How to pick the model that’s right for you

earlier this week, Apple introduced a redesigned iPad and updates for the iPad Pros. They’ll likely help the company boost sales during the increasingly important holiday shopping season. But that also means the company now sells six different iPads, and you might find it a bit difficult to choose the one that’s best for you or a loved one.

If you are considering buying a new iPad, it means you have to choose between:

  • The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • The new 11 inch iPad Pro 11 inch
  • The iPad Air
  • The redesigned regular iPad
  • The iPad mini
  • Or last year’s regular iPad

This might seem like a daunting list, so here’s a guide to help you figure out which iPad best suits your needs, listed in order from cheapest iPad to most expensive model.

iPad: You only need a tablet

apple iphone

Source: Apple Inc.

The ninth generation iPad was launched in September 2021. It starts at $329 and is the most affordable option in Apple’s current lineup. It has great all-day battery life and is perfect for basic tablet needs like streaming movies, reading, checking email, browsing the web, scrolling social media, and FaceTiming.

It’s the cheapest, but it doesn’t feel like it. This is the iPad I am currently using. It’s the right choice for you if you want to save a little money and don’t want to do complex tasks like video editing. However, there are some disadvantages.

The screen and cameras are not as good as all other iPads. It has an outdated A13 processor, first introduced in 2019, and only works with the older Apple Pencil. Apple doesn’t sell a model with 5G cellular network support, so you’ll be stuck on slower networks if you go with this model. This is the “I only need a tablet” tablet.

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2022 iPad: You only need a tablet but want some newer features

Choose this iPad if you need a great tablet and can spend a little more for the latest entry-level version available. It is currently available to order online and will be available in stores on October 26th.

The new entry-level iPad (10th generation) has had a major makeover and starts at $449, a bit more than the $329 iPad.

It has a larger 10.9-inch display and no longer has a home button. Now the power button on top of the iPad has a Touch ID feature. So all you have to do is tap and hold this button to unlock it.

Another big change is the location of the front camera. It’s now on the long side of the tablet instead of the short side, which should help you look more centered at the camera during video chats. It also comes in new colors including white, yellow, red and blue.

The new iPad is powered by the slightly older A14 Bionic chip, but offers faster performance and longer battery life compared to the cheaper iPad. It has a sharper front camera and rear cameras. And if you need it, you can also buy a 5G cellular version.

But here’s a downside you should know: the new iPad only works with the older Apple Pencil. And that only charges and pairs through the old Lightning connector. So you have to buy a $9 dongle if you want to charge this pen with the new iPad. It’s silly that Apple hasn’t added support for the newer second-generation Apple Pencil, which charges and pairs through magnets on the side of other iPads.

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It doesn’t hurt, it comes in some fun colors too. Yellow iPad, anyone?

iPad Mini: You need a super portable tablet

Apple iPad Mini 2021

Todd Haselton | CNBC

The sixth generation iPad mini, which starts at $499, was released in September 2021. If you value portability, this is the right choice for you.

This is a great iPad for kids that has a smaller 8.3-inch screen and weighs just over half a pound. I’ve even seen doctors use it as it fits perfectly in a white coat pocket.

Like the new iPad, the Mini has a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide front camera that work with Center Stage to keep you in focus during video calls. Apple also sells a 5G mobile version of the iPad mini, meaning you can download apps, music and movies when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi. And it has a faster chip than the new entry-level iPad above.

The iPad mini works with the second-generation Apple Pencil for $129, which is more comfortable to use than the outdated first-generation. And it is convenient to charge. You just stick it to the magnet on the side of the iPad.

iPad Air: The middle of the pack

iPad Air

Source: Apple Inc.

The latest iPad Air, which starts at $599, debuted in March 2022 with Apple’s M1 chip, which is a big upgrade over the other iPads’ A14 or A15 chips. It’s a great mid-range iPad for people who might do some video editing and gaming but don’t need the better screens, cameras, and extra processing speed of the M2 chip in the Pro models.

iPad Air has a center stage to help you stay in the picture during video calls, which means you can move around the room while chatting on FaceTime and the camera will follow you.

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You can buy a 5G mobile version of the iPad mini, which means you can download apps, music, and movies faster when you’re not on a Wi-Fi network.

Like the iPad Pro and iPad mini, the iPad Air works with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, which is more convenient to use and charges when attached to magnets on the side of the tablet.

iPad Pro: You need as much performance as you can get in a tablet.

Apple’s new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros.


The new 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros are the highest-end iPads available, with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro offering a brighter and more colorful screen than the 11-inch version. The new models, updated with Apple’s M2 processor and more, are currently available to order online and will go on sale on October 26th.

This is the iPad for serious gamers, video editors, photographers, designers (creatives in general) and anyone who just wants the best iPad money can buy. The 12.9-inch iPad’s larger screen might make it appealing to people who prefer using a tablet to a laptop.

The M2 chip is the biggest update for the new iPad Pros. It’s the same processor that debuted in the MacBook Air earlier this year. According to Apple, the M2 offers a speed increase of about 15% over the M1 processor used in last year’s iPad Pro. This can be beneficial for people trying to get as much speed as possible when rendering videos. There are also some other upgrades.

Both new iPad Pro models support Apple’s new hover function. With hover, the screen can now detect the tip of the Apple Pencil up to 12mm above the screen surface. According to Apple, this allows artists to sketch more accurately and speed up handwriting-to-text conversion. The iPad Pro works with the second-generation Apple Pencil for $129.

The 11-inch version starts at $799 with Wi-Fi, while the 5G cellular model starts at $999. The 12.9-inch model starts at $1,099 with Wi-Fi and the 5G cellular version starts at $1,299. If you opt for a maximum of 2TB of storage, the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro will cost $2,399.

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