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Apple announces new iPad Air that looks more like an iPad Pro (theverge.com)
22 points by CharlesW 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 29 comments





I still don't understand why there are _4_ lines • air • pro • mini • and "regular"

As a potential buyer this has gotten far too complicated for a product and company that is about simplicity and making decisions simple for their customers.

And isn't super confusing that the Air is probably now faster than the Pro (with the A14 vs. A12)?


When Jobs returned to Apple, he mocked the insane number of Mac models that the company had at the time and showed a grid of 4 products with two axes: consumer vs professional, and portable vs desktop.

https://images.macrumors.com/t/RMh3opIDBtVaaNXx0L_ntSxfO34=/...

The current product catalog is a far cry from that simplicity. For instance, the iPad Pro comes in two sizes. Inexplicably, customers need to choose between a 32 GB and 64 GB model of Apple TV 4K. There are 5 models of iPhone currently offered.


This gets dragged out every time someone comments on Apple's product strategy today, and it's just not relevant. Apple 20 years ago was a company in crisis and Jobs helped impose much-needed focus.

As they climbed out of crisis, they expanded their product portfolio. The iPod alone violated this famous grid, and if you look back, over time there were a ton of overlapping products, versions, options, and accessories in the iPod category.

Why? To fill out all the price point tiers and deny competitors ground from which they could establish differentiated products and grow from there. Jobs himself installed this strategy, and Apple continues to execute it to great success across all their product lines.


I think the only reason it's confusing now is that the new iPad Pro looks virtually identical to the smaller iPad Pro. The form factor, display size and resolution, and weight are essentially identical. The key differences are that the Pro has LiDAR, an additional ultrawide camera, a 120 Hz display, FaceID, and larger storage options, while the new Air has a new (and potentially faster) chip and TouchID built into the power button.

The chip generation offset isn't all that uncommon for similar Apple product lines with staggered releases, and in this case both chips are staggeringly fast and are very unlikely to be a bottleneck for iPad workloads!


the naming may a bit confusing across products (xl vs pro vs +), but I think 4 is probably the sweet spot. The first three being cheap, light, fast. And the fourth being more of a sister miniature product. the "regular" needs a consistent name across products, and it should probably become the cheap line with previous gen parts. the ipad and the iphone s could become the iPad Core and the iPhone Core, that give you the Core experience of an Apple product without the frills of a Pro line, or the weight shaving and high end chipset of an Air.

Definitely a bit confusing, but I imagine consumers like having options at almost every price point.

I wonder if they will put this Touch ID side button into the iPhone 12. That would be an impressive covid-era feature.

I was very surprised when Apple just removed Touch ID in iPhone X: technology for putting fingerprint scanners under the screen already existed then (and now works great on my trusty Moto Z4), and touch unlock is way more convenient and reliable than Face ID, even before covid era.

Also: Moto Z3 had a fingerprint sensor on power button and it was by no means great. For me, fingerprint sensor works well only on front side, so I can unlock a device that lays on a table, without picking it up.


The problem with underscreen FP technology is it isn't polished enough for Apple quality.

Optical sensors require you to light up (with a green/neon light) the portion over the sensor on every use, which just looks unpolished.

Ultrasonic sensors are not very accurate and are slow (at least on current-gen devices).


I used both, and in my experience, it looks an order of magnitude more polished than Face ID.

Honestly, how? Face ID is simple: you show up. That's all.

My ultrasonic sensor on my Galaxy S10 is absolute garbage compared to Face ID on iPhones. It works 1/3 of the time and it's slow.

Realistically ultrasonic is the technology Apple would go with, considering how lighting up a patch of screen is just... Ugly.

There's another problem: FP sensors don't cover the entire display. There's a huge learning curve -- getting used to where that small patch of screen is -- and even today, months after getting my new device, I miss often.

We're only now having issues with FaceID because we're wearing masks all the time. It's intuitive and it "just works".


"just works" – unless your iPhone is sideways. Or you're wearing polarized sunglasses. Or you're lying on your side in bed. Or your iPhone is flat on the table. Or...

For the sideways/upsidedown: The iPad Pro can be unlocked from any orientation with FaceId. It seems they intentionally don't want you to do that on the phone

Galaxy S10 is first gen ultrasonic though. I have one while my sister has a S20, and it's significantly better on the newer model.

There are also many new phones with very large sensors that basically cover most of the bottom half of the screen.

Personally I still think a rear or power button based sensor is superior to under the screen, but hey progress is progress.


> Face ID is simple: you show up. That's all.

I'm drinking my coffee skimming through morning news. I get distracted, phone locks up. Now, on Moto Z I need to just touch it and it works again. On iPhone, no, it won't unlock at all while it is lying on the table.

On learning curve: you exaggerate the hugeness of the learning curve. When I upgraded my Moto Z play for Moto Z4, I learned... Well, maybe in 30 seconds during device calibration. Now, I've had some experience with side button fingerprint sensor on Moto Z3, and it was the reason I decided to skip upgrade that year. You see, the phone always moves when you try to unlock it, unless it is secured somehow to stay in place (by your other hand or by assuming some pose where it doesn't move)

(Can't say anything about Samsung, I'm boycotting this manufacturer since 2010)


I'd love to see an approach that uses both FaceID and TouchID. I wouldn't be surprised if that's a future feature Apple will tout.

> touch unlock is way more convenient and reliable than Face ID, even before covid era.

I personally preferred Face ID over Touch ID pre-COVID, since I would be able to unlock my phone even if I had wet fingers.


Touch ID would get me to look at buying a new phone. I'd much prefer Touch ID over Face ID, personally.

And pair it with Face ID to unlock a phone

The point of Touch ID is not having to use Face ID, which is a huge inconvenience in a time of world-wide mask wearing.

Now that all of the iPads are USB-C, will be interesting to see if they stick with Lightning for the next iPhone

The brand new base model iPad still uses a Lightning connector.

Noted - I saw the graphic for USB-C Power Adapter. Looks like it's just the plug side. Maybe we'll keep dragging out lightning forever

Is it true that this thing doesn't have a headphone jack? Really disappointed if so. I hate having more and more devices to remember to charge.

I gave up on this battle. I solved the problem by: 1) getting a good bluetooth DAC so I can use my high quality cans or IEMS and 2) keep a USB-C audio dongle around in case you forget to charge the DAC.

In the end I've come around to preferring this setup. Not being tethered to my device is, in the end, really pretty nice.


Would you be kind and share what equipment have you ended up using - "cans" and BT DAC in particular?

The current generation of iPad Pro doesn't have a headphone jack, and this iPad Air form factor looks nearly identical to the small iPad Pro. The writing has been on the wall for a long time. Headphone jacks are out!

I don't plan on moving to wireless headphonens for my iPad workflows, so it effectively just means an extra adapter I have to carry with my headphones.

Reason: supply chain supply chain supply chain



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