no it doesn't. The iPad product line is probably not for people coding during the day and playing fortnite at night.

I'm pretty much double 24... my usual work machine is a big Ubuntu box I built, with 2 big monitors. I'm stuck working on my MacBookAir for some time and it just sucks. Not because the MacBook sucks, but it just sucks working on a single small monitor, and the machine itself is slower at everything. Working on any laptop is just a big step down from a real machine for me. I can't even imagine working on an iPad, though for what I do (devops) it would be impossible (I assume)

I have no idea what the appeal is, there's none at all for me, but there must be a decent sized market out there. It's interesting to read the other comments and see what the appeal is for them

>I have no idea what the appeal is, there's none at all for me, but there must be a decent sized market out there. It's interesting to read the other comments and see what the appeal is for them

Here's what the appeal is for me:

1) A device I can use at the bed/crapper comfortably -- to read, check email, browse, etc.

2) I'm a hobby artist (from the Amiga days) and I love the digital painting apps and Apple pencil.

3) It's my main reading device. I have tons of physical books (several thousands), but its now cheaper and more convenient to read PDFs, ePub, etc books. I use Apple's Books and the iOS Kindle app.

4) Photography. It's great for sharing with friends nearby, casual edits on the road, having your portfolio in an easy to show, glorious screen.

5) Music apps. If somebody does guitar, piano, or electronic music, there are tons of apps, from amp modellers to complete DAWs, and tons of "VSTs" (AUs in our case).

6) Great for note-taking, drawing diagrams and so on.

7) Handy to watch a video in something less to carry around than a laptop and bigger screen than a phone.

8) Not bad for games too if you're not an AAA gamer.

9) For writing articles, book, etc, it's also good -- non distracting, lots of great editors (even Scrivener), and so on.

> It's interesting to read the other comments and see what the appeal is for them

Same here. I've owned iPads since the very first one for work (app dev), but the closest I've gotten to enjoying using them is watching movies on airplanes. I'm always interested in seeing what other people put them to use for.

My theory has been that iPads appeal to "full-screeners".

I've been a Mac user since 1990 and the Classic MacOS was optimized to "right-size" your windows to your content so you could have lots of windows next to each other for UI affordances like drag and drop. Classic versions of Photoshop had palette windows that hid in the background, even early OS X used "inspector" palettes heavily. Until very recently, MacOS didn't even have a full-screen control. So I've always filled my screens with windows of stuff I'm working on, stuff I'm monitoring, chats, etc. I guess I thrive on info-ADD? If I use an iPad I feel claustrophobic. Made 10x worse by the lack of multitasking (no persistent background network connections, apps continually killed for RAM usage).

In contrast, Windows started out as a full-screen, split-pane OS, and Windows apps have always relied on the "MDI" UI with a containing window, optimally used at full-screen. So most users grew up with that. I see people buy those super-wide LG displays and then full-screen a Chrome browser and complain that their lines of text aren't 2 meters wide.

And kids these days grow up with full-screen mobile UIs.

So if you grew up with everything being full screen, an iPad feel familiar and useful. If you're used to being able to monitor a bunch of windows at once, the iPad will feel like a toy.

I can't work on a laptop at all. My work machine is a MBP i7 w/ 32gb ram. I plug it into a thunderbolt dock tied to 2 28" ultrawides that is also chained to my desktop (8 core, 32gb ryzen box) and I just flip over to the MBP when I need to work.

Docks are obscenely expensive but the quality of life improvement is high. You're unfortunately very limited with the MBA, though. Perhaps see if you can replace it with a MBP?

I DO like having my "work" machine be a powerful laptop in the event that I need to travel or some emergency arises where I HAVE to find a coffee shop and write a PR without monitors, as much as I won't enjoy the experience.

Both you and blakesterz sound like me. Like blakesterz I have a high end desktop with lowend laptop. I would have bought the new Macbook Air but wanted a 2-in-1 and went with a Samsung because of the quality of the S Pen being unmatched. I've loved it and upgrading to the 2019 Samsung 9 Pen very soon. With the 13.3" it's just really handy to take notes or use it as a tablet if it's more comfortable. My 2nd choice was definitely the MBA. Are you suggesting that there are limitations with a dock on a MBA vs MBP (outside of just performance)? I'm unaware of any issues there but would be interested to know.

My desktop is a Ryzen 2700X with 32GB of RAM. I really would like to pickup a TB3 dock at a point but am currently using RDP to my work laptop. Which works well enough over the local network.

What I wanted to respond to was your point about having your work machine be a powerful laptop so that you're prepared. I've been mulling over ditching the desktop for a Thinkpad X1 Extreme for the same reason. While I could remote into my desktop in a rare coffee shop scenario, it wouldn't work out if it were happening often.

My hesitation about the MBA was I believe it's limited on how many monitors you can run but tbh I haven't looked at them in a few years. I deal with a lot of container work so I need 32gb ram so it's not really an option. Also I think throwing a dock in the mix gets around that problem anyway since the expensive ($200+) docks I'm talking about typically handle video on their own somehow.

So, basically I'm spitballing and have no real answers to your questions, sorry. Just wanted to reply and tell you I'm probably wrong about there being MBA + dock issues.

Thank you. I was wondering because I had a 2016 MBP and it did not play well with docks at all back then. On any level, due to 'Apple', not just with the monitors. I want to believe they've sorted out most issues now but have been wondering. I did find IGPs struggle with configuration like my triple monitor setup. I definitely wouldn't buy a MBA to dock it as a main machine. Maybe keep a dock there for lightweight tasks that benefit from the extra real estate.

I used a Dell dock for years alongside my desktop, using 2 monitors to my laptop and 1 for my desktop. I'd like to get a TB3 dock and do that just as you are. And while unlikely at this point, given how much I like my Samsung, I may eventually have a Macbook Air. Which is not the best device but definitely a top tier throwaway easy-chair machine if not a little limited for the money, not having a 360 degree hinge.

I was excited to buy a nearly fully loaded mac mini a few weeks ago and an e-gpu so that I could get rid of my "gaming (honestly mostly youtube)" desktop and just dual boot windows when needed. I figured it'd be the perfect middle ground where if I wanted to game (2-3 times a month) I'd just boot to Windows. (I've quit hackintoshing after a decade, they're just a pain to keep functioning reliably).

