Yesterday, I picked up the new 6th Generation iPad from my local Apple Store. The base 32GB model is an appealing $329 for everyone, $309 for students, and $299 for schools and teachers. While I was in there, however, I decided that while the $300 price is nice, I would benefit most with the 128GB model as I plan on loading a bunch of media onto this device because honestly, I don’t know what else I plan to use this device for aside from consuming a ton of media. For $100 more, I found the 128GB version worth it.
Now Apple has really pushed this device to students with its special student and teacher pricings but after using it for 24 hours, it’s hard for me to say it helps me be more productive as a student. The new iPad doesn’t have a smart connector on the bottom, which is used to quickly connect and power various third party accessories like keyboards and smart covers. You can still connect wireless bluetooth accessories to the iPad but there will be no hard connection and your accessory won’t be able to draw power from the iPad itself, requiring you to charge both devices separately.
The 9.7-inch display is also a tad bit too small if you plan on using this instead of a laptop, at least in my opinion. Also after talking to some graphic designers, they seem to unanimously prefer the larger iPad Pro’s displays for graphic design work. This display and this iPad as a whole does support the Apple Pencil but you do want to factor in the screen size, especially if you plan on doing any graphic design work.
The display itself is beautiful. It has a sharp but not quite retina-pleasing 2048x1536 resolution. The biggest difference between this display and the display found in the iPad Pro is its slightly smaller size and lack of lamination. So there’s a noticeable air gap between the front glass panel and the display. Basically, this means that the 2018 iPad will be slightly more reflective and have slightly worse viewing angles. But Apple did say that they have increased the brightness of this panel compared to the iPad Air 2’s display.
Aside from the new gold color that is sort of a cross between Rose Gold and the Copper Gold found in older Apple products, the biggest improvements can be found on the inside. Apple has equipped this new iPad with an A10 Fusion chip. For comparison, the premium iPad Pro models have the A10X fusion chip so performance is going to be slightly weaker but still very capable and very similar. I put this iPad to the test right when I first set it up as I removed a lot of the Apple bloatware and started installing a bunch of apps, all while browsing my social media networks and reading the news. I even dabbled with multi-tasking, whether it be via a pop-up app or via the split screen browser tabs in Safari.
Where I see this device having trouble is running multiple apps at once; not necessarily two but two or more. It only has 2GB of RAM, whereas the iPad Pro has 4GB of RAM, which can help it run more background applications.
It is running iOS 11 and there is a relatively new dock that can house some of your recent and favorite applications, allowing you to drag and drop them on the screen to bring up a floating window. Some of the actions aren’t very intuitive at all, especially the split screen Safari tabs, which are only available in landscape mode and kind of hidden in the menus. What is neat to see is that the iPad does support the Apple Pencil and Apple is selling it for $89 for students, down from the $99 price. And Logitech is releasing a digital crayon that is coming pretty soon. It’ll offer similar functionality with a much cheaper price. So if you’re looking for a stylus, I might recommend that, unless you need the pressure sensitivity that the Apple Pencil offers.
There is an 8-megapixel iSight camera and 1.2-megapixel FaceTime camera. I appreciate they are here but I haven’t used them nor do I have any plans to use them. I have a phone in my pocket at all times. I will say battery life has been fantastic thus far. Out of the box, it had around 80% and it has dropped around 30-50% points in the time I’ve used it. It might be in the roll you see here but I’m impressed with it so far.
The new iPad starts at around $300. For that price, it’s a bargain for those interested in a tablet computer. Let’s be honest, there are very few competitors to the iPad and the ones out there have nowhere near as many apps as the iPad.
The conundrum, for me, is whether or not it’s necessary. I have a large screen smartphone in my pocket at all times and a laptop usually in my bag with me at all times. The only use case for me would be to use it as a media consumption device as it has a much bigger display than my phone and a thinner, more comfortable build than my laptop. The most that I would use this tablet for school would be to view a PDF or e-textbook; and maybe for taking some notes but I wouldn’t write a document on this thing unless I absolutely had to.