iPad buying guide: How to choose the iPad that’s right for you

Apple makes four different models of iPad these days, and there’s no longer much of a difference between them in terms of software or basic functionality. All of the current models support the Apple Pencil, for instance (although not every Pencil works with every iPad), and they all feature the improved multitasking capabilities introduced in iPadOS.

Yet several significant differences remain, chiefly in terms of power, size, storage, and, of course, price. With such variety, there’s an iPad for every need, whether you just want a device for reading books in bed or if you plan on creating masterworks of graphic design. Below, we’ve made it easier to find that perfect tablet.

iPad Pro: For those who want all the power

If you’re serious about using an iPad in place of a laptop, you need an iPad Pro. Apple itself drove home this point recently when it released the 2020 models’ Magic Keyboard case, which comes with backlit keys and a trackpad that help this tablet pull off a reasonable approximation of a MacBook.

And if you are a true “pro” in fields like video editing or illustration, you’ll love its bright, roomy 12.9-inch or 11-inch displays—to say nothing of its 120Hz “ProMotion” variable refresh rate that greatly smoothens scrolling and similar actions. It’s also the only device that supports the second-generation Apple Pencil, which charges through a magnetic strip on the iPad’s side and lacks the first-generation model’s easily losable cap.

ipad pro 2018 Leif Johnson/IDG

Apple makes two different keyboard cases for the iPad Pro. This is the Smart Keyboard Folio, which lacks the trackpad and backlit keys found in the newer Magic Keyboard case.

The iPad itself charges with through a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port, which doubles as a handy slot for hooking up external hard drives, secondary displays, or other peripherals. Like the iPhone 11 Pro, it’s also got an awesome 12MP camera that also takes 10MP ultra-wide photos.

On a related note, this is also the only iPad with Face ID, which is particularly well-suited to the iPad since you’re almost always looking directly at it. And if you’re interested in sampling Apple’s latest technology, the 2020 models is the only device with Apple’s new time-of-flight sensor that’s aimed at improving the accuracy and speed of augmented reality apps. We still find it awkward to use a giant, pricey tablet for AR, but it’s there if you want it.

But what isn’t there? For one—sorry, music professionals, there’s no headphone jack. You’ll have to get a pair of wireless headphones. Its Face ID design means there’s also no home button, and you won’t be able to hook up any Lightning-compatible accessories without a dongle. These are generally small sacrifices, though, and they shouldn’t detract you if you think this beast of a tablet suits your needs.

Apple is fond of saying the iPad Pro is more powerful than most laptops on the market, and there’s some truth to that. Just keep in mind that file management on an iPad still isn’t as simple as it is on a Mac.

This model only works with all the other models besides the iPad Pro: the iPad Air, the iPad mini, and the basic iPad. It also works with many earlier generations of iPad as well. It’s still a fine stylus, and some artists prefer its slightly heavier weight and fully cylindrical body.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a hassle compared to the newer model. For one, the magnetic cap covering the Lightning plug used for charging stays in place well enough when it’s attached, but there’s a good chance you’ll misplace it when you take it off to charge the Pencil. As for actually charging it? The easiest way is to plug the Apple Pencil into the iPad’s Lightning port, but then you have to deal with the Pencil sticking out at a perpendicular angle. If someone bumps into it, both the port and the Pencil could suffer damage.

Source : Macworld