Unfortunately there's tons of issues with egpus in Bootcamp installed Windows. I didn't realize it'd be so drastically different from a vanilla install.

I loved my old Samsung S9 laptop. That thing cost a small fortune but it was so powerful for its size.

>Not because the MacBook sucks, but it just sucks working on a single small monitor

Not that this is totally up to taste. Some people love working on a single smaller monitor, with only a full screen editor or some terminals. More focus.

(I used to love it too, but I can't stand the modern MBPr keyboards, so I connect it to an external keyboard and monitor now. Note that I love the external "Magic keyboard 2", it's just the built-in laptop keyboard "butterfly" that I find crap).

> ...any laptop is just a big step down from a real machine...

A friend (age ~30) works on very large-scale climate model comparisons. He directs his model runs (done on a remote supercomputer, which is his version of a "real machine") from his 13" Air. I work with smaller datasets, and it's kind of amazing what power he can command from that little thing.

He uses a dock to make visualizations on a larger monitor when at his desk.

My girlfriend uses her two ipads (mini I got her a few years ago and a pro 12.9 I got her more recently) mostly for reading books. The libraries she has memberships with offer online book borrowing, so she'll open up the app and just start reading things on her book list.

Otherwise most of her consumption is either watching videos on a larger screen that's easier to carry than a laptop, or drawing on the pro which is honestly pretty fun to do.

I've been meaning to pick up an ipad or a surface in the next year or so just for doodling / mock up functionality as well. reading ebooks on a tablet or leaving documentation open on them while working on a laptop is honestly kinda nice.

Useless old man here.

I keep wondering when Apple is going to simply drop their traditional laptop and desktop business in favor of things like this. It's not a great leap of imagination to think of a desktop version of an iPad ala a Chromeboxesque approach.

With the 12-inch Macbook and 13" Macbook Air already clogging up the portfolio, I can see them dropping the MBP 13 and keeping just a single large MBP 15 model for the professional market.

iOS is nowhere near good enough for Apple to consider scaling back their x86 line too much further. Hardware wise the iPad Pro is really nice, but it doesn't even have mouse support! Android has had that since 2011 at least, but it doesn't have the same ecosystem of good quality work apps.

iOS doesn't have mouse support because Apple doesn't want it to, not because it's "not good enough".

It does make them a lot more money, even though a significant amount of their most enthusiastic (and evangelical) userbase is the “pro” market.

Talk to a designer of any kind. They’re hooked on iPad.

All the designers at our company have personal iPads that they use for various things including illustration, taking notes, sketching concepts, wire framing, etc.

I’m not a designer but I’m a hobbyist photographer and I love using my iPad for editing photos in Lightroom, reading, consuming media, etc. I can’t wait until Adobe fills out their creative suite on iPad. They announced that a fully featured Photoshop will come to iPad in 2019 - we’ll see.

I wrote this comment on an iPad, in fact. I do use the keyboard cover though so don’t get the impression that I wrote this on the on-screen software keyboard. That’d be tough.

I primarily read books through Kindle and O'Reilly (Safari Books Online). I went through a couple different kindle devices. E-Paper type devices are good for prose, but not really that great for any books with graphical content and don't work at all with web content.

I tried using a Kindle Fire, but the pixel density on all those devices is terrible. I had an older Fire HD for a moment which was decent at 254ppi, but it bricked itself during an upgrade. Amazon offered me a discount on a "newer" unit with 189ppi. I gave up and got an iPad mini with a 326ppi display.

I mostly use it for reading books on public transportation.

I'm a bit older than you, work in software dev and data science, main platform Linux. I'm the sort of person who has a few command-line windows and vim open, and am a keyboard fiend.


I use my iPad a ton at home and when I travel (I travel a lot). I don't even own a personal laptop anymore -- I work on desktops with 3 monitors and at home.

I used to think that the iPad being purely a consumption device was too limiting, until I got an iPad Air 2 that was on sale at the time. It does everything I need just fine, plus it's lightweight enough to travel with.

(caveat: I don't do any dev work when I'm on the road)

I gave one to my mother and father to use to manage their email and surfing the web while at home and RV traveling; many parks of wi-fi and there is always McD. They are just the right size to easily portable and big enough with pinch/zoom to make easy reading for even poor eyes.

the logic was it kept them from being stuck in the room with their computers. even laptops seem to find permanent homes but not a tablet. my father even figured out to use his cell phone as a wi-fi hotspot.

I stopped using a laptop a while ago. For me, when I need to do complicated work I sit down at a desk with my 30” monitor and clacky keyboard. But on the go and for day-to-day tasks all I need is my 12.9” iPad Pro which, as a bonus, is s much better entertainment machine (reading comics and magazines, video, games) than my laptop ever was. I’m a lawyer fyi, so no I'm not writing apps on the thing or doing fancy multimedia workflows.

Perhaps a person's interests, income, or lifestyle are salient variables as well? I would guess that each person's circle of friends has some of these in common in addition to age (likely true for HN discussions as well). For a less biased picture, here are some statistics about tablet use by age:


and for a baseline, iPhone use by age:


It's striking how uniform the distribution of tablet use was across age! There was a bump after age 25, though that was mirrored in the iPhone usage. This is really salient at the low and high end: age 0-18 was 20% of tablet usage and only 6% of iPhone usage, and age 55+ was 20% of tablet usage and only 14% of iPhone usage. Given all of this, it seems like tablets are quite broadly adopted devices

Tablets are useful for commuters. If you're on a train you can read ebooks. Comics publishers now have tons of stuff you can read too. You can also watch Netflix and similar services that let you download content. This takes the edge off repetitive train journeys.

At work I've seen business analysts use it as a light weight laptop replacement to take notes (with the addition of the keyboard) and with the Apple Pencil to draw basic diagrams while on the go.

Photographers also use them to show off portfolios and do image editing editing on the go. You can get Lightroom and Photoshop for the iPad and other software vendors offer competing products to edit images on the go.

Also don't forget kids. For long car journeys, a tablet loaded up with a mix of shows and appropriate (often educational) apps can help them stop asking the dreaded "Are we nearly there yet?!"

