If you thought Apple couldn’t possibly make its iPad range any more confusing than it did by releasing a USB-C Pencil, well, guess again.
According to industry sources speaking to DigiTimes, Apple is about to introduce a 12.9in model of its iPad Air. That’s presumably alongside the 10.9in version already available and the 12.9in iPad Pro.
But that’s likely all it has in common with the Pro, as the report states that it’ll be sticking with the tried, tested and slightly dated LCD screen tech found in the current Air models. No upgrade to mini-LED like the current iPad Pros, let alone the OLED panels rumoured to be coming to next year’s version.
In short, it seems like Apple is doing what it did with the iPhone — giving people a big-screen option without stumping up for the Pro-branded money pit. But it sure makes the range of iPads confusing.
If this report is confirmed to be correct when the next batch of iPads arrives, you’ll be able to buy six sizes of iPad spread over four different brand names: basic iPad, iPad mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro. Each one has different capacity options and may or may not have access to 5G with a SIM card.
Whisper it, but outside of tech websites like this one, there’s really not that much difference between them. They all run the same software, have access to the same apps and work with Apple Pencils — if you can figure out which one you need. Why is Apple making it so difficult for the average consumer to buy one?
It’s a far cry from 13 years ago, when Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPad. One 9.7in model with three storage options (tiny, very small and small — or 16GB, 32GB or 64GB to give them their actual capacities) and optional 3G.
With tablet sales in decline, it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple decided it needed to make its range smaller. But it seems that its first instinct is to do precisely the opposite. We’ll have to see how that plays out.