Quick thoughts on the new iPads

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read

Check out the event if you missed it, but let’s go from least updated to most updated, shall we?

iPad mini

Tim Cook might as well have said, “the iPad mini remains a product in our lineup,” as the mini got a single, minor shout out at the end, and that’s it. $499 for a paltry 64GB model, and $649 for the 256GB model that will make more people happy is a tough pill to swallow for a product last updated in 2021.


Yay that the price dropped and yay that this means the 9th generation model could be discontinued, but no update at all is a (very) mild letdown.

iPad Air

Maybe not quite as much of an upgrade as some would have hoped for after 2 years away, but it’s a fine spec bump. The M2 brings a bit more power, the new front-facing camera placement is welcome, and the base 128GB storage is a good move and is something I complained about just a few weeks ago, so good to see the base storage up to a decent number for most people.

But most things did stay the same here. It’s the same form factor, the same speakers, the same display, and the same cameras. So yeah, a spec bump, which is fine if not thrilling.

Keeping this at $599 starting is decent. I still wish this was $499 starting, especially with the larger gap from the baseline iPad, but the iPad Air remains what I think is the best iPad for most people.

iPad Pro

I was an iPad Pro user from 2017 through 2024, and I just recently dropped down to the iPad Air because the Pro features simply weren’t valuable to me personally (not to discount their use to others). I was curious if today’s updates would make me jealous and have me hovering over the buy button on Apple’s website or not.

I’d say 4 things resonated with me about this new Pro model, but none of them are enough for me to plunk down $1,000+ on a new one right now.

First, the OLED display is the star of the show. OLED is very welcome, and it’s doubly welcome to those who prefer the 11” model, as they’ve been stuck on the same old LCD displays Pro iPads have had since 2017 brought ProMotion to the party. I’m sure they look fantastic, and the “Tandem OLED” solution they’ve implemented to get the brightness they want seems cool.

Second is the M4 processor, which I was genuinely surprised to see debut in the iPad line (and just 6 months after the M3’s release). The added power is of course welcomed, and as Apple is getting more AAA games released on their hardware, the addition of mesh shaders is a low key win as well, as it will make modern games more easy to port to the platform as game developers move away from vertex shaders and the like.

Third, the new Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro (full name) looks like it resolves some of the issues I have with the current model. It’s lighter and has aluminum on some of the body. It also adds a function row that I use constantly, and I’m super pumped about the new trackpad which is bigger and uses haptics to simulate clicks just like MacBooks had done forever. The physical click on the older model was okay, but always felt less nice than using a Mac’s trackpad.

And fourth was the new Apple Pencil Pro, which excites me by adding haptic feedback, a pinch gesture, Find My support, and a gyroscope to detect changing angles as you work.

This surely won’t happen, but I’d love it if the gyroscope and pinch gesture in this Pencil would make it so the Vision Pro could track it in space and I could use this as a pointing device in visionOS. It’s a dream, but putting it out there just in case it happens.

Oh, and of course I appreciate the camera move to the long side of the iPad, making it correctly positioned for those using the iPad Pro as a laptop, which seems to be the canonical way Apple sees it being used.

Buying plans

Thankfully for me, nothing shown today temps me personally. My M1 iPad Air is more than enough for me, and my three real issues with it are that it lacks Face ID, the screen is only 60Hz, and the storage is too low. The updated Air can help with that last one, but the other issues remain.

As for the iPad Pros, I’m glad they exist for people who need the most power possible from an iPad, and I’m glad the accessories got nicer, but it all comes down to cost for me: I just can’t justify spending well north of $1,000 on an iPad in the same year I got a Vision Pro. If you are in the market for a new high end iPad, then I think these are going to feel like quite the upgrade and I hope you enjoy them.