I have an ipad Pro which I use for work (diagrams, mind mapping, documentation, Skype calls, jira notifications etc) and fun (YouTube, games, audio books). I could definitely live without it but it makes the above mentioned activities much easier and enjoyable... I'm mid 30s

I'm 27, a software engineer and I've only recently bought an iPad with Apple pencil support because I wanted to try out Procreate in my spare time. I use my iPad for:

- drawing and lettering in Procreate (this is what I do most of the time, I've been practicing lettering on paper before and this is just so much more convenient)

- writing notes in Notes app (that way I can see them on my iPhone) or OneNote

- browsing Pinterest (the app works better than the web app I use on Safari in macOS)

- YouTube (much more convenient to carry around home than my MacBook Pro)

I don't use iPad for messaging, because I mostly use my iPhone and MacBook for that. I decided I don't need a keyboard for the iPad ATM, but maybe that'll change in the future.

Watching downloaded video on an iPad has made cross-country plane trips nearly tolerable.

The iPad mini is extremely popular among pilots. The iPad Pro is too big for the general aviation (and even commercial aviation) in my opinion, and iPad non pros so far does not have enough oomph to run ForeFlight.

Source: I am a pilot.

I use an imac for stationary work, and an ipad pro for everything else. I have nomuse for a laptop while travelling now.

It helps that I have to make educational videos, so I have a clear use case for the pro with the pencil. Can plug a focusrite audiobox in too, and power it from the usb c port.

Originally got an ipad as I used it for online tutoring with a whiteboard and a stylus, pre-pencil days.

Oddly enough I do a lot of email and text work on my imac. The ipad pros browser has a lot of subtle limitations compared to the desktop version.

I'm 34 years old.

I have one of the new 11" iPad Pro's that I use as a consumption device and it also replaced the Moleskine I kept in my laptop bag for notes/diagrams/whatever.

I’m in my early 30s and bought an iPad last year to give digital art a try. I ended up falling in love with it and regularly use it to draw. I also now draw all my graphics for my indie game development with it. I primarily use Pixaki and Procreate. It certainly beats using a mouse to draw or even any other drawing pad I’ve used previously. It’s also, imo, a far smoother/natural experience than a Wacom.

I was then very surprised by the long battery life and now also use it to watch Netflix.

I think you’re right. I have one but never use it. My dad, however, in his 70s, loves his. He still has a laptop but rarely ever uses it now. The iPad is basically his computer.

Movies and TV. Cut the cable bill a decade ago. Got rid of the giant, heavy, expensive, fear-mongering TV. Now watch a small screen with a mount that is much closer.

Ain't under 25, but I was skeptical about tablets until I found two critical use cases. 1) browsing the web from my bathtub 2) watching movies in long trips.

Honest question: are they waterproof these days? I used to have a waterproof "case" (a glorified plastic bag) for my kindle for the tub but that only worked because it had buttons. How can you use a touchscreen it with wet hands? And what if you drop it, that's $400 down the plug hole.

I have done that for years and never dropped an ipad. But there is a secret: pick a hard ipad cover that only folds at the edge of the ipad, like a book. Then you can stick your finger between the cover and the ipad and hold it like that:



This way, you can hold it with one hand, you don't need to apply pressure to hold the ipad, it is not tiring on your hands, and it is extremely stable. The cover I use I believe is this one:


Otherwise the ipad is splash proof, but I wouldn't bet on it being waterproof. And wet hands aren't too much of a problem from a touch point of view, but they leave drops that obstruct the display so you kind of want to have a towel around somewhere.

Ah OK makes sense. Thanks for that tip, much appreciated. I guess I never actually dropped the kindle either, although it did mysteriously stop working.

I'm 26 and since I purchased a Surface Book, my iPad has been gathering dust. The convenience of having both available in one package has been great.

What do you use to read books on? For me, the iPad, for either Kindle books or general PDFs, was a game-changer for me.

I also use it for watching lots of movies or TV shows.

It is probably more connected to career choice and technical background of the person, then the age.

I am pretty sure that most of people can use it as domestic media consumption device (it really is perfect use case), however when it comes to work, people I meet in my business use it for it’s compact size and battery life (great for travels and portability in general), as well presentation-wise possibilities.

iPad is a perfect device for my mum who doesn't know how to use computer. I would never buy any other device because of UI/UX. She uses it for browsing so there is no real need to upgrade as I keep her on old iOS due to familiarity and battery life (those who upgrade know the battery life is best when iOS isn't updated)

I agree with you that upgrading usually means worse battery life, but iOS 12 was an exception to this I believe.

I've used an iPad since 2012 give or take, when I was under 25. I don't see what it has to do with age, for me it is a use case.

When I move from my laptop to either toilet, cooking or the bed I simply bring it with me to consume some youtube. It's bigger than a phone, but more mobile than a laptop.

The iPad itself is just too limited to be usable, in my experience. But the tablet form factor can work reasonably well for not-too-intensive activity (i.e. it's no good if you'll be doing a lot of data/text/code entry, of course), and the mainstream Linux desktop is starting to support it quite nicely.

I live in Denmark and am above 40. i don’t think I’ve met anyone here with children that doesn’t have one or more ipads. I also don’t think ipad less developers are very common at any age. At my former company even our android developer had one. Of course Scanidnavia is iOS country, almost eveyone has an iPhone.

>Neither I nor any of my friends uses a tablet for work or pleasure.

I use one, but only because it's a convenient media consumption device (e-reading, web browsing). It's entirely superlative to a phone + laptop though.

Remember when the tech prognosticators (some on this very site!) told us tablets were going to replace everything?

I used my iPad Mini quite a lot for browsing and reading, but since I got a dedicated eReader it's mostly been collecting dust.

I think if I had a bigger iPad it might find some use, but I can't really justify the cost for the minimal benefit over simply using my laptop instead (even as someone with a decent income).

Do you own a tablet?

I didn't really see the need for one, until I bought one on a whim.

It's my main multimedia consumption device.

I have the current iPad and an iPad Mini.

I use the mini far more, I like the bigger iPad but the mini is the perfect form factor for watching TV in bed and reading PDF's.

Will definitely be picking up the new Mini and the old one which is in perfect condition will go to the boy.

He loves his (1st gen) iPad but it's finally on the way out.

I'm 30 but I only use mine to read comics.

Doesnt' help that I stupidly bought the 16GB version, crippling it.

My stepmother uses one to browse Facebook. It's the only time I've ever seen an adult use one.

The other case I've seen, and a lot: children. Parents seem to give them to their kids to mollify them. (I had this choice and did not give into the temptation.)

Reading, they're great for reading. If you read technical content, especially, where Kindles and other e-readers are either too small or don't provide the color you'd want for seeing some diagrams and other content.

I think you might be right - I know quite a few people in their 70s who love the mini. They were quite upset 6 months ago when I was telling them it looked like it was going to be discontinued. I guess all those predictions of its death were wrong!

I think most people progress past tablets to things like Surface Pros and Chromebooks naturally. The tablet market is dying because it's just not useful in a world where Chromebooks & Surface form factor PCs can run Android apps.

Apple sells mpre ipads annually than surface pros and chromebooka put together.

About 43 million ipads in 2018: https://www.lifewire.com/how-many-ipads-sold-1994296

Chromebook is estimated to be under 11 million: https://www.computerworld.com/article/2476098/huge-chromeboo...

I couldn’t find 2018 unit estimates for the surfsce, but in 2017 the estimate was about 3 million: https://www.pcworld.com/article/3254235/microsofts-surface-p...

Surface revenue in 2018 was about 5 billion. Apple’s ipad revenue was a bit under 20 billion. And these surface numbers are for everything in the surface line, not just pros.

A more likely explanation for lower ipad sales is that they last a long time. My ipad air 2 from 2014 still runs beautifully and gets security and software updates. But in any case ipad sales dwarf the surface and and chromebook sales combined.

They’re great for travel. That’s about it. The rest of the time I’d rather use a laptop

It's also good for reading. I'd rather have my iPad than my laptop when I'm reading books and taking notes (some notes, if I were in school I'd still want my laptop for that tempo of note taking). I use it a lot at home and the only media that I play is music (with headphones) and then read a lot of books and such with it. Scrivener is pretty good on it for writing, but I don't have a keyboard for it anymore (my wireless keyboard got damaged in a move somehow, still not sure what happened). It's also nicer for tossing in my shoulder bag with a physical book and notebook than dragging around a laptop.

Do you have a large smart phone?

I like small phones. So I own a tablet for all the personal stuff at home. I use my PC for work, my Phone for messaging and travel and my tablet for everything else. It’s really the most comfortable way of consuming.

If you use your phone a lot at home, you'll probably appreciate using a tablet instead.

If you use your laptop a lot at home but don't really need to type that much, you'll probably appreciate a tablet.

Otherwise, it's probably not for you.

My iPad is mostly used as a remote for my Chromecast. Sometimes I'll take it traveling and load it with videos, but I haven't done that as much now that you have to take them out of your bag during the security check.

Off-topic, but look into getting TSA PreCheck. You don't have to take devices out at airports (among other nice things like shorter lines, etc). It definitely helps a lot, especially when you have kids with devices.

You probably overstated your case by saying that only people over 50 are interested in them (though my parents have one each), but the number of people in their 30s saying they have one on this thread is interesting for sure.

They seem to be popular with wealthy university students for taking notes in class.

I've an 8in Fire HD with just three apps that I use: Chrome, VLC, and DS File. <$100. My friend has 10in and uses for same - videos.

Super light-weight. Price of a trip to grocery store. Why wouldn't you have a tablet on hand?

I had iPads 1 trough 3, and they were awesome comic-reading devices. Then amazon bought Comixology and buying comics became too much of a hassle and I stop using my iPad altogether.

Do you do any reading? I use my tablets most of all to read papers.

they’re reasonably common in universities nowadays for handwritten note taking. i’d expect to see at least one person other than me who has one in any reasonably sized class.

They're great as a digital babysitter. Sometimes you just need your kid to sit quietly, and they're a total lifesaver for something like long flights.

My kid is 6 years old and all he uses is an iPad. I think the next generation will be using iPads and tablets and think using laptops are for old people.

>I think the next generation will be using iPads and tablets and think using laptops are for old people.

I bet they'll replace that tablet with a phone, and continue to use a laptop/desktop for "real work".

"What's a computer?"—classic iPad commercial

I use the iPad pro to read whitepapers (because it's bad for multi-tasking, I can focus on reading) and draw (the pen is freaking amazing).

I have an iPad for reading. It works better with PDFs than Kindles since it's larger, and the pencil is great for highlighting and taking notes.

The number of students that simply download slides and take notes directly on their iPads with their Apple Pencils is astonishing these days...

I'm 39. Started using Ipad since 2011. I use it for pleasure, cooking recipes, youtube videos, twitter, and games.

I'm older (by nearly double), and I see releases like this and I think, hmmm... do I need a tablet. I could... nope, nothing[0]. I can think of a single use case where I need a tablet. For any other use case, I either have laptop, phone, or even just a sheet of paper.

[0] Ok, there's one use. Media consumption, but a $35 kindle tablet takes care of that for the rare (ie: airplane) times I want media on the go.

I agree, but only because of the names: they all use the "iPad nano", i.e. iPhone.

nothing beats an ipad for media consumption - best combination of grippability,speakers and screen bar none. literally no one else is close in the market.

i stopped using anything but an ipad for media consumption/talking to family after i bought one

How is a laptop any worse? You gotta hold the tablet upright or prop it up with a flimsy case-stand whereas the laptop just sits upright and has all the features and more, unless you like to jab at the screen with your greasy thumb. Back in the day when laptops were 7lbs and lasted 2hr on charge with a sub 1080p screen and worse speakers than your phone, I could see it, but macbooks are 2lbs now and last 10hrs. No streaming service is going to give you video that's not compressed, wiping the benefits of that fancy screen, and apple wants the soul of your first born if you want enough local storage to store large video files.

I will be downvoted to hell but I'll say this- tablets for fun were a fad that most people don't repeat twice (except the tech crazy/HN type crowd). Some people still use tablets for work (something the iLine of devices is horribly deficient at) and surface works well- I think you can install linux too.

I think they have enough use cases that they'll continue to sell, but I think the market is pretty much saturated at this point.

If you were in the healthcare industry your experience would be different

have kids, with some kid-proof rubber armor that doubles as a stand it's the single best portable video player in existence.

It is so weird that the iPad Air and iPad mini only support the old Apple Pencil. The iPad mini was my favorite incarnation of the iPad line when it came out, and I was considering getting one again, but I have no interest in needing two different kinds of iPad pencil.

Apple keeps creating and extending these arbitrary transition periods. The old Apple Pencil should be in the past. Instead we have an entire other generation with it now. This sucks for developers too who have to continue designing for old technology. Same with lightning ports. Now every iPad accessory needs a USB-C version and lightning port version.

This is a supply chain optimization and also the reason they can keep the costs low for these products. Cost is important here and the whole reason this product line exists. It’s a mirror of their iPhone strategy where they sell last years model for cheaper.

They’re using old components and designs where they think it makes sense, but are being uncompromising about the compute power (e.g. A12 Bionic, AR capabilities).

It means they can give lower-end customer what they want, without compromising the software capabilities of the devices or ultimately the margins of their business.

It makes sense as a strategy and obviously comes with trade offs which it seems like they’re willing to make. I mean, the old pencil isn’t THAT old. The new iPad Pros and new Pencil were announced only months ago.

Edit: inlining the comment here instead since this turned into a conversation

These products just feel like “component pipeline optimization” instead of working backwards from customer needs. There should be 3 iPads, all with the same form factor, same connectors (can’t believe I even have to specify this): small medium large, and they should be called iPad mini, iPad, and iPad Pro. The iPad should serve the vast majority of the market. The pro should really feel like it’s for Pros. The mini should feel like it cannot be beat on a hike taking nature photos. Stories based on use, not price. The way I imagine them talking about iPad uses cases instead is: “imagine you want to buy an iPad, but you only have $399. Boom: iPad mini, the perfect fit!”

I welcome your take! And thanks for adding it here so people can contrast them.

One thing I think it’s important to remember is that Apple today isn’t the same small, quirky company it was in 2007 when the iPhone came out.

It’s now one of the largest companies on the planet with a global customer base of over a billion people in hundreds of countries. They need to run a different strategy and they need to have more product choice at different price points. I think they’re navigating it the best they can - and obviously no business is without mistakes. They will make mistakes (iPhone 5C) and that’s OK.

However, trying to pattern match Apple’s decisions from the 90s and comparing them to decisions today is just poor thinking imo. That’s what people in this thread (not you @tolmasky, I’m just on a tangent now) seem to be trying to do. The Ballmer comparisons are poor as well, imo.

I certainly agree that a larger company requires different decisions, but I think that they fail to even state their case correctly. Perhaps they have a reached a size where a hyper-simplified product line would be leaving an unacceptable amount of money on the table as they successfully saturate their normal customer base. Even in that world, it doesn't mean that the product line has to be so fundamentally confusing and lacking in narrative. These same products could be pitched similar to how I said in my comment: tell me why I want these aside from their price differentiation. Don't make me feel that I'm fundamentally choosing an iPad over an iPad Pro because the better chip doesn't fit in my budget. An iPad comparison matrix shouldn't be necessary with proper story telling: https://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/. That page is right out of the Dell playbook of comparing 17 different monitors that have obscure and highly technical differences.

But, going back to the stories affecting the product design, I feel that increasingly Apple products rely on incidental and manufactured differentiation vs. essential differentiation. I can tell that they have refrained from putting the better chip into a certain model (since that better chip fits into an iPhone just fine), instead of the very nature of that model of course not allowing that sort of chip. I know this is harder, but fundamentally what I'm saying is "take the low end seriously". Like I mentioned in my other comment, if the "iPad mini" was more like an "iPad Active", and perhaps was more resistant to wear and tear (could survive being dropped if you're skateboarding for example), then all of a sudden the model takes on a personality. It is less powered, but more rugged, there is a tradeoff that feels earned. Instead, the tradeoff feels entirely driven by budget windows.

I think I agree with you on both points. More-so the former point than the latter.

On the former, I do think they’ve lost the product/customer narrative in the last couple years and I think it’ll take another WWDC and another iOS update for them to find their way. They’re just now re-focusing on both iPad hardware AND software. For a few years (mid 2010s?) they doled out a few hardware updates that moved the needle moderately but the software didn’t (and you can argue still doesn’t to the fullest extent) take advantage of iPad to provide the functionality leaps it needs to have a compelling narrative. We’re just now in the past year or two starting to see the narrative develop with iPad Pro, Pencil, and iOS 11/12. A similar strong narrative probably needs to develop for the lower end iPads though I’m sure they’ll continue to sell simply because everyone else in the market is either asleep or incapable.

On the latter point, I agree with the spirit and I love how you phrased it. However, I’m not actually sure how much it matters in this case. I’m not completely convinced it matters to the extent you seem to think it does. I think the supply chain optimization is fine and the whole point is that it’s not crazy different from last-year’s iPad but it’s a lower price point and meaningfully more capable (think schools buying in bulk, etc). It would be nice if they FOCUSED on the lower end but that has never been Apple’s style and they are very very deliberate about what things they choose to focus on. It’s both the greatest strength of the company and one of the weaknesses - two sides of the same coin as things tend to be.

Wow, this really resonates with me. For a while now it has felt like Apple has based everything on price points instead of usability/purpose. And you're right, that's something that I expect "Dell" to do; "all of these things are exactly, slightly different in ways that you probably can't tell".

A ruggedized iPad mini is a great example of a differentiation that I can get behind and use. Right now, if I had to purchase a new iPad for my Mother I'm not sure which one I would get, and it almost wouldn't matter. Almost. But I'm not 100% positive which would be the best value+performance+portability+convenience combination. If there were "only" 3 the decision would be much easier. Heck, I could even tell her to "go to the Apple store at the mall and tell them you want the iPad Active (or whatever)". At this point I don't think I could guide her even if I was on the phone with her while she was standing in the Apple store surrounded by iPads. :(

> The pro should really feel like it’s for Pros.

I feel that the "MacBook Pro" name was a fundamental mistake, and the root cause of 15 years of "pro" naming issues.

Not only is it a bad name on its own [1], but "professional" is so broad that it can describe literally every working person on the planet, in some capacity. All that label is doing is causing everyone to say "This isn't a perfect machine for my professional use" and then try to shame Apple for it.

Half the professionals I know aren't even using "pro"-labeled machines -- it's neither necessary nor sufficient. It's just an awkward label that the internet is taking far too literally.

Of course, if they dropped it today, everyone would say "See? Apple admits they aren't making machines for professionals any more!" They can't win.

[1]: "Apple marked the transition to Intel by discontinuing the well-known, long-respected PowerBook name. The Intel-based pro laptop is known as the MacBook Pro, a name that met with a less-than-enthusiastic reception at the Expo keynote." --lowendmac.com, 2006

I'm not convinced 3 is the magic number, but I generally agree. I'd much prefer a bit more standardization across accessories and connectors.

In my mind, I'd build... Two sizes of iPad Pro (12" and 10" roughly) One iPad (10" and thin enough that an "Air" model is redundant) One iPad Mini

All would use the same connectors (or, at least adopt them over time, as I'd expect Pro models to see new tech a generation before the iPad & Mini) and accessories (pencil, etc).

How does reducing customer choice follow from working backwards from the customers’ needs? Doesn’t the variety in product imply a variety in customer needs? There is not one kind of pro, not one kind of consumer. Shouldn’t Apple be able to offer a wide choice of options and rely on marketing and the 100 blueshirts in every store to guide the customer?

It was confusing to have so many options when tablets and smartphones were new, or when a person could say “I don’t really do computers” and have a successful career. None of those are true now; babies can and do use tablets, middle schools have carts of iPads or Chromebooks. My grandma has an iPad. She calls it her “Facebook,” but she has one.

Simplicity has its appeal, but I trust the market analysts at Apple have a plan for market differentiation with a wide lineup.

Because customer needs rarely vary that greatly within one brand. The whole idea behind a general purpose computing device is that it is, well, general purpose, no? If you require minimum 4 "high level product concepts" (iPad,Mini,Air,Pro), then it doesn't seem so general purpose anymore. Especially when you realize that people are actually also often deciding between upgrading to iPhone Max (not that different in size or capability to an iPad Mini), or MacBook/Air/Pro (not that different in size or capability to iPad Pro). So, are you selling a great general purpose tool, or have you degraded back down to screwdrivers vs. hammers? I personally don't believe that the tasks these devices aim to serve merit having 7+ separate "high level product concepts", and that even if they do, these particular products don't clearly delineate those separations. That is to say, maybe there is room for this many different product choices -- but these products in particular actually offer a confusing array of choices due to their, often arbitrary, intersection of capabilities.

It's important to make a distinction here: I think there is certainly more room for configuration within a product line ($x upgrade for a faster version of product X), but this is very different than essential feature axises that define a product line itself. Some of them are unavoidable, sure, like a smaller form factor often needing to have less cpu/ram/whatever. However, that's certainly not the case here -- the iPhone Max is smaller than the iPad mini, yet much much faster. Per your own argument, why is Apple not serving the part of the market that needs the portability of the iPad mini but wants the best CPU? Well, because the real point of the iPad mini is to satisfy some budget window probably, not a deep empathy with the user.

Also -- I keep forgetting to bring this up in these situations, but I would not be surprised if the actual purpose of the iPad mini is point-of-sale terminals, conference room check-ins, and office visit terminals. That's the number one place I see these particular devices, and in fact the number one place I see iPads in general.

If they would apply this stategy also to their MacBook Pro line we wouldn't have this disccussions about keyboards etc. The old Macbook Pro Retina chassis with a new board would be a dream. (Or even better with a non glare FHD display)

Can they not support both, while shipping the old one to still do supply chain optimization?

Also, I imagine this will boost the secondary market for Gen 1 pencils dramatically.

Keeping the lightning port is what really jumped out at me. Now some iPads are going to have USB C and others are going to have lightning, all under the same umbrella product of the iPad.

What is even worse (!) is that the iPhones and iPads still ship with a USB A to lightning cable, meaning even users inside the Apple ecosystem need a USB C/thunderbolt dongle with usb A ports to connect their iPhones/iPads to their computers. I have no idea how this decision was approved without thinking about this.

1) USB-C doesn't fit on the old iPad mini case design. The mini is used in a lot of embedded applications where keeping the exact same form factor is important.

2) It's incorrect to say that "now" some iPads will have USB-C and others Lightning. That was already the case. This simply continues the status quo.

3) It's also incorrect to say that "users" in the Apple ecosystem will "need" a dongle. That's only the case for those with MacBook Pros. That's a minority of users.

4) You also got it wrong about the iPhone. You don't need any cable at all to connect an iPhone to a Mac; they connect wirelessly. For those who want to do this, the majority of users are still on Macs with USB-A.

All modern Mac laptops are USB-C only. The MacBook Airs were the last holdout and became USB-C only last year.

It basically means those schools who bought the 30 iPad case don't have to replace the cables and I would guess the chargers.

It's probably more like 300 iPads. However, I'm not sure this really matters as you get the cables and chargers with the new iPads and you would have to purchase new cases anyway, even it was the same form factor as the old machines.

I'm talking the classroom cart[1], so no, we don't have to buy new anything other than the iPads. If you are in a school setting and you are managing iPads lose, then you really need to get a cart. Just the theft deterrence is worth it.

1) here is one example https://ipadcarts.com/univault-charging-cart/ (although the one we bought had the power backplane installed already)

I'd love to see some data on how much of Apples profits come directly from selling dongles. Their hardware nowadays is probably designed to facilitate a certain amount of dongle sales. They will mark-up the sale price of an intel cpu by 3 or 4 100%, but the markup on the dongles is even greater, 800 or 1000% it seems to be comparing the prices to similar cables.

I keep seeing accusations that Apple has a nefarious plan to make money through dongles, but if that were the case, wouldn't they have more proprietary connectors rather than less? The only dongle I have for my iPad Pro is one that allows HDMI output, and it's from Anker. And while I do have a USB-C to USB-A dongle from Apple for my MacBook Pro, in practice I rarely used it; I just used cables with the right connectors on both ends (e.g., USB-C to Mini USB), and none of those cables were from Apple except the USB-C to USB-C cable that came with it.

> to connect their iPhones/iPads to their computers

Why do you need to connect your iPad to your computer? I have never connected mine - everything goes through the cloud or Bluetooth. Are you developing apps on it? That's a pretty niche use-case.

Because they want to do a manual backup instead of just iCloud?

Because it was initially designed and delivered that way?

Because they like manually managing music and videos? etc

I think these are pretty obtuse use-cases these days for the vast majority of people. I also manage videos and things but I do it via the cloud like most people. You may disagree with a that but it explains why they went that route - it wasn't a case of them not thinking.

Is wanting to connect to your Macbook to charge your phone an obtuse use case?

At the very least apple should have shipped with a USB-C to lightning cable, not USB-A.

Why? You keep repeating this without ever defending your argument. As of right now, and in the near future, more Mac users have USB-A. There is simply no compelling reason to make this change unless you absolutely need extra features provided uniquely by USB-C. And this device doesn't need anything like that.

The reverse problem (I have lots and lots of USB-A devices, while the only USB-C device in my house is my wife's Android phone, so like almost everyone else I had "no compelling reason" to want a device with any USB-C ports, let alone only USB-C ports) didn't convince Apple to leave one or two USB-A ports in their pro macbooks, unfortunately. That you can't go buy a current macbook and current iphone or ipad and connect the two when you get home unless you buy extra stuff, but you can if you have an older macbook, is silly. It is a point in favor of that "Apple's greatest MacBook Pro yet: the 2015" joke/actually-true-thing, I guess.

Are you trying to manage large videos via the cloud with only a crummy WiFi connection shared with an entire school?

The problem is your WiFi then, not the iPad's design. It's intended to be used with a reasonable network connection.

So I’m sure every school system will get right on that.

As well as every cable ISP that even with their gigabit home internet service caps upload bandwidth at 35Mbps.

I know it's a problem! But I don't think it's Apple's job to forever hold back their development for people's very particular personal problems. You bog a product down by making sure you can handle all these issues. Keep it simple and move on, I say.

You're right, Apple shouldn't produce products that are actually usable for the vast amount of customers in the world as it exists today.

They should also abandon LTE and only produce devices that work with 5G.....

If you can't get reliable WiFi maybe the iPad isn't the product for you? I don't think that's an issue - there's loads of other products on the market and people who do want the clean Apple experience can get that. Why do all products have to do everything and suit the entire world's crazy workflows? You end up with a Homer Car.

And I am sure it makes perfect sense for Apple to seed the entire market of people who have cable internet access and slow WiFi for what exactly?

> for what exactly

For a simpler product for the majority of people.

They can't suit everyone! Are you annoyed you can't connect your iPad to your Amiga as well? They have a draw a reasonable line at some point.

But the "majority" of people in the US in fact have slow internet -- especially upload bandwidth.

As someone that historically relied on an iPad Mini for media consumption on the many weekly flights I take, it is not realistic to download 10+ GB of content directly onto the device. Especially since I don't use Apple's ecosystem of media and generally rely on my own, I find myself using the VLC app to watch content that is loaded via iTunes and its ability to load files as you would any other document app.

The "use case" of connecting your devices to your computer is still alive and well, despite being in the era of cloud.

"alive and well" might be a stretch. I don't know a soul who plugs their devices into their computers. Using VLC to watch media is also a blast from the past. Grandpa, is that you?

I've found VLC to be the only app that can play H.264 .mkv files without stuttering on my poor first-gen iPad Mini :)

I connect my tablet because wifi is too slow when transferring large files.

> Are you developing apps on it? That's a pretty niche use-case.

A niche but extremely important use case, isn't it? Without app developers the platform is dead.

It's a small enough (and dependent-on-Apple) niche that "use an adapter" is something you can tell the developers to do.

App developers aren't likely to switch ecosystems over minor quality of life issues.

Charging, transferring photos and MP3s. Granted many people are using wireless (airdrop, iCloud etc) but not all.

Why ship any cable at all then?


I like lightning port, it's pretty natural compared to USB-C. Male port which could break on cable, female port which won't break on device. USB-C seems like very fragile decision, so it's only good that they don't abandon their better port. That said, they should definitely ship all necessary cables, it's really strange that they trying to save tiny money on premium product.

You have this backwards. Apple’s shoddy (but slim!) cable construction notwithstanding, the Lightning male metal bit is quite strong. The parts that wear out are the springy parts in the female connector. USB-C puts the springy parts in the male connector.

(Lightning also seems prone to arcing or overheating damage to the power pins. Source: visual inspection of my many failed Apple and third-party Lightning cables.)

Yes, I've had every lightning cable, apple or not, show darkened and eventually dying 4th pins. It's infuriating. You essentially have to unplug the USB-A side first to prevent it from happening.

Strange enough I've not seen this happen to a lot of other people.

Strange enough I've not seen this happen to a lot of other people.

Yeah, I've never had that happen, and I've been using Lightning cables since they were a thing. I've rarely had any problems with Lightning cables, though. (The same couldn't be said for their predecessor 30-pin cable.)

I'm trying to think if there could be anything weird about your environment doing that, but I'm drawing a blank. "You're holding it wrong" seems even less applicable here than it would to antennas. :)

Living closer to the coast (high humidity and salt content), living in the drier regions of the country (low humidity) could be part of the puzzle.

This happens to me constantly. I was going through 3-5 cables per year before I switched to inductive charging.

Apple users love dongles though.

Starting to feel like Ballmer era Microsoft.

Unforced errors like this seem to be occurring more and more often. Seemingly minor pragmatic issues that will prevent many users from upgrading or leaving the ecosystem altogether, that could easily be avoided.

The 1st generation iPad was woefully lacking RAM (256MB) even though the iPhone 4 that came out 3 months later with the same SOC had 512Mb. That led to the iPad being unusable with iOS 5 that came out 2 years later and unsupported after that. The iPhone of the same generation was supported through iOS 7.

The 3rd generation iPad was heavy, slow, and had horrible battery life and was discontinued six months later as they transistionef to a better processor and the lightning port.

So what are tablet users going to leave the iPad for? All of the great Android tablets available?

> So what are tablet users going to leave the iPad for? All of the great Android tablets available?

Yeah, this is the sad thing about the current situation. The Apple lineup is a mess, but everyone's "competitive" devices are even messier.

I have only Android phones, but my tablet is an ipad.

I couldn't give up Termux.

Blink (https://www.blink.sh) is pretty close.

It's not.

> The 3rd generation iPad was heavy, slow, and had horrible battery life and was discontinued six months later as they transistionef to a better processor and lightning.

The 3rd generation iPad was also the first iPad with a high res screen. I used it happily for many years, because I loved that screen.

And it was a “messy transition” device. That was my point. The 4th generation iPad was what the third gen should have been. It came out six months later.

Maybe, but it was also a great device on its own.

All of the great tablets available that run full Windows.

“Great tablets running Windows”. Those four words don’t belong in the same sentence. Windows is a horrible mess as a touch screen UI, the tablets are either large and heavy or slow and underpowered. Intel doesn’t exactly make a great low power/high performance processor.

We had a Surface tablet at work ~1.5yrs ago for testing. It did not live up to what I expected given the hype, especially judged as a tablet rather than a generic Windows portable. Slow & unresponsive, terrible touch UX otherwise, too. Did you mean something else?

Actually for old timers it feels like the old Apple, just before Jobs came back.

i.e. the unprofitable and future-less Apple

The big difference is that they are swimming in money, but even that doesn't last forever.

The new pencil uses inductive charging (and magnets). Adding that to the mini and the non-Pro iPads would drive their prices up (assuming Apple would insist on maintaining the existing margins) when these are supposed to be more budget oriented models.

They aren't "supposed to be more budget oriented models." There is nothing to suggest that, and it's frustrating that Apple is treating them as such - as are some commentators such as yourself.

Step back and think for a moment. How absurd is it that, suddenly, bigger = better? Not just for technical reasons but for marketing reasons? I think it demonstrates just how far gone Apple is.

There's a Steve Jobs quote in the Walter Isaacson biography to the effect of Tim Cook not being a product guy. Truest thing I've ever read.

Yep, and a redesign of the edge of the iPad, which would not be trivial. Of course, this would also make the iPads look much more like the Pro, which they try to position as the premium model.

I believe the new Pencil requires the hardware upgrade on the pad to make it work. It seems like with this refresh they were more concerned with keeping the cost in a range that makes sense for these models.

And reducing the price for the iPad Air may prove to be crucial to help boost sales which have been in a slight decline for the iPad line as a whole.

Not just in the screen, but it would need the inductive charging magnet system, which seems likely to be pretty expensive. The new iPads do work with the Logitech Crayon, however, which is good for education. The Apple Pencil is designed to be used one-per-device but the Crayon is more easily shared.

These products just feel like “component pipeline optimization” instead of working backwards from customer needs. There should be 3 iPads, all with the same form factor, same connectors (can’t believe I even have to specify this): small medium large, and they should be called iPad mini, iPad, and iPad Pro. The iPad should serve the vast majority of the market. The pro should really feel like it’s for Pros. The mini should feel like it cannot be beat on a hike taking nature photos. Stories based on use, not price. The way I imagine them talking about iPad uses cases instead is: “imagine you want to buy an iPad, but you only have $399. Boom: iPad mini, the perfect fit!”

they should use the same words for all their devices. they need to decide between Mini and Air or make one of those the "regular."

Macbook, iPad, and iPhone: Mini, Air, Plus? Air, nothing, Pro? Why is it a Macbook Pro and an iPhone Plus and then a Max? They need one word and one world only for big and powerful, not 3.

Same thing that happened the first time Steve Jobs left. Apple is moving towards being just another consumer electronics company. Unremarkable products and competitive pricing.

Having the cheaper iPads use lightning makes sense as long as the phones keep using it. I personally would love to see USB C across the board but I think normal people would scream bloody murder if Apple tried to phase out lightning.

This seems like a clear signal that the next iPhone will continue to have a lightning port. They were so fast to go all-in with USB-C on the macbook line because it meant they could make the computer thinner/lighter. But the lightning port already gives them that on the iOS line. It's now obvious that they don't care about standardizing as much as they claimed to back when they introduced the 2016 macbook pro.

It is so weird that the iPad Air and iPad mini only support the old Apple Pencil

Perhaps it's because the new Apple Pencil charges by docking with a host iPad, and there's no place on an iPad Air or iPad mini to put a dock.

The real issue is the Apple Pencil should have been what the "Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)" was from the start.

The Surface line made it obvious years ago that the magnetic docking was essential.

Would have made much more sense to wait than to have two different pencils not cross compatible at all, I mean even if you bought the first iPad Pro and the Pencil then decided to upgrade to the next iPad Pro you can't use the old pencil with the new iPad with the excuse of it needing a lightning port to pair when plenty of other pens exist using wireless technology that just have a button to kick them into pairing mode.

For a company that claims to care about e-waste I find all this ridiculous.

The 1st gen Pencil's charging/pairing plug is ridiculous. It's like someone at Apple made a joke charging interface and that was accidentally sent to production. Lose the dumb little magnetic cap, which you have to leave entirely off of it when it's charging, and it's just a matter of time until the plug gets broken. Lose the even smaller gender changer and you can't charge the damn thing without plugging it into your ipad, a configuration that looks made to cause problems (i.e. break something) and by the way makes your ipad unusable while it's happening. Swapping the gender on the Pencil's connector and making pairing the operation that requires an adapter would have been an instant, major improvement, but the whole thing needed a re-think from scratch.

Side note: can you seriously not use the original pencil with new ipads, even with a cable adapter of some sort to pair them? I was planning to pick up a used or refurb of the current gen when the next one comes out, but that might throw a wrench in those plans, unless I luck out and find one used including the new pencil, like I did with my Gen 1 ipad pro.

totally agree, the main gripes are the first generation pencil and the screen bezel, only the cpu and screen were upgraded, such a small incremental change.

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